The novel, Novel Without A Name, opens with an eerie description of the Gorge of the Lost Souls in which nature is perceived as being full of supernatural elements. The novel consistently includes references to the supernatural and to the natural world. Why? What are these descriptions intended to do?
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The title "Novel Without A Name" was not used because the author could not think of anything better but because she recognized the constant fight for identity. In this novel, the realization of Quan, the narrator, that he is more similar to his enemy than he ever realized and that he is a puppet as "billions of lives wait for the signal to jump into the fire, into hell" and who operates at the command of the government with whom he is disillusioned is a shocking discovery as " … I am one of them."
The references to the natural "world are Quan's way of showing how everything is so different in war. The reality of war changes people. He begins this journey as a soldier at a young age, full of hope and proud to serve his country "intoxicated by hatred" but now, the ravages of war make him question his circumstances and those of his best friends with whom he embarked on this self-discovery. The fallacy that the soldiers must do what it takes "as long as it brought us glory" contradicts everything.
Quan uses his real life experiences to make comparisons to things he can only imagine as "a symphony of innocent blood raining down, drenching the earth" fills his thoughts. War solves nothing and is a perpertual nightmare, "A curse that time has carried from century to century."
The war and its brutality has become the norm for these soldiers. Anger, hatred, the war itself with "the beauty of all its moments of fire and blood" threatens to overtake Quan; his personality changed forever as he experiences "the fever of combat, the hatred, the irrepressible desire to kill, to annihilate, like a fire sweeping through my body. He longs "to rediscover our roots, the beauty of creation.."
The men's only reward is death - not satisfaction, not glory. In one of Quan's episodes he is fixated on a swarm of bees but instead of the sweetness of honey such as the analogy should explore, he feels the sting of bees as "the enormous bee’s nest melts. From each comb falls a coffin. Millions and millions of coffins pile up on the ground." There is no conclusion to war. Men and women strive but receive no release, their hard work fruitless and they themselves become part of the problem, extending the brutality making it almost impossible to return to a peaceful state.
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