One statement O'Cpnnor is making about the connections that human beings have towards one another is that external conditions can quickly supplant these connections. Human beings are shown to be able to develop meaningful connections with one another. However, as meaningful as these are, external reality is shown to be strong enough to sever these connections with stark and brutal force. The result is a rendering in which ‘‘in war, hatred and revenge drive out ethical and moral intelligence.’’
O'Connor shows war as a state of being where human connections are severed with frightening efficiency. While Donovan speaks of the difficulty with execution of one's duty, he shows no inclination to actually speak out against it and let the British soldiers live, even when it is evident that they are no longer partisan to their country. At the same time, Bonaparte and Noble do not want to carry out their duties. Yet, they do not take any action to stop what it is they have to do. They allow external duty to overcome the human connections they themselves have formed with the British soldiers. In this condition, O'Connor shows how duty and external conditions such as war can supplant human connections. Regardless of their depth, O'Connor's rendering makes one recognize how human connections can be secondary to external reality.