What are Skip's motivations in Tree of Smoke?
Skip Sands is the character who is related to the Colonel. Just as this work focuses on the relationship between two other characters who face the day to day realities of war on the front lines, it also focuses on the relationship between two characters who are on the other end of the war. Skip and his uncle both work high up in Intelligence and make the kind of decisions that men such as William and James Houston have to enact and live--or die--by.
What is interesting about Skip is that he is a bit of a maverick character, like his uncle. He comes up with surprising decisions and will not be told what to do. Perhaps his motivations can be explained through his own trauma that he suffered in the past. Skip's father died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour when he was an impressionable youth, and as a result, this would have been a massively defining event in his life. Skip seems to work in a very similar way to his uncle, operating mainly solo, and perhaps we can see his motivation of winning this impossible war that cannot be one as stemming from his desire to psychologically reverse the events that led to his father's death.