What is the summary of the story of "War" by Luigi Pirandello?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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This short story by Luigi Pirandello is about a group of people traveling from Rome to Sulmona, Italy.  They have had to stop for the night to await a connecting passage to the main line.  While they are waiting a man boards the carriage with his wife.  She is described as a very large woman and he is very small.  The husband tells the people that his wife is upset because their only son has been called to the front to fight in the war.

The rest of the story is a discourse on the importance or lack of importance of the war and who has the greater suffering, a man with one son or a man with two sons.  One man said that the parents had no right to cry or complain about their sons being sent to fight for their country.

"Now, if one dies young and happy, without having the ugly sides of life, the boredom of it, the pettiness, the bitterness of disillusion...what more can we ask for him?  Everyone should stop crying; everyone should laugh, as I do...or at least thank God—as I do—because my son, before dying, sent me a message saying that he was dying satisfied at having ended his life in the best way he could have wished.  That is why, as you see, I do not even wear mourning..."

The woman asks the man if his son is not really dead.  He contemplates her question, realizes his son is truly dead and that he will never see him again. He then breaks down and cries.

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