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I think that a significant theme that comes out of Pirandello's short story is that there is a pain intrinsic to war that cannot be placated. Pirandello's story is so powerful because it thematically breaks through many of the common associations with war. It strips away nationalism or love of country as a part of the justification of war. It takes away the notion of war being a part of a youthful adventure that young people must endure. It strikes at the heart that lies at all war. There is only death. The fact that the bundled up woman weeps for what she knows is going to be inevitable and that the fat man cannot escape the true horror of the war in that his son is "really dead" both help to emphasize the theme of the story. The end result of war is death and pain for those left behind. War becomes an experience where old people are left talking while young people are dying. The experience of war as a painful endeavor and one in which hurt is intrinsic to its being becomes one of the fundamental themes of the short story. I think that this is a theme that becomes revealed over the course of the story and makes Pirandello's work so powerful.
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