(Short Stories for Students)

Facing Reality In ‘‘Resurrection of a Life,’’ Saroyan explores the experiences of a ten-year-old boy facing the realities of life in a big city during World War I. Some of these experiences were quite harsh, while others were not as bad as they seemed to the boy at the time. In any case, this boy faced reality head-on, seeking to understand the world as it was rather than wishing it were different. It is likely that, as a boy, the narrator did not possess the insights described in the story but that, as an adult, the narrator infuses his memories with the wisdom that has come with age.

In some cases, reality is described as harsh and difficult to accept. When the boy shouted the news about the deaths of ten thousand German soldiers, he had mixed feelings. The narrator explains:

He himself appreciated the goodness of the news because it helped him sell his papers, but after the shouting was over and he was himself again, he used to think of ten thousand men smashed from life to violent death, one man at a time, each man himself as he, the boy, was himself, bleeding, screaming, weeping, remembering life as dying men remember it, wanting it, gasping for breath, to go on inhaling and exhaling, living and dying, but always living somehow, stunned, horrified, ten thousand faces suddenly amazed at the monstrousness of the war, the beastliness of man, who could be so godly.

In other cases,...

(The entire section is 557 words.)