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What is the effect of not giving any names to the characters in the short story "War" by the author Luigi Pirandello?

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One of the effects of not naming any of the characters in the short story "War" is to collectivize the themes of loss, grief, and worry that are felt by all the characters in the carriage. While the parents present their own unique experiences of losing their sons to the war or of facing the chance that they may lose their sons, the commonality of their experiences is still greater than the singular experience of each parent. The war de-individualizes the soldiers who are killed, as their names and unique lives are second to their identities as soldiers.

In a similar vein, the parents speak of their sons in more conceptual forms. They are unnamed soldiers in the massive war machine. The father who declares that is it honorable and good to lose a son in the war is only faced with his own tremendous grief when another carriage rider asks if his son is truly dead. This question reframes the conversation from one of collective themes, of their sons identities as soldiers first and foremost, to one in which the father must face the reality that his son, his unique and individual son, is dead and gone forever. No amount of patriotic zeal or depersonalization can remove this reality.

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Luigi Pirandello does not use names in the short story "War" so that the ideas and dialogue of the characters are at the forefront instead of the setting. In addition to leaving the characters unnamed, the author also keeps the setting limited to one place and makes that setting, a railway carriage, as bare as possible. The descriptions of the characters are equally sparse and drab and used mostly to differentiate between characters instead of to develop them.

The lack of color and detail given to the setting and the characters serves as a muted background to allow the ideas and philosophies presented in the dialogue to become the focal point of the short story instead of the individual characters. The themes in this story, including loss, potential loss and living with them, are made relevant to all and not limited to the sympathy one can feel towards a certain character.

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