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    Sorrow of War and Broken April Essay

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    Bao Ninh and Ismail Kadare use the characters and the events that occur within a particular setting to emphasize the characters personality and the relationships to one another. Bao Ninh and Ismail Kadare uses the relationship of Kien to Phuong during a time of war, Bessian to Diane, and Gjorg to Diane with a setting of blood feuds up in the mountains to express the lack of communication that the characters have which brought them to have a broken relationship at the end.

    In Sorrow of War Kien and Phuong are portrayed as childhood lovers. The setting of Sorrow of War is during the war time which creates this atmosphere for Kien, making him make himself private. But Phuong loves Kien a lot. Kien also loves Phuong, too, because to him she symbolizes physical warmth. A physical warmth that a man needs in war. If you look at it, Kien and Phuong does have a lot of physical “human” touch because “during the night at the lake, Kien dared not sleep with Phuong, yet there was still a sense of completion and fulfillment of just lying there with her” (Ninh 142). But as the story goes on Kien pushes Phuong away because he feels deserted and feels like he can’t be in a relationship at all he had the guilt that he should of died during the war instead of living and feeling all the guilt and he did not want to hurt Phuong by making her feel that she may have a chance in a relationship with him. Kien is portrayed as a private guy; he is not very open so therefore he expresses his thoughts, angers, and feelings onto war by writing it into his journals.

    The atmosphere towards the end on their relationship is cold and silent because in the story Phuong is described as a traditional upholding Vietnamese woman. She do have a beautiful face, hair waving, and lovely long leg all description of her being beautiful and fragile. Phuong’s innocence and youth is also symbolized by the lake, which suggest about her immense purity before the war. But because of the war and the events that occurred for Phuong, such as when she was a victim of a gang rape, and Kien being a murderer right then.

    Phuong seeing that her character and views of Kien changes which turn to where she stops resuming her relationship with Kien. As for Kien he see Phuong more like-of a whore which made her lose the innocence within her, and it’s hard for her and Kien to mend their relationship. The relationship of Phuong and Kien was destroyed by the war because of the events that happens which causes both Phuong and Kien’s loss of their innocence. It takes away Phuong’s loyalty towards Kien, and stops them from resuming their previous relationship. But it may also seem that the war had a greater impact on Phuong as a person, as her optimistic, fragile, happy character is destroyed, and she is no longer able to accept Kien into her life.

    Despite the events that even Kien called her a whore on the train at the end; we see her as a strong woman, because, “she seemed to be welcoming her new lifestyle, embracing it with a calm, carefree approach. From a pure, sweet, and simple girl she was now a hardened experience woman, indifferent to vulnerable emotions. To Kien she seemed to be walking away from his life, from herself, from her past, her country, and without the slightest regret” (Ninh 223). This shows how much her relationship and the events that occurred with Kien made her stronger and not weaker. Even at the end when their feelings were never spoken out to one another; they went their own separate ways, with silent feelings for each other that were never spoken in words.

    In Broken April Ismail Kadare uses the relationships of Bessian to Diane and Gjorg to Diane in a setting of blood feuds up in the mountains. The relationship of Bessian and Diane is that they are newlyweds. Bessian loves Diane, but do not really know how to express it. Bessian does not want to say anything because he does not want his wife to misunderstand and start an argument with her. Bessian even knew that his wife had other feelings and even thought “the idea of … going home tormented him more and more” (Kadare 168) but he did it for his wife’s sake. Even “during those days he had been waiting to hear her say at last the words that would have been so natural…..he had waited for those words impatiently, feverishly, the remedy for their trouble but she had not said them….he now found that he had no clue to what it might mean” (Kadare 167).

    This shows how much he won’t say anything to his wife but just wait for a cue from her. Just like how Bessian thought to himself “why did you go there, he cried out within him…to look for that mountaineer, That Gjorg…” (201). Bessian, however, is scared to find out the truth from Diana and what she is really feeling, “No, it would be better that she keep silent all through this dreadful trial…that he never hear her say to him the things that would give him pain” (176). As for Diane she is described as beautiful women but simple-minded. She on the other hand, doesn’t say anything either to her husband Bessian, because he is enjoying the trip and she doesn’t want to ruin it even though she doesn’t like it and feels really uncomfortable. Their relationship is silent because they are unable to express their thoughts and feelings to each other even when they are married.

    This setting of Broken April is set up in the mountains where there is killings that the families have had going on for generations. But because of this, Bessian and Diane were able to meet Gjorg who just killed someone and was traveling to pay his blood tax. On his travel he encounters Bessian and Diane. After their meeting with each other Bessian spoke about Gjorg saying, “a man must have the will of a titan to turn towards death on orders that come from a place so far away” (Kadare 112) these words made Diane think a lot about Gjorg because of the situation Gjorg is.

    Although Gjorg and Diane never really talked, but are attracted to each other not realizing it. When Diane said, “The name to herself and she felt that an emptiness was spreading inside her chest” (Kadare 116). This made her attracted to the death of Gjorg and his bessa because she would often ask Bessian what the day was because she remembered that Gjorg’s bessa was over in mid-April. Gjorg on the other hand is fascinated by the beauty of Diane when they made eye-contact. Diane’s beauty resembles this love feeling for Gjorg that he never had a relationship due to the fact that his fianc� passed away. The high plateau and the blood feud setting is a place where people lose their lives, which sucks the lives out of people who lives there because of all the blood feuds. Which connects to Diane because the setting of the blood feud sucks the feelings from Diane which makes her lose the feelings of loving her husband and thinking that she had married the wrong man. But she doesn’t say anything at all.

    Analyzing the two stories relationships you can see a lot of similarities because the couples, they lack a good communication. That’s what creates a misunderstanding for them. If you look at it there’s always interference between each of the relationship such as Kien and the war of how he couldn’t be in a relationship and that he should have died during the war instead of living and feeling all the guilt making him push Phuong from him. Diane and Gjorg have silent relationship because they never had a chance to talk to each other. Lastly Bessian and his works because he’s so attached and focus on wanting to visit the high plateau because he has written so many books about it that he didn’t pay much attention to his wife making her feel like an outsider to him. Overall Bao Ninh and Ismail Kadare uses the events that occur within the setting to express the lack of communication that the characters have which brought them to have a broken relationship at the end.

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