Guests of the Nation

Frank O’Connor’s 1947 Guest of the Nation is one of the most Influential forms of literature in the history of Ireland.  Set in the rich historical background, the story brings the Irish struggles for liberation and the much desired independence from the British colonial rule that was marred with economic exploitation and gross violations of the human rights for the locals. The Irish relentlessly fight to gain their self-rule from the British oppressors. The story unfolds when some Irish fighting rebels and British men (Hawkins and Belcher) find themselves locked up in the same house. These men immediately put aside their national conflicting interests and they could be seen play cards, discuss politics and argue out issues of religion in harmony.

 Serenity and high level of harmony prevails in the surrounding atmosphere until Feeney suddenly come with a shocking news that the Irishmen have been issued with an order to execute the English soldiers in retaliation to their (Irish rebels) befallen imprisoned counterparts by the British authority. At this juncture, all other ideologies vanish and the Irishmen are then determined to execute the killing of their armed rivals without any compromise. Consequently, a remarkably sharp argument ensued between the conflicting sides following the difficult situation at hand.

Through the use of an outstanding persona (Bonaparte), O’Connor is highly categorical on the power of dialogue to end series of armed conflicts of the time across the world. Typical of any other anti-war story, the author puts much emphasis on the power of diversity amongst the people. Even though people appear to be different in their skin color or political affiliations, O’Connor is optimistic that mutual understanding, rationality, and a common world view would help promote world peace. The Guest of Nation is ideal for general readership.

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