Reactions to Death in the End

A common occurrence with these novels is the protagonist witnessing the death of another right before the end of said novel. With Paul it was his friend Kat, for Nellie it was the other cooks, and for Henry it was (spoiler alert) Catherine. What I found interesting was the way they reacted to the deaths.

Paul spent the time in denial, acting as if Kat had merely fallen unconscious and eventually walked away numbly. Nellie was completely numb to it the entire time. Henry was the only one to completely break down internally, bargaining with God to ensure Catherine’s survival (pg 330).

It’s a common theme that war experience changes a person. Here’s an opening for discussion: how different was Henry’s experience with the war in comparison to Nellie and Paul’s, in that he reacted in a such a way to Catherine dying? Was it the war experience, or was the in-the-moment situation the deciding factor for his reaction?