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I'm Ellie, and I'm going to be doing my very first internship this summer. It's pretty exciting. I've never had an office job.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Insignificance of Civilian Life

The graphic novel War is Boring is about one man’s journey to Chad—the author, David Axe. It explains what he was doing before Chad and the reasons he went there. One of the obvious themes in the book is war being boring, but peace being worse. But what makes war so boring? What makes peace boring? Why is being home so great at first, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, worse that being away at war? Lets step back and look at a few things peice by peice. 

In the novel, when David got home from Iraq and Lebanon, he picks a flower and says, “I loved how going to war made me appreciate the little things. Coming home was like popping ecstasy,” (39). This sort of agrees with the title of the book, War is Boring. War is boring, therefore peace must be better? But war portrayed in the novel thus far, actually, seems really exciting. Bombs exploding, danger abound, fighting, action, excitement. What we as readers forget, however, is that these scraps of excitement are just that—scraps. In all of the days, weeks, or months that Axe was overseas, there are two or three scenes in the book from that country. War is, indeed, quite boring. What was he doing the rest of the time? Most likely, he was waiting for the scraps. All of this sets us up for some false pretense that war is boring and peace is somewhat better. Then, just when they thought that they had made sense of this concept, the reader recalls that at the very beginning of the novel Axe says, “I had no choice but to go home… to Columbia, South Carolina… where it took me maybe three days to realize… as boring as war is… peace is much worse,” (15, 16).

This idea of peace being worse make the reader wonder if he has read the ecstasy comment correctly. Coming home is like popping ecstasy? What about peace being worse? It was the everyday people and things that made him hate being home. On the global level of events, small things like ties don't matter and activities like dancing don’t matter. After Axe’s negative experiences with the trade show malfunction and the horrible dance party, we physically see his demeanor decline. This supports his statement that “The ecstasy never lasted long,” (47). It simultaneously supports our conclusion that peace is worse than war. Ecstasy at first, feels great. Everything is happy (emotional warmth), your senses are heightened, and you have a general sense of wellness. Then, once the high is over, it leaves you agitated, anxious, and even reckless. David is obviously agitated and anxious while at home; he is also reckless enough to go quit his job and cancel his credit cards just to stay in Somalia. Axe, literally, could not have used a more perfect metaphor for his theme of peace being worse than war. 

Later in the novel, when Axe returns to his parent's home in Detroit, we see him becoming displeased with the tedious civilian life, as we knew he would; the ecstasy always wore off. Even though he’s with his family, they still don’t have a greater significance to the world. Chad matters. Axe goes to Chad because Chad matters. He is doing something greater than himself and his own wants. Even though it’s foolish and extremely dangerous, he cannot ignore the greater meaning of war, and to stay at home would be to ignore the reasons why people are fighting. We discover that all along, the novel, and the theme “war is boring but peace is worse,” isn't about peace being more boring than war, but about how one person’s tedious civilian life is so insignificant to the world on a global scale. David Axe, I think, could not have lived with himself if he stayed home, because although war can be boring, peace is much worse. And it is worse because living in peace is ignoring the world and the greater good of mankind.

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  1. Ellie,

    You did a very good job analyzing this major theme within the book. After reading your post, I feel like I have a greater understanding of the book. You pieced certain things together that obviously pertained to the theme that I may have looked over while reading it myself.

  2. I really like this post! You do a great job of explaining why war is boring, and how peace is worse. I think that anyone who wants to read the book War is Boring should read your blog post before or after they read the book. I say that because after I read it, the parts of the book that you explained really helped with the understanding of the book.

  3. Fantastic job! Wow! Also, it's very clean, neat, and organized. I specifically like how you picked scened from the book, pasted them in, and discussed them. Very effective!