December 11, 2018
Who Is The Main Character?
In the novel Wartime Lies, we follow a boy named Maciek who is born into the world during the rise of Nazi-Germany. Thankfully, he is not alone, as he is protected and taken care of by his aunt. The story follows these two as they not only try to hide from the germans, but also live as a broken family. While Wartime Lies is a great story that tells an eye-witness account of the destruction during World War II, it leaves one question unanswered. That question is who is the main character?
Now this might not be an important detail, but after reading the novel and understanding how the story is told, it makes us wonder. After all, we (the reader) know that Maciek is telling the story as the narrator. As Maciek is really the author as a young boy. However, he seems like a narrator who we just so happen to know the name of. We don’t really see Maciek do anything major, as the other characters do them instead.
This leaves the impression that Maciek’s purpose is merely a way to propel the plot and story forward. Maciek is also extremely inappropriate, as the book was supposed to be given a separate name. That name being Confessions of A Monster. The previous title gives the impression that Maciek (or Louis Begley) was much worse than either what we read or what was thrown away toward the editing phase. Which is both relieving considering what is in the book and ominous considering what was allowed to be in the book.
Though we shouldn’t put such emphasis on Maciek’s actions. After all, he is just a child. He didn’t know better in many cases, not to mention how trying to live in such a time period at his age was rough. So of course he had no ideal achievements, as anything he did could have made things worse for him and his aunt. So while Maciek is important for the story, he isn’t necessarily a stand alone character.
Maciek also has a sense of hardening to his character. Almost like the author is being hard on his child self. Or possibly has always been hard on himself since his childhood due to what he has done as well as what was going on around him. It gives me a sense that while we may understand him and his actions, the author doesn’t. Which adds another layer to Maciek’s character...