Under a WAR-TORN Sky
Henry Forester has definitely changed over the course of the book. Henry went from being a U.S pilot to a wanted war prisoner. Not only was he wanted for his country, but he was also wanted for the murder of two Nazis. At the beginning of the book, Henry would never have imagine he could be capable of something like this. "He had killed two men- not from the anonymity of the sky- but face to face, with his own hands. He'd had murder in his heart. He couldn't wash that out. Henry knew that he was changed forever, and not for the better" (Elliot 215). Henry experienced first hand what the war could to people. It changed him from the boy he used to be. He developed so much his own mother could not recognize him. "Can I help you, sir?' she called in an uncertain voice. Henry straightened up, Speed still jumping all over him. Lilly kept standing there, her hand to her heart. Henry realized she wasn't sure who he was. Had he changed that much?" (Elliot, 275). Obviously, Henry changed in his appearance as well as his character.
The setting is a key element to the book's plot. It is the sole reason there is a plot. The book takes place in Switzerland, France, and sometimes Germany. The main plot of the book is Henry trying to get home, but cant because he is in these foreign countries. This wouldn't be such an ordeal if it was not during World War II. "At a crossroad, a wooden sign of arrows pointed the way to several towns: STRASBOURG, NEUF-BRISACH, GUEBWILLER, MULHOUSE. Henry was not reassured by the names. Strasboug and Guebwiller sounded distinctly German. Of the four, Neuf-Brisach was the only one that sounded French. He clung to the hope that if he was not in France, he was in Switzerland" (Elliot 48). This shows that Henry is in a dangerous part of the world for this time period. He could easily go to the wrong town and be captured by the enemy. As you can see, the setting is crucial to the plot of the book.
Throughout the book, the theme of love appeared many times. Henry loved his mother and a childhood girl named Patsy. Whenever Henry was in trouble or in danger, he would remember that he had to be brave if he ever wanted to see Lilly or Patsy again. That hope was what got him through the torturing. "The guards thrust him under as he coughed and gasped, no time to take a breath and hold it. Under the water he could hear Patsy calling him" (Elliot 200). The thought of Patsy got him through the drowning without breaking. Also, when Henry was driving with is Nazi tormentor, he kept thinking he would never see his mother again. That thought was what drove him to escape. All in all, the love Henry had for his family was an apparent theme throughout the book.