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There are a lot of themes to this novel and many lessons. At the risk of oversimplifying things, I might say that war and patriotism exacts a heavy price. This price is much too heavy for any country or culture to give. I think a more specific point might be the blurred lines between the individual and the nation. When a country is at war both sides tend to forget the awful price individuals pay. Their identities are lost in the blur of patriotism and duty. This novel is full of lost souls in the name of patriotism and blind nationalism. It's not for me to second guess history but after reading this book I found myself reflecting on these ideas.