Small Country Themes & Motifs

Gaël Faye
This Study Guide consists of approximately 45 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Small Country.
This section contains 2,174 words
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Friends and Enemies

Over the course of the novel, the young Gabriel tries to make sense of war, and specifically war produced by ethnic animosity. Through its depictions of the internal dynamics of Gabriel’s friend group, the novel offers a compelling, if limited, portrait of how enemies are produced and invented. The novel suggests that generally the production of an (invented) enemy is an attempt at self-definition and the production of oneself in a particular light. By defining one’s enemy, humans seek, however destructively and violently, to define themselves.

At the beginning of the novel, the reader is given a rather idyllic portrait of Gabriel and his friends: Gino, Armand, and the twins. Like most children, the low points in Gabriel’s life before the violence in Rwanda begins are marked by summer boredom: “Even if we messed around and had a laugh from time...

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This section contains 2,174 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Small Country Study Guide
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