Literary Elements in Relation to the Psychological State of the Characters in Three Days Road

June 22, 2022 by Essay Writer

Within the novel “Three Day Road” written by Joseph Boyden, the author uses literary elements to delve into the mind and personality of the characters development throughout the novel. In itself, this approach also employs a psychological perspective that reflects the characters revelations and how it affects their conscious and mental world. “Three Day Road” is a novel that vividly portrays the chaos, fear and courage which comes from two soldiers Xavier and Elijah who are numbed by the horrors of trench warfare. From Analysing “Three day Road” from a psychological perspective it becomes clear that as human beings it is second nature to be compelled to help loved ones when they are in need, but often the care for others is not enough and people resort to drastic measures in order to save their identity and rationality. Morphine, scalping and xaviers mauser are all symbols that represent the characters struggle throughout the war and how it can change their human nature.

The mauser was obtained by notorious german sniper that Xavier killed, the mauser was in perfect condtion and one of the best guns a sniper could have. Elijah becomes jealous of this since it represents things such as power and success as the sniper use to belong to a sniper who loved death and it further staples the gap between his skills compared to Xavier. Xavier was always the better sniper with the best shot and Elijah was always trying to take the mauser from him to further grow his fascination in death that grows in him. This resulted in the death of Elijah by Xavier. He places the Mauser next to his body in the grave to represent how his spirit can finally rest in peace and turn away from the destruction that consumed Elijah.

Scalping was first introduced to Elijah by the french, they have heard about Elijah as his skills are well known but they believe a soldier named peggy is more successful because he claims to be although he never proved it. Elijah is determined to be the best sniper in his battalion and so he begins to collect trophies of his kills by scalping them. This marks the start with his obsession with killing and soon became a symbol of power and respect over the other soldiers. The others in the battalion have begun to treat elijah like he is something more than them. “ I walk beside him or behind him along the trenches between stretches out hunting and very few seem to notice me at all.” This quote is xavier describing how much elijah has changed and now he boast and never acknowledges those who help him be successful. The endless violence and repulsive conditions that come with trench warfare has made Elijah became someone that is invested into the glory that comes with war. Successfully killing germans gave Elijah a path to become a hero which ultimately turned against him as he saw it as an end rather than a means. Elijah’s determination to kill, which began as a way to earn respect from army officials due to his race has clouded his ability to appreciate the recognition he does receives.

Morphine represents foolishness with the stress and pressures of the war elijah starts taking and becomes addicted to morphine. Xavier later on does the exact same thing. They both slowly stop caring about what happens to them, friends and the war. All elijah wants is fame and Elijah wants an escape. Both Xavier and Elijah use the drug morphine to escape the harsh reality of war. Particularly Elijah uses it to increase his battle prowess which lead him to a dangerous cycle in Elijah as his continued use of the drug to get an edge on the battle field continues his recognition by the officers. In contrast Xavier becomes addicted after he kills Elijah. Not only is he beaten down by the physical pain of his leg but the emotional weight of all that happened to him and elijah during the war combines with the guilt he feels over his murder of his best friend elijah making reality completely unbearable.

Elijah’s decent into insanity was fueled by drug use, the effect of others racism, competition for recognition both within the army and by other first nations people after war and jealous competition among soldiers and officers. ”A darker shade, possible night has approached when Elijah spots the hulk of it on the shoreline. We reach the canoe and see it’s a Bull moose a big. One. charred and blackened” this is Xavier describing how he and elijajah found the burned moose and it shows how not everything can survive events that are up ahead. This forshadows the fates of both men in the war. In the novel, morphine scalping and xaviers mauser all symbolize a characters sturuggles during the war although in the end elijah though he was the strongest of the three but infactsuffered the worst which resulted in his later death.


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