After the First Death is one such novel that does not give any easy answers, but does represent happenings in real life. Published in 1979, this psychological thriller is still very relevant today, perhaps more so than it’s time of publication. It explores the connotations and ideas affiliated with patriotism and terrorism, and leaves the reader to decide which side of the same fence they are on, arguably fanaticism. The novel contains a complex narrative structure broken in to three fragments. A first person narrative by Mark Marchand (or Ben Marchand), a third person omniscient narration by Miro, and an additional third person omniscient narration from Kate. Both third person narrations present the ideas of the hijacking. The novel produces issues of terrorism, father-son relationships, murdering of children and masks.
Terrorism is a huge part in the novel – the whole story basically revolving around it. Artkin and Miro are the main terrorists in After the First Death. The novel also presents the idea of patriotism and fanaticism, and the parallels drawn between Mark and Artkin. Terrorism is a developing issue which needs to be addressed, taking place in most countries all over the world. After the First Death provokes the reader’s thoughts upon this issue, by making us aware of the innocence and provokes the reader’s thoughts upon this issue, by making us aware of the innocence and youth of the children, which reinforces injustice of terrorism. Cormier uses the children as a narrative device in order to provoke stronger feelings regarding terrorism. Children are seen as naïve and innocent, with little cares in the world – still with a lifetime ahead of themselves. It is arguable that the actions which we view as terrorism are in fact acts of freedom fighting and patriotism. Of course, people who live in a western society generally will not see Artkin and Miro’s actions as those of freedom fighting, however for the people of his country his actions could very likely be seen as those of freedom fighting and of patriotism. I suppose it solely relies on which side of the fence you are on.
After the First Death provokes thought on the issue of father-son relationships. Ben and Mark Marchand