"In literature and drama, the term everyman has come to mean an
ordinary individual, with whom the audience or reader is supposed to
be able to identify, and who is often placed in extraordinary
War provides a set of extraordinary circumstances for the common
soldier. War novels often emphasize how ordinary the soldiers are -
they often come from small towns and discuss their girlfriends,
family, and friends back home. However, these ordinary people
encounter extraordinary events and conditions when in war.
Lt. Frederic Henry in the Ernest Hemingway novel "A Farewell to Arms"
is a good example of an everyman character in a war novel. The
extremes of war go on around him and in many ways he is overwhelmed by
it and attempts not to think to much about it. This is a reaction that
many could relate to- rather than the actions of a hero-soldier who
"The everyman character, however, is written so that the reader or
audience can imagine themselves in the same situation without having
to possess knowledge, skills, and abilities outside their everyday
experience. Also, such characters react realistically in situations
that are often taken for granted with traditional heroes."
In essence, the everyman character allows the average reader to
identify with the character- despite, perhaps, not having any
experience in war itself. The character is humanized and seems more
vulnerable- drawing the reader into their experiences as if they were
I hope this helps!
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everyman and "war novels"