Stephen is quite an interesting character. The change in him throughout the book is quite drastic. Starting off as just a caring man, he transforms to a cold, angry and depressed. It’s not all that surprising that this happened, as war would do this to anyone. He becomes much more reserved as well. He forms bonds with the men but he does not express his true feelings. The only person he could ever do that with was Isabelle. Stephen understands, dissects and examines every emotion, but still strives to still feel alive and human regardless of how difficult it is. As cheesy as it may be, he reminds me of Stefan Salvatore in the TV show, The Vampire Diaries. After becoming a vampire, Stefan becomes insensitive for a period of time, yet at a point wants to feel and love no matter how much it hurts. This is exactly how Stephen is after experiencing the war.
Isabelle is a fragile character in my opinion, although her insecurities can be justified by her damaged childhood and adolescence. She manages to escape from all of her problems, rather than facing them. She leaves because she’s afraid, she refrains because she’s scared, she feels but doesn’t want to, and this results in her hurting everyone around her. Perhaps this has to do with the abuse she receives from her husband, Rene or the fact that she was completely disregarded by her parents when she was a child. She reminds me a little of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams. Stella allows herself to be defined by Stanley and does what he tells her to. Both her and Isabelle receive abuse from their husbands, and attempt to escape; in the end returning to the very person they ran away from. The main reason is both cases is security, which is not unexpected since both books take place during a time of war. The two also do this for the life of their children-to-be.
Elizabeth is a very lost character. She finds herself pregnant by her married lover, and wants him to leave his family for her. Suffering and unsure as to what she should do so she seeks out her grandfather’s journal. Here she discovers the truth of the war, and she begins to attempt to rebuild her own life. It changes her perspective and causes her to want more out of life. Although she is not extremely prominent throughout the novel Elizabeth reminds me of Jude Harrison from Instant Star in a sense. Both came to discoveries in their lives that they needed to let go of people that were holding them back, and go off and live their own lives. It's hard for both of them to face that reality, but they both end up better because of it. Development as an individual rather than as someone's "sidekick" is the key to them.