For Esmé with Love and Squalor
Character Role Analysis
Clay is good-natured, happy-go-lucky, somewhat oafish, and at times remarkably insensitive – in a nutshell, he's the total opposite of Sergeant X. Though Clay, like his friend, is emotionally scarred by the war (we can tell that he can't get over the cat he murdered, even though he thinks he has), he just won't admit it; he tries to hide his conflicted feelings away, and focuses purely on the present. Sergeant X, on the other hand, can't escape the past, and is swamped by his own post-traumatic neuroses. Clay and Sergeant X are kind of mutually incomprehensible – neither can really understand the other, but they're closely tied to each other by the experiences they shared during the war.