War effects everyone involved. The conquerors and those being
conquered. War is a struggle that is internal and external. Man can be a
dedicated and loyal soldier for only so much at a time. He then longs for
laughter, music, girls, a good meal and more. In The Moon is Down, the
soldiers get the need to return home. They begin to doubt what they are
doing and if they are being told the truth. They become uneasy when the
enemy doesn't talk to them. The townspeople's hatred is growing. They
remained indoors and stared from behind curtains while the patrol walked
through the town.
Lieutenant Tonder was a romantic naive poet who felt the enemy should
love him. Steinbeck presented Tonder as "a bitter poet who dreamed of
perfect, ideal love of elevated young men for poor girls" (25).
When Lieutenant Tonder first arrived in town he thought that it was a
nice country with nice people.
Tonder says, "There are some beautiful
farms here. If four or five of them were thrown together, it would be a
nice place to settle, I think" (34). The war was not ending as quickly as
Tonder expected. The townspeople had become the silent enemies of the
soldiers or the townspeople became silent waiting for revenge. "Now it was
the conqueror was surrounded, the men of the battalion alone among silent
enemies, and no man might relax his guard for even a moment" (65). The
soldiers now have only each other to talk to and Tonder longed to go home.
"The men of the battalion came to detest the place they had conquered,...
and gradually a little fear began to grow in the conquerors, a fear that it
would never be over" (65-66). In war, as time goes on fear begins...