War of words

To infinity and beyond

I recently watched an interesting documentary about poets in the First World War such as Wilfred Owen, David Jones, Seigfreid Sassoon, J.R.R Tolkien and Robert Graves of which were “soliders first and poets second. Together they changed how the first world war as a whole would be remembered”.

The documentary goes through the changes the poets went through from the beginning of the war when they were effected by the Propaganda that encouraged them to sign up to their realisation of the ‘futility’ of war.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04pw01r/war-of-words-soldierpoets-of-the-somme

View original post

1000 words on Birdsong.

Sebastian Faulks displays the futility and pity of war through a variety of techniques. One of these techniques is the monologue, which is utilized to help the writer express their ideas using certain characters. One character Faulks uses to express the idea that war is bot futile and pitiful is Stephen, who states: “This is not war this is an exploration into how far men can be degraded.” “You think they will take no more, that something in them will say, enough, no one can do this.” “They will do more.” George Simmers states: “Faulks’ hero is surely showing a remarkable naivety.” “The aim of war is always to degrade the enemy.” It is a weakness of Simmer’s argument that he forgets who Stephen is really blaming for the degradation of these men. From Stephen’s perspective, and hence Faulks’, the degradation of these soldiers is self inflicted. This is clear when he states that there is an option to give up and give in: “You think they will say enough.” This makes it clear that from Stephen’s perspective there is a choice, as do his chilling plans of suicide: “I would walk into the enemy lines and let myself be killed.” In Stephen’s view this fighting is a form of self-mutilation by humanity without reason beyond degradation for degradation’s sake. As such, through Stephen’s monologue, Faulks presents and effectively argues the idea that fighting and the war and the suffering are all both pitiful and futile.

 One technique used by Faulks to present his views, in Birdsong, is comparative details; the main connection which allows this comparison is Isabelle who was the wife of Azaire and lover to both Stephen and Max. Between Stephen and Azaire these details of comparison reveal their immense differences at the beginning of the novel which discern Stephen as the hero. Over the course of the war however, these differences fade and are replaced with similarities that highlight the pity of war which is it can transform good men into monsters. In comparing Max to Stephen and Stephen to Azaire the futility of Stephen’s battles becomes immensely clear. The pity of war is made clear in these simple descriptions: “The voice, which he recognised even on this slight evidence as Madame Azaire’s, was cut short by the thudding sound he had heard earlier.” At this point in the novel Stephen’s character becomes enraged b the idea of Isabelle being harmed, hence he is the hero of this story. However as http://bookssnob.wordpress.com states: “Stephen overhears Rene beating Isabelle, and he determines to rescue her.” “As the war drags on Stephen changes… weary in body, mind and spirit.” This is proven true in a scene where Stephen visits a prostitute and Stephen describes her as “Animal matter” as he takes out his knife. Interestingly where before, Stephen describes the degradation of others in his monologue to Weir; Faulks is describing the degradation of Stephen’s own identity through means of a comparison between his old nemesis and new self. Here Faulks displays the pity of war as he explains that war creates killers out of good men by removing a capacity for love that is simply unnecessary in war. As for displaying the futility of war, this is done extremely well by contrasting the characters of Stephen and Max which begins on several grounds. They’re both affectionate towards Isabelle, both have come into contact with her through the war and they are both soldiers but perhaps most effective in explaining their difference is that while Stephen gave Isabelle a daughter Max is helping to raise her. Isabelle describes Max as “A good man.” “A human soul.” In addition Max protects both Isabelle and acts as a guardian to her daughter, further displaying his kind and purer soul. Stephen meanwhile becomes violent and unstable quite easily even snapping at Weir his best friend, while Max does not allow the war to destroy him as a person. Here the futility is conveyed by Stephen’s inability to outdo Max, who as the enemy should be his lesser and is somehow superior to him in many aspects, which makes the exercise of hating him and fighting out of hate a futile one and all fighting leads to hatred. Over all the use of comparative details is one of Faulk’s most effective methods used to convey the belief that war is futile and the lives of the soldiers are pitiful.

One simple way Faulks manages to convey the futility of war and the pity of a soldier’s life in the trench is the variation in use of emotive statements when talking about the dead as corpses or people. As Anthony Campbell states: “The experience of trench warfare is made so vivid that it is hard to go on reading.” Objective statements cause us to react on our own, normally in disgust to images sticking in our minds. “There was a man beside him missing part of his face.” Faulks uses the technique of blunt short descriptions to the effect of instinctive disgust which replicates the emotions of soldiers who saw the destruction and obliterated corpses. Here the pity of life on the front lines is made blatantly clear, when faced with sights that move the stomach to expulsions and the men themselves to tears daily, by use of short objectively emotionless statements and observations. The futility is shown in number of men who die in war and the loss of this objective view of the situation. When Stephen says: “Gods I can’t even remember his name” Stephen is losing count of all those people he’s stood witness to the death of in this war, some of which he has forgotten the names of because there were so many. Over all the use of variation between the lacking emotive language and the accumulation of emotive statements effectively represents Faulks belief that war is futile in that its one certain result is death and life in war is pitiful as it guarantees nothing but suffering.

1000 words on Birdsong.

Sebastian Faulks displays the futility and pity of war through a variety of techniques. One of these techniques is the monolouge, which is utilized to help the writer express their ideas using certain characters. One character Faulks uses to express the idea that war is bot futile and pitiful is Stephen, who states: “This is not war this is an exploration into how far men can be degraded.” “You think they will take no more, that something in them will say, enough, no one can do this.” “They will do more.” George Simmers states: “Faulks’ hero is surely showing a remarkable naivety.” “The aim of war is always to degrade the enemy.” It is a weakness of Simmer’s argument that he forgets who Stephen is really blaming for the degradtion of these men. In forgetting this Simmers makes the error of misinterpreting Faulks ideas about the degredation of soldiers. From Stephen’s perspective, and hence Faulks’, the degredationg of these soldiers is self inflicted. This is clear whe he states that there is an option to give up and give in: “You think they will say enough.” This makes it clear that from Stephen’s perspective there is a choice, as do his chilling plans of suicide: “I would walk into the enemy lines and let myself be killed.” In Stephen’s view this fighting is a form of self-mutilation by humanity without reason beyond degredation for degredation’s sake. As such, through Stephen’s monolouge, Faulks presents and effectively argues the idea that fighting and the war and the suffering are all both pitiful and futile.

Jack Firebrace

The novel Birdsong by Faulks is unique to various other world war one literature in the sense it allows us to relate to many characters. It uses common fears amongst people to create a bond between characters such as Jack Firebrace and the reader. Jack is one of the characters who entered the tunnels repeatedly and for great periods of time. Most humans are apprehensive to enter tight, claustrophobic spaces which is why we instantly feel worried for Jack. These spaces are probably damp, cramped, cold, dark and an obvious cause of stress or anxiety and even trauma. In this sense we empathise heavily with Jack despite some initial confusion over the apparent loss of Stephan as the main protagonist.
We then empathise with Jack on a second more personal level to the character, when we discover that Jack is both married and a father. We empathise upon learning Jack’s son has become ill, little John dies from this illness at which point his wife foreshadows Jack’s death by asking him to come home safe. However what we sympathise with Jack over is that he is denied leave to go see John and Margaret which everyone would be able to understand.
In essence Jack Firebrace is a tragic character without any observable Hamartia excluding the fact he is incapable of returning although this is more of a fatal circumstance. Jack’s tragedy educates us in one respect and that is the soldiers didn’t just lose things such as friends in the trenches. Soldiers lost wives, children, parents, siblings, friends and homes while away at war.

Whatever of Ms Morgan’s opinion survived being filtered intensely

“Faulks uses her to explore life options for women pre-war and post-war”
“Interestingly she allowed herself to be ‘sold off’ to Azaire”
Her marriage to Azaire is a reflection of the Gothic characteristic of imprisonment and has a farytail quality in the damsel in distress Stephan sees in Isabelle.
Stephan fears birds because they a cruel and prehistoric. War is crueller and prehistoric.
Faulks- “No satisfactory World War 1 novel has ever been written.”

Gothic Elements Within the Work of Faulks and Owen

Literature belonging to the genre of war often contains elements of the Gothic or Romantic, depending upon the writer’s feelings about war their work may vary between having many Gothic qualities to having a large number of Romantic characteristics. In the case of both Wilfred Owen and Sebastian Faulks, they clearly interpreted war as a horror and tragedy inflicted upon man by his own hubris, foolishness or greed. The effect of this upon their work being felt in the pity and futility with which they describe war and include the elements of the Gothic in these descriptions.

Owen’s Work

Castles, convents, haunted ruins: Strange Meeting “That sullen hall”

Dark long winding passages: Strange Meeting “Dull ponderous tunnel”

Physical+mental emprisonment: Mental cases “These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.”

Ghosts or Sorcerers: Exposure “Gusts tugging on the wire. Like twitching agonies of men among its brmbles.” and The Kind Ghosts “They move not from her taperstries… Lest aught she be disturbed.” Hospital Barge “Which Merlin dreamed”

Dwarfs that change shape: Futility “The clay grew tall”

Faulks’ Work

Castles, convents or haunted ruins: Azaire’s house, or the Brothel Stephan visits with Weir.

Dark, long, winding passages: Corridors of Azaire’s house, trenches, the tunnels.

Physical/mental imprisonment: Stephan’s emotional imprisonment about Isabella, imprisoned by the change of job, imprisoned underground, imprisoned by his fear of birds.

Ghosts, witches and Sorcerers: Aunt Elise’s appearance is streotypical of a witch, Stephan’s use of fortune telling and candle work, ghosts of Stephan’s men, ghost of Stephan to Elizabeth.

Dwarfs that change shape: Lisette in the eyes of Stephan from the childish girl to a young woman who is realising her ‘needs’ Stephan who becomes smaller, terrified and childlike at the sight of birds. Stephan changes and becomes proficient killer and soldier is irrecognisable to himself.

Jacobean Literature

During the Jacobean period Shakespeare wrote the tragedies of Macbeth and King Lear, his patronage in this period came from Anne of Denmark who was wife to James I. In addition to these prominant plays which lies beyond the classification of tragedy was The Tempest. Interestingly, these plays all concern the use of magic, or failing outright sorcery they display characters of a pagan background; in an era when the use of magic or sympathy with pagans was abhorrent and often resulted in death, it is interesting that magic was displayed in both positive (Prospero’s magic being called wondrous and beautiful) and neutral (the three witches of Macbeth who take no sides and have no sway in the story beyond honestly prophessing the future) fashions.

During 1616 George Chapman completed his monumental translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey into English verse, which were the first complete translation of either, both central to Western Canon. Another monumental translator of the time was King James, who published his own Bible in English to make religion more accesable to the common man, as a Protestant King the show of apptitude for propoganda is inspired. It is note worthy that King James famously mistranslated several passages of the text on purpose to further his cause against the practition of both pagan and satanic witchcraft which remained in many parts of the Christian world perhaps growing from the rise of puritanism whose harsh ways could have futhered a growth in the rebellion against Christ that became Satanism in the 1800s. King James also published a handbook, that described several methods by which a person could identify witches and confirm their allegiances to Satan, (the later being torture and the former being mere dermitological conditions or minor abnormalities) which was titled: “Daemonologie” The mere existence of this text shows that Shakespeare’s common theme of magic in his plays as either positive or neutral is too prominant to not be an issue with this monarch, due to that fact that Shakespeare knowledgable of Roman history and mythology it could be possible this was a form of rebellion against James’ demonization of the pagans who Shakespeare was an admirer of.

Other notable writers of the time include: Webster, who wrote the White Devil a play which also displays the use of magic neutrally in the necromancer/cojurer; Johnson who, along with Donne and the Cavalier Poets, gave the era some of its best poetry; Middleton, a poet and free-agent playwrite who was supposedly called on to help revise Macbeth. By far the most easily obtained and most influential on our ideals have been the works of King James and Shakespeare, the first shaping our attitude towards witchcraft for four centuries beyond their publication while the later providing a counterweight and shaping a more modern understanding of such practices.

Medici (For Miss Larkin)

Connected to the majority of other successful families by buisness or marriage, the Medici had a prominent influence throughout Italy. Several other elite families only had contact with the rest by the Medici. The Medici were influential in government process and with this in addition to high status and connections, they prospered. In the 14th century members rose to great esteem, by means of the wool trade, in France and Spain. However their involvement in several revolts and plots caused their exhile from Florence (a centre of power for their family) excluding two, one of these two was Averardo de Medici who became responsible for delivering the Medici Dynasty onto Italy.
Averardo’s son Giovanni expanded upon the family’s substantial wealth by creating the Medici Family Bank, this venture turned Giovanni into one of the richest men in Florence. Giovanni’s son Cosimo the Elder (pater patriae) took over in 1443 and the Medici family became the unofficial heads of state for the Florentine Republic. Piero and Lorenzo ruled in successive generations over Florence, each skilled in managing the city and never toppling the government whilst clearly controlling it. Piero himself did little to expand the control of the Medici with his gout being a preoccupier of his time. Lorenzo however masterfully expanded their monopoly of Florence and Italy, his son became Pope Leo whilst his daughter was married so they’d gain a political advantage over their rivals. His son Piero(II) was groomed for leading the family as Lorenzo had done, however he was a poor inheritor of Lorenzo’s role and power. Between 1494 and 1512 Piero, who is now Gran Miestro of the Medici family, caused the family to be expelled from Italy. Upon their return they remain powerful and influential but the turmoil of life caused a great deal of strife for many members especially those in the church or who had military influence.

King Lear Character Analysis: Cordelia

TheEnglishTutor

Cordelia

Compared with her sisters, Cordelia comes off as saint – she is one of the only genuinely principled characters in the play. But she does inherit some of her father’s traits – she inherited his pride and, like her father, she can be unyielding. She responds to his pride with her pride at the beginning of the play. She also shows how different she is to her two sisters in this scene; instead of flattering her father for an end goal, she refuses to make a public spectacle of her love for her father. Cordelia is too principled to partake in something so fake and tacky.
Cordelia appears in four of the twenty-six scenes in the play and speaks only a hundred lines. Her influence is out of proportion to this small contribution – her presence in the play alone offers a counterbalance to the evil represented by her…

View original post 409 more words

Faulks and Owen

“Once more in ragged suicidal line. They trudged towards the pattering death of mounted guns.” Birdsong.

“These who die as cattle.” “Demented choirs of wailing shells.” “The stuttering rifle’s rapid rattle.” Anthem for Doomed Youth.

In both Faulks and Owen’s work what becomes cleat is the futile, tragic nature of the demise soldiers encountered in battle. In addition their writing attempts a recreation of sound as a means to describe the battles. Owen recreates sound using both alliteration and personification through the verb “Stuttering.” An action only humans are consciously capable of. Meanwhile, Faulks uses the verb “Pattering” which is defined as the rapid speaking common to salesmen. In this case Faulks implies they have been sold death in abundance or are convinced to die for something. In addition he uses the adjective “Suicidal” emphasising how little hope there is now of surviving the war.