Birdsong revision AS English Literature

These are the notes I have prepared for analysis of Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. 
There might be some language errors as it is my second language. 
Hope you will find it helpful.

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  • Created by: Polip
  • Created on: 06-05-12 16:03
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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
`' Jack Firebrace lay forty five feet underground with several hundred thousands tons of France above his
face'' ­ fragility of a human being.
Pg. 123
`'They had dug to the end of the world'' ­ the sense of war being apocalyptic, the end of everything
`'There was an arm with a corporal's stripe on it near his feet, but most of the men's bodies had been
blown into the moist earth''- link to pg.135
-``immune to death'' ­ the frequency of death and men's being used to it.
-`' their company had grown important to him''-comradeship
`'At the front he hardly ever thought of home... he now inhabited another world''- detachment/
dislocation from the Home Front
Pg. 131
-`'any moment could bring death in a number of different ways''- reality of war
-`'The indifference he had cultivated, however, was to extermination of the enemy, his colleagues and
his friends; he was not, he admitted to himself, indifferent to the prospects of his own death''-
Pg. 132
`'let them die, but please God let me leave''
description of a dugout-reality of war
`'the war has provided all of us with daily lessons of anatomy'' ­ pg. 124 link
-`'walking in his sleep'' ­tired and exhausted; conditions of men.
-`'narrow inferno of his existence''- HELL, no hope, futile vs. `'There was blossom in the tree'' ­
-combination of war and nature, force of nature over the mass destruction of land
-reality of war
-`'consoling memories of a lost life''
-`' stroke the dog's head''- metaphor for affection
-`'None of these men would admit that what they saw and what they did were beyond the boundaries of
human behaviour''
-`' No one told; and Jack too joined the unspoken conspiracy'' - do not want to be reminded of their
doings; what they have done belongs to the past, detachment from the past, want to avoid the pangs of
-ALSO: `'natural order had been violated'' ­ war against nature
-ALSO: everybody blamed somebody : `'He blamed the NCO,s who blamed the officers...''
-ALSO: conditions of men

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Pg. 142
-army food; conditions of men- `'contained the immovable lice''
-men treatment like animals- a shower bit.
-`'Half- past and half pissed'' - humor
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
-`' the handsome face remained on one side, but on the other were the ragged edges of skull from
which the remains of his brain were dropping on to his uniform''- physical consequence
-`' another casualty, Douglas, whom he had seen this morning and thought indestructible''- fragility of
men, randomness of death- `Russian roulette' (my idea :D )
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Comradeship very important : `' The empty expression that had filled so many letters home did not seem
enough to describe the part Stephen had played in his life.[...] If Stephen was gone, then he himself
would not be able to continue''
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
enemy will be relieved to see someone to whom he can surrender'' ­ commanding style, blind optimism,
naïve, imperative tone. He tries to give men hope-raise their morale. Colonel-anachronistic, dual point of
view: he might want to reassure himself as well ??? ; enemy will surrender under the British power
Pg. 216
-`' We acquired our nickname, the Goats, in the Peninsular War when we proved our worth in rocky terrain.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Pg. 220-224
-epistolary- sense of one person at a time, emotional, different point of view of several characters
-Michael Weir letter: formal ­ `'mother and father'' , personal side, minutiae
`' Morale is very high.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
- Short paragraph- building up a tension before the battle of the Somme; short sentences- staccato.
`'It was a night-time, but no man slept''
`'No one spoke.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
Pg. 229
-`'They knew they were trapped'' ­no way out from this horror
-Jack Firebrace and Arthur Shaw watch the battle from a distance and see `'men from every corner
walking, powerless, into an engulfing storm''- natural metaphor-`'young men dying in quantities that they
had not dreamed possible.'' Faulks succinctly evokes the excessive horror of this appalling event.
-`'They can't let this go on''- disbelief in the death of men
-`'Shaw stood with his mouth open.…read more

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Notes on Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
-`'new unlivable reality''/ `'new reality in which they were now condemned to live''
- Stephen desperate to drink water, but as he lays in the shell hole with young man he gives him this
water- an act of humanity in the middle of mass slaughter
- Stephen feels it's all apocalyptic
`'what had happened during the daylight could be viewed as an aberration
`' Byrne was dead: he had no need of water.…read more


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