Strange Meeting revision notes AS English Literature

My revision notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
- `'Since going to the front in April, he had found out so many things, came up against traits like this,
which he could not accept. He had thought, before April, that he knew himself. He was wounded
during the second week of the offensive, in July. Came home again. Was twenty-two, then. Knew
everything. Nothing'' Last two sentences are contradictory-strangeness of one person to himself-
does not really know himself; loosing his innocence ( like Weir in Birdsong); staccato style-sharp,jumpy,
but creates a sense of statements-facts.
- `'Crawford''- lack of compassion, cynicism
-Crawford as a representation of man inhumanity's to man, reality of war; similar approach like doctor
in Birdsong, suggest Hilliard does something underhand ( sly manner, dishonest)
- distances himself from all the horrors of war
-`'He had been unhappy at home, where he could talk to no one, nobody knew, where they gave
dinner parties and agreed about politics, where old men aired their military opinions and he could
not join in, only sit there, staring at them, and then down his food, in disbelief. He had argued twice,
bitterly, with his father. But after that stayed silent''- better stay silent as people on the H.F are
unable to understand no matter how explicitly facts would be presented to them.
-`' He had gone to London and wandered hopelessly about the streets, eaten in the club and listened
to what they were saying there, too, had seen that life went on: flower sellers sitting around
Piccadilly, young women with parasols strolling in the sunshine through the Green Park,
commissionaires in uniform, opening the doors of grand hotels.'' ­ dislocation of the Home Front and
the Western Front ­ dichotomy; the time for men has stopped but for those who stayed in England life
moves on.
- `' On the lawn under the cedar tree, his mother poured china tea for the ladies who came on
Wednesday to knit, grey and green socks and mittens and helmets, for the coming winter at the
front''- Link to the Glory of Women- seems futile gesture
-`'Although, in England you could not tell exactly what was happening, only the official reports came
through to the newspapers, telling nothing. He read them, read between the lines, read the Casualty
Lists. Imagined. Knew.'' : again staccato style- conspiracy of silence- people on the leave know while
people at home don't
- divorced from their old lives- it is ironic that they feel homely at the front.
- `' This was how it went on, he felt himself changing daily, felt himself to be old, twenty, thirty, fifty
years older than when he had gone out in April''- young men prematurely aged, loss of innocence;
Pg. 14
- `' The day they had taken the German trench, they found the bodies piled on top of one another in
layers, like sandbags, making a wall'': realities of war
- `' Jesus God, help me...''- link to Birdsong Battle of the Somme: half- prayer half- profanity.
- `' The sweat was cooling on his back. The worst thing in his nightmares was always the smell, the
sweet, rotten trench smell, of soil and chlorine and blood, and the mustard gas like garlic. His
bedroom window was open and the room was full of the scent of roses, coming up from the warm
garden, A sweet smell, and curiously like some cream or powder in a jar on his mother`s dressing
table. A sweet smell'': dislocation-cannot enjoy normal smell- the smell is too strong- it's cloy (To
cause distaste or disgust by supplying with too much of something originally pleasant)

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`'I want to go back. For there was nothing for him here''-dislocation
Pg. 16
Major- pre war attitude, arrogant+obsessed with the glamorous nature of war. He's kind of people
Sassoon talk about in Regeneration-they have no idea what real war is about
Repetition of `calvaryman': Major stucked in his own idea of chivalrous war
`'Cavalrymen always were more highly thought of''
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`'No more of that. He would only get their letters, as faint reminders of some other world. Insttead, he
would be making entirely possible decisions, about maps and marches and the conditions of rifles and
feet, he would be taking simple orders about life and death.'' - irony; may sound harsh, cold hearted
but that's the reality of war.…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`' we were running into our own covering fire''- Sarah Boyfriend's link
`'Twp days, of absolute bloody chaos. Bloody pointless mess''
Link to My Boy Jack-Kipling saying why did they order men to do it.
`' Hilliard realized that this was what had upset his careful, layer's mind more than anything else, this
lack of order and reason. The mess'' beyond any logic even to a person who knows laws and should
operate by justice code.…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
pg.…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`' The pilot was still trapped into his seat... the man could not have scrambled out''- horror of war
`'This was the first dead man he had seen since his return from France and there would now only be all
the rest who were to follow''
`' Perhaps Barton was being broken in gently...…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`'It was as though he had blown up inside''- his emotions ­ memories of war of the man Barton found
`' I suppose he wants to save me from knowing anything before I've absolutely got to''- Hilliard friendship
with Barton, but he is not capable of doing so
Pg.…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
`'Hilliard wanted to put his hand out and touch him. `'And could not. Sentence by itself-link to Birdsong:
masculinity where tenderness is considered useless.
Pg 93-94
bread and butter stuff
`'If he was more than thirty yards''- Armstrong- like a talisman to men: superstition- traditional
values are challenged on war
Power of God was to inspire monarchy+ authority ­ rightciousness of things
`'Jesus God, don't let him be killed...…read more

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Notes on Strange Meeting by Susan Hill
Link to Firs Casualty-bath scene
Letter: `'men are too early old and before the date of age''
Barton trying to deal with the randomness of death
`' A bloody silly accident''
`'I love you, John'' Hilliard looked at him. Yes. He was amazed at himself. That it was so easy.…read more


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