Wider reading 2

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  • Created on: 27-08-14 12:50
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Birdsong ­ Sebastian Faulks (1993)
No one in England knows what this is like. If they could see the way these men live they
would not believe their eyes. This is not a war, this is an exploration of how far men can
be degraded.
You see their faces and think they will take no more, that something in them will say,
enough, no one can do this.
Where the telegrams would be delivered, the houses where the blinds would be drawn,
where low mans would come in the afternoon behind closed doors...to pup up only
granite slabs instead of living flesh.
If I am fighting on behalf of anyone, it is those who have died.
He had thought himself immune to death; he thought he had hardened himself against
it...When there was a battle or a raid, the expected to die."
None of these men would admit that what they saw and what they did were beyond the
boundaries of human behaviour.
He found it difficult to think of words of encouragement or inspiration when he himself
did not believe there was a purpose to the war or an end in sight.
He fell to his knees but did not pray...Horrocks pulled the silver cross from his chest and
hurled it from him...Jack knew what had died in him.
(Colonel Barclay)- You are going to fight and you are going to win. You are going to inflict
such a defeat on the enemy that he will never recover. .....I confidently expect that only a
handful of shots will be fired at you.......I believe we shall take dinner at Bapaume.
(Compare to Blackadder)
Like a lot of men from that generation, he never really recovered.
Other single men moved, and began to come up like worms from their shellholes,
limping, crawling, dragging themselves out.

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They had seen things no human eyes had looked on before, and they had not turned their
gaze away.
Description of guns:
Shaking down the dust of centuries from the rafters
Like a clearing of the throat
Ringing brass note
Like a sustained roll of timpani
A shameful flock around the padre
(Wire hasn't been cut)- It's a staff cockup. Haig, Rawlinson, the lot. Don't tell your men,
Wraysford. Don't tell them, just pray for them.…read more

Page 3

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He grew used to the sight and smell of torn human flesh.
Hunt's lungs pump and blow with the subs that shook his body ­ shows utter fear
Fluid leapt from his flesh like some victorious spirit that had possessed him.
Not So Quiet ­ Helen Zenna Smith (1930)
He is coughing up clots of pinky-green filth. Only his lungs, Mother and Mrs.
Cough, cough little fair-haired boy. Maybe somewhere your mother is thinking of
you...boasting of the life she's so nobly given.…read more

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We will not dance again, this Robin and I; it is so pitiful; he is twenty and I am
twenty-one, but he is so young...
Her soul died under a radiant silver moon in the spring of 1918 on the side of a
blood-spattered trench. Around her lay the mangled dead and the dying. Her body was
untouched, her heart beat calmly, the blood coursed as ever through her veins.…read more

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Carnage and Gore - The novel's main weapon against patriotic idealism is simply its
unrelenting portrayal of the carnage and gore that the war occasions. Every battle scene
(roughly every other chapter) features brutal violence and bloody descriptions of death and
injury. Hospital scenes portray men with grisly wounds that go untreated because of
insufficient medical supplies. Paul carries the wounded Kat on his back to safety, only to
discover that Kat's head was hit by a piece of shrapnel while Paul was carrying him.…read more

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This book is intended neither as an accusation nor as confession but simply as an attempt
to give an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war ­ even those of it who
survived the shelling.
They were supposed to be the ones who would help us eighteen years old to make the
transition...into the future...But the first dead man that we saw shattered these
convictions. We were forced to recognise that our generation was more honourable than
theirs...…read more

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Patriotism meant...surrendering our individual personalities more completely than we
would have even thought possible.
Regeneration ­ Pat Barker (1991)
When Sassoon opposed the idea of closing him in Craiglockhart as it `'doesn't prove [him]
insane'' Graves reveals that he told the Board about his hallucinations ­ `'The corpses in
Piccadilly'' - Reality of war/ mental, spiritual, physical consequences of war.…read more

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One of the paradoxes of the war ­ one of the many ­ was that this most brutal of conflicts
should set up a relationship between officers and men that was...domestic.
Caring...maternal...The Great Adventure. They'd been mobilised into holes in the ground
so constricted they could hardly move...And the Great Adventure...consisted of
crouching in a dugout, waiting to be killed.
They didn't believe in shell-shock at all...it was just cowardice.…read more

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The Great Battle was a turning-point for me, and not merely because from then on I
thought it possible that we might actually lose the war. The incredible massing of forces
in the hour of destiny, to fight for a distant future, and the violence it so surprisingly,
stunningly unleashed, had taken me for the first time into the depths of something that
was more than a mere personal experience.…read more

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Strange Meeting ­ Susan Hill (1971)
No one knew, nobody understood.
There was not the natural camaraderie to be found among the officers as there was among
the men.
You cannot imagine how we crave for the small everyday things.
We are drones, not fighting men.
I have seen enough...The men sing `I want to go home' and they mean that they want to
see their families and they are sick of all this tiredness and wet and cold and din.…read more


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