AS English Literature, World War One wider reading quotes/notes with some possible themes.

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Nineteen Twenty One by Adam Thorpe
First published in 2001
AFTERMATH OF WAR: `a man goes to war, does something that spears him on a shaft of guilt.
Breaks him inwardly. He wrote the words INWARD WOUND very large across the middle of a sheet
of paper, and underlined the first word three times' (page 28)
AFTERMATH OF WAR: `His nightmare had been vague, filled with faces and limbs, all with designs on
him. The isolated position of the cottage, the thought of the deep wood and the large empty house
looming at the end of the overgrown drive, filled him with the kind of dread that overtook him long
ago when his mother read Grimm's Tales each night. He did not want her to read. Grimm's Tales at all.
His mother reasoned that if she did not read to him each night he would do no better than his father,
stuck to a shop.' (page 45 ­ 46)
MEN TEATED AS ANIMALS: `Tillie was a nurse. She must have handled men's bodies as you handle
joints of meat
PACIFISM: `Joseph had nurtured his pacifist views in the sanatorium with its maimed young fellows ­
the whole was rotten, through and through rotten ­ but of course he had to go out and fight; it was
the only way to scrub off the cain patch. To give himself a touch of dignity. He felt so ashamed and
hopeless that he was read to die, though he was still young enough to believe that he would not die,
not outright.' (page 11)
PATRIOTISM: `Khaki never let you forget it was on you: like starched moss, it was. Yet the flutter in
their stomachs was like love. Love for the way this process turned them away from matters of the
mind, from dead Greek, and bony scholarship.' (page 8)
PUBLIC VIEW/NAIVETY: "It was very clean, Ted's going. Didn't feel a thing. Just going over the top,
they were. Then he fell back into Walter's arms with a rose petal on his brow. Just here."
`She pointed to the middle of her forehead, `very peaceful,' she added, with her eyes still closed.'
A rose petal?' Joseph could not see this at all: it was almost vulgar.' (page 26)
WAR IS OVER: `War is over: `The men wandered about, like lost souls. Some of them were very
happy, thinking they might be sent home smack off, on the next train that came puffing in. Drink
appeared, strong stuff, as if from nowhere. The cattle truck never came.' More and more men just
wandered about or sat drinking. Songs and jokes. Cheering. No one had to pull any more triggers in
the history of the world.' (page 12)
YOUTH AND DEATH: `They all loved life and they were drowning. Raw wet mouths against hands.
Hard teeth. Down a lime pit, they were, in a place made to extinguish life, that little vulnerable flame.
They were dancing corpses, really.' (page 10)

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Regeneration by Pat Barker
First published in 1991
AFTERMATH OF WAR/FRONT LINE: `He knew he was shivering more with fear than cold, though it
was difficult to name the fear. The place, perhaps. The haunted faces, the stammers, the stumbling
walks, that indefinable looks of being `mental'. Craiglockhart frightened him more than the front had
ever done.' (page 63)
AFTERMATH OF WAR: Anderson (a surgeon before the war) cannot stand the sight of blood since
being at war.…read more

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First published in 2005
CHANGE IN MEN: Willie arrives back home to Dublin. He is first greeted by Maud who did not
recognise him, followed by Annie. Willies father washes him and rids him of nits. War changes men
not only mentally but also physically to the point where family cannot recognise their
sons/father/friends etc.…read more

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DEATH: "the roaring or Death and the smallest thing was a man" ­ Capitalisation shows the
importance and power death has.
DEATH: `They buried the five hundred men, five hundred vanished hearts.' (page 53)
DEATH: `lads that had never seen a moment of battle till that moment of their death.' (page 55)
DEATH: `Death had been smiling his contended smile' (page 171) - Capitalisation shows the
importance and power death has and personification of death.…read more

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MISSING HOME/LOVED ONES: "he wondered what spring would be looking like" "he thought how
beautiful Gretta was" "Weeks and weeks and weeks he had waited for a letter from Gretta" "he
hoped, she loved him" "hunkering down to read such letters" (page 37)
MISSING HOME/LOVED ONES/FUTURE: `He thought how young she was in truth and how young he
was and all their possible long days ahead, if they could only get their hands on them, and nothing
standing between.…read more

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WAR'S A DANCE: `drear paintings and the atrocious music of the front line' (page 146)
WAR'S A GAME: `traipsing about all over the football pitch'
WAR'S A GAME: `he hauled his German' ­ his responsibility or property, he won a prize in the game
that is war.
WOMEN: A girl pulls Willie up to dance and he sleeps with her (page 62 ­ 63).…read more

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Vera Brittan (TV episode)
BREAKING STEREOTYPE: Vera doesn't believe in an after life unlike the majority of people at the
(DISPLEASURE IN) HIGHER CLASS LIFE: £250 spent on a piano for Vera which she doesn't enjoy
playing. Vera appears displeased with singing/ playing the piano for others in her home, giving a
performance for them.
(DISPLEASURE IN) HIGHER CLASS LIFE: "stupid dances with fatuous young men" and "helping mum
with the so wing circle".…read more

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INCOMPETENCE OF THOSE IN CHARGE: Those who are important in the decision making are
arrogant that they will win and are determined to regardless of how many men they may lose. They
make terrible plans causing 60 000 men die, yet they go forward and order more attacks ­ inevitably
sending thousands of more men to their deaths.…read more

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PUBLIC NAIVETY: Concerns for their own petty difficulties, not understanding of what's going on at
PUBLIC NAIVETY/NO RESPECT: Mourning women wear a black dress ­ she looks `gorgeous' ­ not
PUBLIC VIEW ON WAR: "They're all the same" (said by the boy looking through a screen at
postcards) ­ symbolic, all men/wars are the same, nothing ever changes and nobody ever learns that
war doesn't benefit anybody. It only causes thousands of losses.…read more

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War Girls by Jessie Pope: "tackle jobs with energy and knack.…read more


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