• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Birdsong and All Quiet on the Western Front.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Book Review Birdsong and All Quiet on the Western Front "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulks and "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque, are two books set during World War I. They each illustrate the traumas and horrors of war during that period of time. These two novels demonstrate how the burden of war irrevocably altered the lives of the characters. The plot of "Bird Song" is complex. It is written in the third person and is set in France, during the early nineteen hundreds. The book describes a love affair between the main character Stephen Wraysford, an overseas textiles correspondent and Isabelle Azaire, the wife of a factory owner. They decide to elope together and Isabelle becomes pregnant with Stephen's child. However, Isabelle becomes afraid that Stephen will not accept their child and decides to return home without revealing her pregnancy to him. Several years after Isabelle's sudden departure, Stephen is a member of the British Army which is stationed in France. During his time in France, he unexpectedly meets Isabelle and her sister Jeanne. To his disappointment, he discovers that Isabelle had fallen in love with a Prussian officer. However, meetings between Jeanne and Stephen become more frequent and they too fall in love. Sadly, Isabelle dies from an infection and sends her child, Francoise, to live with Jeanne. Stephen then realises that this child was the result of his affair with Isabelle. ...read more.

Middle

Many of them did not even die in honour, they died from infections, or trench mortar shells; but only a small percentage died with pride, involved in the action, fighting on "no man's land." Both books were interesting to read due to the many implications of war. The battle scenes were detailed yet realistic, and all the way through the books, friendship was their main priority. According to B�umer, it was the voice of his companions that provided him with hope and dedication; "Suddenly a surprising warmth comes over me. Those voices mean more than my life, more than mothering and fear, they are the strongest and most protective thing that there is: they are the voices of my pals." I enjoyed reading the account of Paul B�umer because he often explained what he felt inside and how he felt about life in a very philosophical way. He wouldn't go straight to the point because often there was not a very definite answer to all his queries about life and death; instead he explored his deep feelings to find out for himself what was going on inside and all around him. The characters were interesting and all very unique in their own ways; all of them had a different view on each topic and were not afraid to express themselves. Most of the time, they each debate about general knowledge and put forward their opinions. ...read more.

Conclusion

Stephen visits Isabelle for the final time; "He stood up and left the room without speaking...She covered her face with her hands." It is unnecessary for the author to explore how Isabelle presently feels as it is obvious and will spoil the effect it has on the reader. Stephen's two years silence after the war suggests that what he had witnessed over the past four years was unimaginable; and thus stunned him into silence until he had recovered from the affect. Unlike the ending in "all quiet on the western front", this gives a slight insight to the views of war. The ending to"Birdsong" was effective as it implied an end to the saga involving Stephen, Isabelle, Jeanne and Francoise and formed the start to a new era in which the daughter of Francoise gives birth. These books will appeal to any one who is interested in the details of war, life during the war, and the impact it had on innocent people afterwards. Both novels are written very well and they are easy to follow. The complex plot of "Birdsong" made you want to read on constantly, yet the simple plot of "all quiet on the western front" was interesting because it displayed personal emotions and views of the war. Both books give an insight into the tragedies of war. Risha Kumar Books reviewed: 1. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks ( Vintage, 1994) 2. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque ( Vintage, 1996) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    HORSES page one hundred seventy-seven Disobeying orders, Robert releases the horses. Is he trying to save the horses for them or himself? MULES page one hundred seventy-seven He releases the mules along with the horses. HORSES page one hundred seventy-eight The horses are frightened and begin running back into the burning barn.

  2. Compare the Presentation of Attitudes towards the War in 'Regeneration' and 'All Quiet on ...

    With a traditional Victorian education and a strong belief in honour, Rivers feels bound to his duty to heal men so they may return to war. His deep sympathy for the suffering of his patients causes him to rethink previously solid beliefs.

  1. Comparing the two novels, The Wars by Timothy Findley and All Quiet on the ...

    At the beginning of the war, it is seen that the men show obvious emotion when seeing their friends and fellow soldiers die around them. As the war continues on, the soldiers fighting in the trenches become desensitized to the killing and suffering going on around them.

  2. "All Quiet on the Western Front".

    Roman when he stood in battle in a foreign land:...Sweet and fitting it is to die for the Fatherland...Now our country calls. The Fatherland needs leaders. Personal ambition must be thrown aside in the one great sacrifice for our country.

  1. How Does Erich Maria Remarque Portray the Horror and Futility of war in All ...

    This is one of the most horrific accounts in the book and paints a vivid picture of the horror of war. "The belly of one is ripped open, the guts trail out." Remarque shows horror by first stating just numbers then going on to mention the suffering and death of the horses and then finally men.

  2. How the character of Stephen is portrayed by Faulks in Birdsong.

    'Stephen washed perfunctorily' backs up this observation of Stephen. When empting his pockets before leaving his room he takes out a knife, as described by Faulks as; 'a knife with a scrupulously sharpened blade.' The description of the blade, as a reader makes me wonder in the 'sharpened blade' was sharpened already, as protection on his journey or whether something serious may happen in his stay at the Azaires.

  1. "Poems and stories; official accounts. Which of these give a more accurate picture of ...

    trenches in world war one, as it gives a rare insight to what the trenches were like and to the effects they had on the soldiers from a female. In the poem she describes the trenches as muddy, this is in agreement with other sources I have studied, such as photographs and stories I have studied in this case study.

  2. All Quiet on the Western Front' is a Powerful Anti-War Novel. Identify Some ...

    Then I take a look at myself. My trousers are bloody and my arm, too.' The conditions of the war were awful. There was hardly any food and bread was the main diet: 'We pull our belts tighter and chew every mouthful three times as long.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work