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Compare the representation of the experience of war and attitudes towards it in Stephen Cranes Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind(TM) and Ronald Blythe(TM)s A Suffolk farmhand at Gallipoli June 19

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Introduction

Compare the representation of the experience of war and attitudes towards it in Stephen Crane's 'Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind' and Ronald Blythe's 'A Suffolk farmhand at Gallipoli June 1915'. To compare is to examine two articles and discover similarities and differences between them. Extract A is a pre-twentieth century poem and extract B is an account about, but written several years after, the First World War. Both the extracts are written by men. Stephen Crane, the writer of extract A, did not fight in any war because he was turned down due to ill health. However he became a war correspondent so did witness battles and gain some knowledge and experience of war. Ronald Blythe, is not the writer of extract B, he was the interviewer so the account has little input directly from him. This essay will examine the similarities and differences between their attitudes and experiences which are presented in the title, structure, themes, voice and language. Whilst the title of extract A, 'Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind', provides a reasonable amount of information about Crane's attitude to war, the title of extract B does not. 'A Suffolk farmhand at Gallipoli June 1915' is informative about the context of the extract but it is matter-of-fact and expresses little of the Blythe's attitude. The archaic title of 'Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind' creates a sense of ambiguity for the reader as it seems odd to describe the horror of war as 'kind'. ...read more.

Middle

However, this could be Crane's purpose because it emphasises the unpleasantness of the war. Extract B is a piece of prose which gives an informative, personal account of the Gallipoli campaign. The extract begins with a paragraph which informs the reader of the context with reference to the number of casualties and gives the impression that it is a historical document. The continuous prose has no interruption from the writer and contains minute details such as the numerous names, 'James Sears...Ernie Taylor...Albert Paternoster' and the recollection of the names of trenches, 'Hill 13'. This suggests the man can recall these events with very little prompting which implies that it is always at the forefront of his mind. Blythe is again making the point that an experience like the war is one that is never forgotten. The two extracts have similar themes which create a similarly negative attitude towards the war. However, it is difficult to comment on the attitude of Blythe because the main extract is an account from another man, not the writer, so it is his views that the reader is getting. In any case both extract A and B include themes on the extent of death and the wastefulness of lives in war. In 'Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind', Crane repeatedly describes the soldiers as 'born to drill and die' and depicts a field 'where a thousand corpses lie'. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, before the end of the first paragraph there is the realisation that the reality of war is anything but exciting. As the extract progresses the voice becomes numb, he talks of the dead bodies in an unsympathetic way, describing how they 'pushed them into the sides' but 'bits of them kept...sticking out' and he uses taboo language such as 'shitting' to convey the unpleasantness. This shows how the experience of war caused men to become detached merely so they could cope with the horrors. Despite it being difficult to judge Blythe's attitude in his extract because it is not his words, the fact that he decided to include this particular account in his book does loosely suggest that he agrees with the representation and attitudes towards war. This therefore makes the comparison possible. Crane and Blythe do not share or express exactly the same attitudes and experiences but they both convey a similarly negative attitude to war. They both seem to share the opinion that it is unnecessarily wasteful of human life and the experience of it is horrific and tragic. However, extract A is more concerned with irony and highlighting to the reader that war is not kind, despite its title. On the other hand, extract B is conveying the horrors of war in a realistic and matter-of-fact form. Whilst extract A is directed at the lover, daughter and mother and seems to be deliberately mocking them, extract B is more concerned with informing the reader of the facts. ...read more.

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