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Examine how typical in both style and treatment of subject matter these writings are of literature about The First World War.

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Introduction

Examine how typical in both style and treatment of subject matter these writings are of literature about The First World War. There are many examples of letters written during The First World War, from soldiers to loved ones, and from families to their own relatives fighting in the war. However, there seems to be a general difference in the style and content of letters sent by soldiers who had already been to the front line and seen fighting, and soldiers who were yet to experience real fighting in battles. In his letter, Extract D, Leighton begins to outline what he has been doing since he woke up that morning, casually mentioning how he came upon a dead German soldier. This structure throws the reader off the gravity of the incident, which has affected Leighton because he speaks passionately about the waste of human life for 'nothing more tangible than Honour or their Country's Glory or another's Lust [for] Power'. Leighton may have used this technique of writing to shield the recipient of the letter from the gross detail of the experience, and its effect on his mentality. ...read more.

Middle

Owen's writing is typical of soldiers who have been to and fought in the front line trenches in that he talks at length about daily activities such as raids and how long he spent in a dug out, but only briefly mentions the deaths of soldiers around him, not displaying any emotion or sorrow for his fellow man. This style is the opposite to that of Leighton, who spends most of his letter in Extract D talking about the dead soldiers and how unjust it is for them to have died for another mans greed for power. Owen can be compared to John Hilliard, the companion of David Barton in 'Strange Meeting'. This can be said because both Hilliard and Owen had fought in the front line before and knew that the way to deal with the unsightly horrors of the continuous bombardment was to detach oneself from others so that the death of a fellow soldier would not be such an unbearable loss. Hilliard attempts to block Barton's friendly advances by talking little with him and not thinking about him, so that in the event that something should happen to Barton, he would not feel so devastated. ...read more.

Conclusion

In her letter, war is portrayed as an ironic mixed blessing, heartbreaking in that it causes death of those we love most, but oddly enough, creating an opportunity for these heartbroken women to fulfil their marriage wish and feel good that they are taking care of someone who would otherwise lead a joyless life. Her letter is atypical in the sense that it does not follow the normal structure of a letter sent to a soldier at war. She shows no interest in his well-being, and she does not comment on how things are at home. This is odd as most letters sent from home to soldiers at this point in the war express concern for their welfare and often reassure soldiers that everyone at home is well. However, Brittain's letter begins with 'What so you think of this for an 'agony' in the 'Times'?' and ends with 'Quite an idea isn't it', which makes it hard to tell from the letter alone that it is being sent from a woman to her fianc� in the war. The letter is a light-hearted one, rather uncharacteristic of what a soldier would expect from their loved one at home for whom they are fighting. Emile Khan ...read more.

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