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Explore the way that Whelan in The Accrington Pals and Manning in her Privates We present the relationships between soldiers and civilians during WW1

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Introduction

Peter Whelan in The Accrington Pals and Frederick Manning in Her Privates We both present two very different sides to the relationships between the soldiers and civilians of WWI, and the sympathy or hostility directed at the soldiers. Settings also change greatly between the two stories. Where one is set largely within the formerly quiet town of Accrington, the other takes place in the war-torn land of France. In terms of cast, The Accrington Pals features those unable to fight living safe untouched by the physical effects of the war, though not safe from the mental. Her Privates We however, features an assorted cast of people who constantly live with the all too real dangers of the war. Therefore, it is to be expected that the answer to the question for these two would contrast. The beginning to The Accrington Pals lets the readers know immediately how May and Tom feel about his recruitment, as well as where the general mood of the town seems to lie. Tom is very caught up in the moment as May describes with 'that's a world you love isn't it' when Tom says manoeuvres. We also learn at the same time that there has been a celebration to see the men off, which points to where the town's feelings lie. ...read more.

Middle

However, through his eyes we also see the civilians who are sympathetic to the soldiers. That Bourne comes into these encounters through his language skills hints that language barriers creates obstacles for the others. For example, a misunderstanding between Corporal Greenstreet and a Frenchwoman occurs due to him using the wrong word, 'Ah, oui, compris, madame. Glad to be back, compris? Cushy avec mademoiselle. The expression on the face of the menagere passed very rapidly from astonishment to indignation.' On the other hand, Bourne manages to find a good meal and conversation with an old man when the two are able to converse in the same language. There is a sense of optimism within The Accrington Pals that is absent from Her Privates We. However, this optimism; which is prevalent throughout the beginning of the play, begins to wane as the play progresses, culminating in a disparity that begins to form between the soldiers and the civilians. This disparity exists from the start in Her Privates We and can be seen in events such as the suspicion of the French when the soldiers camp at their town. However, a gulf between the people in the trenches and those at home is also seen, as mentioned in the tale of the fight between Madely and the miner. ...read more.

Conclusion

It not only increased the tension between soldiers and civilians, but began to create division at home too. In conclusion, what the state of soldier-civilians relations becomes portrayed as both stories is unequal and tense. A lack of communication between the two sides means that the soldiers can never express how their reality is. Meanwhile, censorship and propaganda by the government like that seen in The Accrington Pals doesn't civilians a chance to understand and empathise. Seeing this apparently uncaring attitude and behaviour such as the miner's causes soldiers to take an extremely bitter and pessimistic look at civilian life. This and the reality of the war binds then together in a sense of comradeship that can also be noticed within their counterparts in The Accrington Pals. For instant, there is the relationship between Bourne and Martlow. Martlow is young; called 'boy' by Bourne, who seems to take a passive 'older brother' role with him. Rivers' speech at the end highlights this camaraderie, a feeling that Manning captures perfectly through Bourne's wonderings. 'In fact, the relation in which he stood to this unknown man was in some ways closer and more direct than that in which he stood to the girl beside him. She knew nothing of their subterranean, furtive, twilight life, the limbo through which, with all their obliterated humanity, they moved as so many unhouseled ghosts, or the aching hunger in those hands that reached, groping tentatively out of their emptiness, to seek some hope or stay.' ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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