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Faulks presents us with a moving series of letters home on the night before the first day of the Somme. Compare these to Roland Brittain's real letters to Vera. Does the fact that Birdsong's letters are fictional make them any less moving or powerful?

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Introduction

It is the natural assumption that fictional work is generally more powerful in presenting emotions and events than real work, as the writer of fiction is able to exercise an element of 'poetic license' to emphasise certain points. Imagination is far more flexible and easier to mould than reality, so it is therefore not unreasonable to assume that the fictional letters are more moving and powerful than the real ones. That said, it is also true that when reading about real events happening to real people, the impact on the reader is greater than a few exaggerated points. The letters in Birdsong and those between Roland Brittain and Vera are all roughly centred around the same points; they are all just written differently. The majority of the letters in Birdsong and the letters from Roland to Vera all feature some information of the attack; however the way in which they're presented couldn't be more different. The letters in Birdsong describe their attack as "absolutely thumbs up", "unlikely that [...] the enemy will survive (their) ...read more.

Middle

The couple of hours between "lunch time" to "4p.m." and then "after tea" plays a huge part in making the overall tone of the letters far more moving than the letters in Birdsong. Having those few hours between each entry creates a certain amount of tension as the reader is now able to imagine just what is going on thanks to Roland's descriptive presentation of the conditions he's in. Readers expect a sense of chaos in war and Birdsong's letters don't seem to have that as much as Roland's as they start and end according to how the men wanted them to. The reader is able to understand that Roland wasn't able to control the situation he is in and this lack of control move the reader. He ends the first section of his letter with, "the firing has stopped now & it is lunch time". The juxtaposition of war/firing guns and rest/lunch seems to have more of an effect on the reader than if it were to end with him saying it was lunch time. ...read more.

Conclusion

He is also able to create a background for his characters which allows the readers to identify with them. With real life, the reader is able to see just how chaotic and dangerous war is. There is no place for smoke screening in real life as there is too much going on. With real letters, the reader can understand what the soldiers are going through and what it's like for them. Having war integrate itself into their daily routines is something most people can't begin to imagine and this is what makes the real letters powerful. Ultimately, real and fictional letters have the potential to be as powerful and moving as the each other, and this has been proven by the letters written in Birdsong and the letters from Roland Brittain to Vera, it all depends on how they are written. ?? ?? ?? ?? Faulks presents us with a moving series of letters home on the night before the first day of the Somme. Compare these to Roland Brittain's real letters to Vera. Does the fact that Birdsong's letters are fictional make them any less moving or powerful? ...read more.

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