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On The Black Hill.

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On The Black Hill. Look again at the section of the book which describes events in the twins' lives during the First World War. How does Chatwin present different attitudes to the War in these chapters? You should look particularly at his portrayal of social class and its effects, and at his use of different kinds of language, especially in the various speeches which are made. Go on to compare Chatwin's novel with the poetry of the War, especially poems by Brooke, Owen and Sassooon. How far do you think Chatwin was influenced by having read these poems? Chapter 19 starts to describe events in the twins' lives during the First World War. It states that there had been no real war since Waterloo, so really, at that time, there hadn't been a war for about a century and people really didn't know what to expect, they weren't experienced at all about wars. Amos clearly thinks that the war is bought about by England as he glared at Herefordshire when he found out that Germans had marched into Belgium and rejected England's ultimatum. There is a very definite divide in Amos' mind between England and Wales, he blamed everything onto England and wanted nothing to do with it. Mary, like other people, hopes that the war will soon be over. ' Besides, it'll probably be over by Christmas, ' Mary said. This is a kind of irony because we all know that it was a long war and many people died as a result of it. Mary wore her apron which was streaked with purple stains from pickling beetroot, this is giving an image of blood. This is like an omen; it has taken on another meaning of what might happen in the war, in that many people might die. Chatwin also brings in other details of surroundings to create atmosphere. ' The sky was deepening from crimson to gunmetal ' This again brings in the element of war. ...read more.


Major Gattie doesn't care about Tribunal at all, to him it was just like a daily routine. It seems that the upper class were not taking it as seriously as they should be. Tom was the first to be called up. He was not making himself very clear as he was not used to speaking to high rank people as the jury. The Colonel just made fun of him. When Lewis was called up, the Colonel deliberately didn't recognise them. Lewis was granted exemption with a gracious leave. But when Benjamin was called up, Major Gattie 'drawled', this is a sign of superiority. He seems to have no recognition that these men are all individuals. When Benjamin challenged the vicar about his faith, the vicar was very shocked. He wasn't prepared to be spoken back to in equality. In the end, as a kind of punishment, Benjamin was granted exemption. Chapter 24 described the celebrations of the war. The names of the 'gallant thirty-two' who had made the 'Supreme Sacrifice' was on the memorial. They are in quotation marks because that was the exact words engraved on the memorial. The words made the war seemed very pure. It's a long way from the death of the young men. It makes it sound so clean and bland. It was like brainwashing people of how the men actually died, in pain and in horror. It used those words so that it wouldn't' sound as bad, it covered the reality of what really happened. The people who died will never return. Lunch was graciously provided by the upper class to the returning heroes. There was a big argument to who was going to go first in the procession, who would take the more important position. There are all sorts of people claiming to have been important for the past four years during the war ( in order of 'importance' in the procession ) ...read more.


They were 'bent double, like old beggars under sacks', and 'knock-kneed, coughing like hags'. They are all physically and some mentally damaged. All their sensations have been destroyed. They've all given up hope. The second stanza described Owen's experience of failing to save a man's life from the chlorine gas : 'But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime' The man was drowning in the gas and was like in a trapped burning hell. Something was blocking Owen's vision and he was cut off from the man's death. The last two lines of the second stanza described the mental effect of war. 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.' He's changed from using past tense to present tense, it means that he always sees these terrible scenes replaying in his dream and these are all still haunting at him. Also there's the fact that he is filled with guilt that he couldn't' do anything to help him then, but now he still can't do anything to help him, not even in his dreams. He has been cursed with these dreams. The last stanza basically said that how can people say that it is right to die for your own country. It is a complete lie. This again reflects in the novel. The people in high rank was willing to say that phrase but in the end, the people lower than them has to do the actual thing, to fight and die for their country. What happened to what Colonel Bickerton said about the people who will fight in the war and come back and be the 'aristocracy' of the country? There was no glorious heroic return of the soldiers. They were lucky to even return, alive. They were all destroyed by the war. All Owen's poems, including ones I haven't mentioned like ' The Sentry' reflected the real reality of war, how the soldiers suffered, which are all big contrasts with Brooke's 'The Soldier'. ...read more.

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