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'The Juxtaposition of the Normal and the Abominable' How do the Authors illustrate this description of World War One? Pay Particular attention to the Details they Highlight and the Methods and Language they Used to do so?

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Introduction

'The Juxtaposition of the Normal and the Abominable' How do the Authors illustrate this description of World War One? Pay Particular attention to the Details they Highlight and the Methods and Language they Used to do so? 'In the trenches behind the lines, men and women struggled to hold on or recreate fragments of an ordinary life - a letter from home, a pot of jam, a kiss - to remind them of their own humanity'... Today I saw pictures of Britain's brave soldiers leave for war in Iraq. As a nation we are able to watch a war unfold before us in a way never experienced before. The constant pictures of the death, destruction and disgraceful nature of war help people to see the atrocities of war. In many wars of the past the horrors of war have not been available to the public due to censorship and less communication; I draw a contrast to the British people in World War One who also watched their soldiers leave in glory to fight a war with a dream of seeing the world and the glory of war, armed with little more than the old lie 'Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori'. Whilst with such vivid images of 'our boys' it is hard for us to forget about the men who are fighting, in World War One so many soldiers left with aspirations to see the world and got as far as France - their destiny to die in a muddy field. The Iraqi people today are experiencing a new and dangerous life as their nation is gripped with war. One thing often forgotten about as we watch on BBC News24 is that people are still living in Baghdad and life goes on for Iraqi people. Ben Macintyre in 'A Foreign Field' depicts how the lives of the peoples of France continued as their nation, like Iraq, was ravaged by war: Ben Macintyre cleverly highlights the way that, whilst the war brought such horror to the people of Villeret, life still continued and there was some form of normality. ...read more.

Middle

a quote, someone else's words, which encapsulate the feelings which he could have tried to convey had this quote not have had such dramatic and poetic strength. In the poem 'Futility' Wilfred Owen draws upon the same juxtaposition of the normal and the abominable. The poem is about a soldier who is in fact dead - an atrocity; and how his comrades would still talk about how he always slept a lot and if anything would wake him 'the kind old sun will know'. The other soldiers continue as if he is alive and think, in despair or desperation, that perhaps the sun will still wake as the last time 'gently its touch awoke him'. This idea is the juxtaposition of the normal such as having a friend who was always awoken by the sun alongside the absolute desperation in dealing with the fact that their friend is in fact dead. The poem also draws upon the most natural of juxtapositions that was witnessed in World War One and was noted in both books - the inevitable turn of autumn to winter, winter to spring and so forth. The particularly apt change was that from winter to spring, spring being a season of new life and rebirth. When faced with a war on your doorstep the spring would smell less sweet. However it seems that the world goes on, war or no war. We see it today and in 'A Foreign Field'. Lieutenant Rosenhainer noted 'We felt spring's arrival everywhere. With a magical hand it had produced the most luscious green, violets and spring flowers were already in bloom.' In Futility Owen talks of how the sun 'wakes the seeds'. The natural juxtaposition of war and suffering alongside spring is clearly defined in the poem 'Spring Offensive' also by Wilfred Owen. At the moment relating to 'the May breeze', 'wasps and midge' or 'buttercups' is not difficult. ...read more.

Conclusion

The war for the soldiers in 'Exposure' was as normal after months of war as it became to the people of Villeret. And perhaps the soldiers in Spring Offensive, taking a few moments to have some normality and take in the midges and wasps, were in fact doing the same as the people of Villeret did throughout 'A Foreign Field'. It was their attempt to keep normality in the face of what seems the inevitable in war. Whilst it is more immediately noticeable for the men in the poetry - "Knowing that their feet had come to the end of the world" - hidden behind so much defiance of Karl Evers and the beauty of a couple's love in the face of war, the village of Villeret was in fact another victim to the horror of war. In defiance of Evers the villagers kept the British soldiers and in defiance of Karl Evers, to keep normality, Jeanne Dessin kept Flirt; this juxtaposition of some kind of normality in the face of the war was similar to the normality found by soldiers in the arrival of spring - little more than clutching at straws. The people of Villeret defied Evers to the last and it was this defiance that led in fact to the destruction of the village. Evers hated Villeret's defiance and made a point of desecrating the village. Just like the soldiers putting off death for five minutes to take in the beauty of spring, the villagers constant defiance of Evers was merely biding their time before the inevitable destruction of war won. Most of the villagers never returned to the village and therefore the village, like soldiers in trenches, died. An example and warning of war can be found in the daughter of Robert and Claire Digby, Helene: was her life ever normal? After all 'before she was an hour old the battlefield child sparked conflict.' Did the child born out of a so-called normality amongst death and destruction ever really know normality? 'Sometimes she cried'... (epilogue) Sam Pollard ...read more.

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