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The two novels I am going to compare are 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis De Bernieres and 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks. In this comparison I am going to concentrate on how each author presents the theme of love in the midst of war.

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Introduction

'CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN' BY LOUIS DE BERNIļæ½RES AND 'BIRDSONG' BY SEBASTIAN FAULKS: AN EXAMINATION OF THE THEMES OF LOVE IN THE MIDST OF WAR. The two novels I am going to compare are 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' by Louis De Bernieres and 'Birdsong' by Sebastian Faulks. In this comparison I am going to concentrate on how each author presents the theme of love in the midst of war. 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' is a novel about the impact of World War Two on Greece as a country and relationships that survive, begin or fade away as it is tested to the extremity of war. The relationship between Pelagia and Corelli, begin as the circumstances of war bring them together in a situation where they should despise each other. If it was not for these circumstances, they would never have met and this love affair would not have developed into a true, long lasting love between two people from countries that are at war against each other. 'Birdsong' in comparison, begins four years before World War One. The novel is divided into sections: before, during and after the war, and focuses around the relationship that Stephen and Isabelle share and the repercussions and consequences of this sexually explicit affair. Unlike Pelagia and Corelli's relationship, war separates Stephen and Isabelle before it even begins, therefore their love does not last a lifetime, as a true love should. Their relationship is more about the physical act of love rather than the emotional aspect, which Pelagia and Corelli depict. ...read more.

Middle

The contrast of love and war arises, as the language used by De Bernieres is very graphic and very gory in the decriptions we get of certain deaths, which is where 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' and Birdsong' are quite similar. He presents us with the people behind the numbers, the humans with feelings, emotions and desires. The author's style when depicting the death of Carlo and the appearance of a corpse is quite exaggeratedly violent: "Carlo's back as ragged and appalling holes burst through from inside his body, releasing shreds of tattered flesh and crimson gouts of blood." And "The pieces of skull looked grey and were coated in membrane and thick blood. Some of the fluid was right red and some of it was crimson. He was still alive. " Here De Bernieres uses impacting images aided by the slightly onomatopoeic sounds of words to add to the effect of repulsion to the description, "thick blood"," tattered flesh" and " gouts of blood." This contrasts with the earlier love scene's between Pelagia and Corelli quite drastically, which was portrayed as humorous and innocent. Faulks takes a different approach to De Bernieres in many ways. First of all there is the idea of romancticsm which is present for the majority of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', but in 'Birdsong' this does not entend to the scenes of horror on the battlefield. Stephen experiences love and loss before the war begins and this colours his view of the world and his place in it throughout. Faulks uses the highly explicit love affair between Stephen and Isabelle, at the beginning of the novel in order to provide a ...read more.

Conclusion

There was a continuous awareness that any moment could bring death." Faulks notes that the reason that shellfire made the soldiers so nervous was because they had seen the damage they were capable of causing, he uses overpowering imagery to demonstrate the horror and wastefulness of war. "A direct hit would obliterate all visible evidence that a man ever existed: a lesser one would rip him to pieces." Faulks's writing reflects a desire to paint the details of love and war as graphically and realistically as possible. The nature and length of war led people to question many things; the motives of Generals and Politians, this is reflected in both'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' through characters of Mussolini and Metaxas as well as in 'Birdsong,' The main difference between 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' and 'Birdsong' is that 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' has the love story running throughout, it is humorous and romantic, but also serious and gruesome in parts, especially when it concerns death of soldiers. 'Birdsong on the other hand is more objectively written and does not let love get in the way of war, by being sectioned away from the war parts of the novel. Both novels portray war as being futile and senseless and putting the lives of millions of brave men and innocnent people in risk, in essence, for the sake of it. The consequences of this are brought about very clearly in the texts by showing death in a crude and violent way, which emphasises how fragile humans are. KULJEET SHOKER 13MH 1 ...read more.

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