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To what extent do the writers show that the British public knew little of the true extent of war?

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Introduction

To what extent do the writers show that the British public knew little of the true extent of war? The extract from a 'Strange Meeting' clearly shows the very limited knowledge that the British public where exposed to about the true horrors of the First World War. When compared to the letter Vera to Roland from 'Letters from a Lost Generation' her writing suggests that the British public were more aware of the reality of war, however there was still not a great understanding about what the soldiers' where experiencing emotionally. 'Strange Meeting' is a modern novel written in past tense, which adds the value of hindsight to its content and can convey that looking back, the majority of the British public where in fact almost oblivious to what was happening to those fighting in the war. The letter, however, is from a women, at home, writing to a soldier who is at war. It is therefore personal and a genuine example of the British public. The novel is also written in third person and the soldier's name is not mentioned, which sets a detached and distant tone, representative of the isolated feeling that dominates the extract. ...read more.

Middle

She says that "any number of weary apprehensive nights & days is not too high a price for the happenings that have led to my being able to feel the anxiety I do..." Therefore, Vera knows that worrying is only a small effect of war and it is a better one to pay for the sake of the soldiers' lives. The "..." is also shows her pausing for thought of this complex idea and the idea of losing someone so close to her, again making emotion the essence of the letter. Vera understands that "thin grows the barrier between life and death in those trenches" whereas the first implication of the public even acknowledging the soldiers in the trenches is the "ladies who came on Wednesdays to knit, grey and green socks and mittens and helmets, for the coming winter at the front". It reveals that the British public considered trivial pastimes like knitting their contribution to the war when others where sacrificing their lives. The contrast between the unknowing British public and the man is suggested through the symbolism, "shadows were long and black, against the brightness of the sun". ...read more.

Conclusion

Even though he does "hated" being at home, he did not want to be back at war either. He does not want to sleep because his memories haunt him, "he did not want to go to sleep". In conclusion, 'Strange Meeting' conveys that the British public knew little of the true extent of war and that the soldiers who returned from it were permanently changed as a result of it. They were not the same people, which made them feel strange to be home. They became bitter towards those surrounding them who were able to carry on as normal and did not address the subject of war because they knew nothing about it. The letter from Vera to Roland in 'Letters from a Lost Generation' conveys that the British public had more knowledge of the threat of war than the novel. Vera addresses the risks and dangers of war and goes into detail about the threats facing soldiers. The letter suggests that even when Vera was more aware of the true extent of war, it was still hard to imagine and that she was affected by it differently to soldiers. To her, war evoked worry for the life of her loved one fighting but this is the limit of her understanding of the true nature of war. ?? ?? ?? ?? WW1 Literature ...read more.

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