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War And Stuff - An alternative approach to war literature

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Introduction

War And Stuff - Robert Cowlin An alternative approach to war literature Introduction This mini-guide thing has one purpose: to help you pass the demonic war synoptic paper in June. It doesn't give promised A grades and it is by no means entirely accurate - nor is it likely to be as good as any teacher authored handouts, but it should prove useful, especially in helping with the historical context of war literature. I'm no literature aficionado, and I do often denounce this ridiculous concept of 'reading around your subject', but I decided to make this guide while collecting my own materials for this rather daunting paper. I must, however, make the disclaimer that I am in no respect an expert of anything, so don't take my word as gospel, but use these pages in any way you wish - even if they are burned for energy when the sun goes out... I digress, now for the serious stuff. The aim for this exam Straight from the horse's (AQA's) mouth, their specification anyway is the important notice that this exam centres on WW1, and literature in the 1900s based on this conflict. In this 3-hour paper there will be unseen (unless your ridiculously prepared) literature, in the form of poetry, monologues, non-fiction and fiction alike. The exam will test your ability to interpret these texts without the assistance of revision guides or the safety of pre-annotated books. ...read more.

Middle

It features frequently in literature, as many resented it. Home front - This was the term used to refer to Britain at war-time. British shores were seen as a front, as the war touched, even on the lives of those who stayed at home (including women and families). Literary terms: Jingoism - This refers to the constant motif of patriotism and pro-war messages within literature, particularly pieces that compare war to games. Consonance - Common in anti-war writings, the use of many 'harsh' consonants is used for effect. Eg: "While you are knitting socks to send your son/ His face is trodden deeper in the mud" (Sassoon's 'Glory of Women'). Metre - The use of regular structure in lines, including syllabic structures that ensure regular reading rhythm (well shown by Owen's poems). Satire - This is a device used to mock or parody other writing or figures (often people) through writings of a similar form. Eg: Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est', is a direct denouncement of Jesse Pope's 'Who's for the Game?' Rhythm/Rhyme - How the poem is read, in terms of a rhyme scheme or syllabic relation between lines. Regularity and irregularity of forms in this sense can reveal the message of a poem often. Tone - On a basic level, war literature centres around the pro or anti-war view, but the author's tone is often distinguishable in relation to their experience, or lack of, in war. ...read more.

Conclusion

This causes the separation between pre-Somme and post-Somme attitudes, and therefore literature. Owen's: Dulce et Decorum est, epitomises the after-Somme views of many people, especially those directly involved in the war. It is a parody of Pope's ignorant view of war. In terms of literature, the changing view is shown very directly by Vera Brittain, whose own jingoistic view changed when she lost her love and brother in the war. She wrote 'Testament of Youth' after her views changed which conveys the horrors of war very poignantly. Including context in exam answers I think there is need for caution when including contextual information based on what I have written above. By all means research the themes more deeply, as I have provided only a basic outline of certain prominent themes in literature. It may also be worth your while to research biographies of writers such as Wilfred Owen, which would give some context to their writings, which will certainly help if their texts are among the unseen attachments in the exam. It is very useful to refer to your historical knowledge in answers, for example: if you are asked to contrast authors views of trench life in pieces such as 'Blackadder goes forth' and 'Suicide in the trenches', it is always going to help to compare both with the factual, retrospective view of war. In some way, I am certain what I have written is going to prove useful, somewhere or somehow... I hope it helps, and good luck. ...read more.

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