• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysing 'Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme' and 'How many miles to Babylon?'

Extracts from this document...


Analysing 'Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme' and 'How many miles to Babylon?' 'For God and Ulster'. This is what the eight men in 'Observe the sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme', a play by Frank McGuinness want to fight for when they enlist to join the Great War. Jennifer Johnston is the author of the novel 'How many miles to Babylon?' It tells the story of the unlikely friendship of an Anglo Irish upper class boy and a catholic peasant and the episodes of war. Although both pieces of First World War literature are similar in some ways, they differ in others. Both pieces are set in the genre of social realism. They depict real images and experiences of War. Both the play and the novel use a framing technique. They begin in the 'present day', retreat to the past and conclude in the 'present day'. In 'How many miles to Babylon?' the main protagonist and narrator of the novel Alexander Moore tells the reader 'I have no future except what you can count on hours...' ...read more.


We see fear in the men. We see the petrified Moore reliving an experience of war when he cries 'I'm going to die. They're coming at me from all sides'. Pyper is described by Robin Glendinning as '...a sad wreck of a man...' This is a typical description of a man affected by war. Ironically, Pyper who enlisted to die was the sole survivor out of all his fellow comrades. War brings out conflicting emotions in each character. A prime example of this is that of Major Glendinning. On the one hand Johnston presents a rigid, strict military figure, which believes the army must have harsh rules and no exceptions can be made. This is evident when the major shows zero tolerance to Jerry when he went AWOL to search for his lost father. However, on the other hand, we see a compassionate side of Glendinning when he risks his life to end another man's suffering. There are many conflicting views of war presented by Johnston and Mc Guinness. Alicia and Bennett have romantic ideas of war. Bennett refers to the war as '...the show...' ...read more.


In my opinion Alex merely takes a paternal role when he cares for Jerry in this way. There are more references made to the homosexuality of Kenneth Pyper in '...sons of Ulster...' In the opening of 'Initiation' Pyper tells Craig to kiss his finger better when he cuts it when peeling an apple. This could be a sigh of Pyper louring Craig and the apple being a symbol of 'forbidden fruit'. At a production of '...sons of Ulster...' at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast the relationship is made more obvious to the audience when Pyper and Craig kiss on Boa Island. The relationship is made profoundly more explicit in Michael Attenborough's production of the play at the Hampstead Theatre Club in London in 1986 when Pyper and Craig make love on the island, signalled by the transition form stone to flesh and the surfacing of the water imagery. The relationship of Pyper and Craig and the femininity of Pyper are not in a vacuum. McIlwaine referred to Pyper as a 'milksop', to illustrate a feminine quality in him. Moore also says 'He blew his own breath into Pyper's mouth. It was a kiss'. Sectarianism is used more effectively and more abusively in '...sin of Ulster...' The men make humorous remarks when they talk about Patrick Pearse. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Miscellaneous essays

  1. Dulce est Decorum est and For the Fallen

    Their physical appearance isn't attractive either. All these examples depict the soldiers as tired, old and humiliated men who are unable to face life and are completely incompetent in war. Once again the dissimilarity between the two accounts is obvious.

  2. Sins of the Past

    Harrison welcomed them, "now that your here we can leave. A military helicopter is awaiting you outside to take you to Washington international. You will board the prototype Z600-X jet.

  1. How Does Jane Austen Present Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice? What is His ...

    The only similarity between the two is that they both show a darker side that is hidden until later in the novel. 'His appearance was greatly in his favour; he had all the best part of beauty, a fine countenance, a good figure and a pleasing address.'

  2. How are the differences between Rita and Frank emphasised in the opening of Educating ...

    Rita on the other hand will have taken her 11+ exams under severe peer pressure from her friends. They were not bothered by school, and if Rita wanted to remain friends with them she would have to fail the exam and move on to the Secondary Modern.

  1. conflicting perspectives joan of arc and julius caesar

    between Caesar the great prevailing Godlike leader, and the vulnerable human frailties of a man. This perspective of Caesar creates ambivalence within the text offering a multi-dimensional personality. Antony describes him as noble, brave hearted, honorable man, where as Cassius perceives him as a coward, weak and passive.

  2. English - Of Mice and Men

    Steinbeck shows that in the1920 women had no power, no rights, so they had to live in the world where all the men controlled their lives. She is weak because even though she has a husband she has to try and please other men to get the attention she wants,

  1. remembering babylon long essay

    The most significant turning point in Janet's life indicating her transformation is the incident with the bees. Here she experiences a moment of true epiphany, a realization of harmony with nature which is very aboriginal in character. For "it was not the bees themselves that claimed her", rather she has

  2. All my sons

    Also in this paragraph we can see that Keller isn't exactly the brightest apple in the bunch "what would someone want old dictionaries for?" "terrible concentration" also he isn't reading any other section of the newspaper only the sports section, showing that he isn't really interested in current affairs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work