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Consider the passage from page 24 ('England declared war') to page 26 ('visit his family'). What aspects of this passage are of interest, considering the novel as a whole?

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Introduction

Consider the passage from page 24 ('England declared war') to page 26 ('visit his family'). What aspects of this passage are of interest, considering the novel as a whole? In this passage, a number of key themes are introduced into the novel. Waugh highlights Guy's dislocation in society and his feelings of loneliness and exclusion. Waugh also satirises the upper class of society greatly throughout the novel and particularly in this passage. Other themes presented in the passage which are important to the novel as a whole are themes of selfishness and justice. In the passage, Waugh portrays as lonely and excluded from society at the time. From the statement, 'There was always someone going Guy's way towards his hotel, always a friendly arm. But his heart was lonely.', we can see that Guy is unable to find a female companion which adds to his loneliness and gives his life less purpose. Furthermore, he seeks comfort from the old soldiers but 'Guy found no sympathy among these old soldiers for his own hot indignation'. Guy seems to be insulted by the fact he is not able to lead the life of a typical soldier and feel a sense of inclusion. ...read more.

Middle

This is supported by Lord Kilbannock who remarks that 'It's a very exclusive war at present. Once you're in, there's every opportunity. Waugh is able to satirise the upper class by ridiculing the principles, actions and traditions of the Halberdiers. Waugh often patronises the Halberdiers with Guy thinking '...it seemed impossible that anything conducted by the Halberdiers could fall short of excellence'. However, this statement is ironic as, in the same chapter, Guy and half a dozen of the Halberdiers receive the wrong order, culminating in them missing the train to their new destination, Kut-al-Imara House. This shows that the Halberdiers give the appearance of a well organised force, but in reality, they are not an efficient fighting force. Waugh also satirises the upper class through the use of double-barreled names. In the passage, the name 'Box-Bender' is mentioned. Throughout the novel, Waugh uses double-barrelled names for numerous characters, such as 'Ritchie-Hook, Sarum-Smith' and a triple-barrelled name for 'Grace-Groundling-Marchpole'. In their endeavour to remain exclusive, they have embellished their names to the extent of comical pomposity. However, the name 'Crouchback' serves only to exclude Guy yet further, giving a pathetic image of a poor, old man bent over with a sore back. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Managements and servants had settled down to the simple policy of doing less than they had done before, for rather more money.' They are exploiting their fellow countrymen as they know that comfortable accommodation is at a premium. The moral issues involving Apthorpe's selfish and ruthless attitude to promotion relate to the theme of justice in the novel. During the passage, justice is considered briefly by the old soldiers. Box-Bender's view is that 'You'd have a general strike and the whole country in collapse if you set up to be just'. This reinforces the moral issue that a selfish, immoral man finds it easier to progress in our society, illustrated by men in authority such as the Brigade Major and Ritchie-Hook. Guy takes the Brigade Major's advice and takes a bottle of whisky to Apthorpe in hospital as an act of kindness, but this results in the death of Apthorpe for which he is forced to take full responsibility. Neither the Brigade Major nor Ritchie-Hook give him any support. This event shows that army life encourages a ruthless, selfish attitude as a lack of justice within the army ranks will ensure this type of character succeeds. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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