Explore the Ways Sebastian Faulks Presents the Psychological Effects in 'Birdsong'.

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Explore How Faulks Presents the Psychological Effects of War in ‘Birdsong’ Throughout ‘Birdsong’ Sebastian Faulks presents the psychological effects through themes, characters and setting. The persistence of psychological trauma haunts characters throughout the novel and presents readers with a sense of true horror through the physical and mental conditions Faulks creates for his characters. This essay will be examining the way the author does this through his exploration of language, characters and techniques.                 Men had to leave their homes; family, wives and women were left behind when going off to war. Once leaving their women and their femininity behind, the men become deprived of sexual encounters and experiences, forgetting how to treat women. Stephen describes a woman as ‘a soft creature’ to create emphasis that he only sees women just to either scorn or pity them. This implies because of the psychological effects of sexual deprivation, Stephen doesn’t know how to perceive human beings because he’s seen many horrendous things during the war, thus making things unidentifiable for him; leaving the readers to have a sense of sympathy for him.  The reader witnesses Stephen’s tainted perception when approaching the prostitute, Stephen’s mind ‘emptied’ and ‘his tenderness was replaced by revulsion’. The structure in which the author portrays this is ambiguous because it opens the question whether he was disgusted by the prostitute
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or his own actions since he was ‘losing control’ and perceiving the ‘body was no was no more than human matter’. Now that Stephen is close to a woman after such a long time, it reveals an animalistic and dehumanising aspect to his personality that the war has inflicted on him which neither he nor the readers have experienced. In Part 2, after Weir encounters his failed sexual experience with a prostitute, he violently ‘hissed’ explaining he wanted ‘to leave’. Faulks creates the deliberate ambiguity to allow the readers to infer what might happen, which leave us with ambiguous and ...

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