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Compare And Contrast Sherriff's And Faulk's Presentation Of The Impact Of War On Those Who Fought In World War One. How Far Would You Agree With The View That Sherriff's Choices Of Setting And Narrow Time Scale Limit

1301 words - 6 pages

How does Faulks' presentation of the first day of the Battle of the Somme further your understanding of World War One?

Faulks' presentation of the first day of the Battle of the Somme is portrayed brutally and horrifically to convey the fact that it was the worst battle in World War One with a total of approximately 58,000 casualties. As Faulks is a modern writer he is able to see the aftermath of war, the psychological effect on the men who survived, the total loss of life and the personal experiences of the men. Faulks' presentation is powerful and vivid, allowing us as readers to empathise with the men and understand the personal effects war had on them, whilst forming a personal ...view middle of the document...

Faulks uses the word "replaced" to highlight the fact that it was so easy to replace a fallen soldier, to show the reader just how little the men meant once they had fulfilled their purpose and fought in battle. The way that the men go down "in a silent flap of arms" indicates the peace they are finally finding. The way that it's "silent" emphasises the fact that even as they are killed they still have no voice and no say. The way that their arms "flap" as they die could also symbolise a bird as birds are a symbol of freedom; it is only when they die that they gain freedom, which demonstrates how their only way out of the hell they are living in is to die. It allows us to see the horror of the war as the soldiers appear to be freer in death than in life.

Once the battle has started, the men become nothing but an obstacle to the others; "Bodies were starting to pile and clog the progress." Faulks uses the word "clog" to expose the fact that the men are just a problem; there is no respect for the dead because they are "halting the progress" of the other soldiers. The savagery of war is particularly demonstrated here as we see how there was no-one to care for these men. The men are not described using their names, they are dehumanised to being described as "bodies". They are just seen as another barrier for the soldiers who are still alive.

As well as describing the deaths of men collectively, Faulks also focuses on the pain felt by individuals when an "intestine lay slopped out...where the sun began to bake it." Faulks uses sibilance to emphasise their unnatural death and the clinical, blunt language shows how this is a regular occurrence to the men. It is written in a matter-of-fact style with no weight given to it in the midst of the battle to highlight the fact that the men are not shocked by what they see because they see it so frequently. The imagery created is not only visual, but also strong olfactory imagery through the smell of the baked intestines, thus allowing us to see not only how the men died, but experience the brutality that the other men would had to have seen during battle.

One of the most powerful lines in the novel could arguably be when the men realise that the wire "had not been cut." These five words are the reason that so many men die. The short sentence helps the reader to feel the impact it would have had on the men: a short, sharp shock that is also monosyllabic to emphasise the disbelief of both the men and the reader. Faulks deliberately...

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