This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Class, Exile And Trauma In Rebecca West’s "The Return Of The Soldier"

3253 words - 13 pages

In Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier the continual coverage made by the media of the war during its occurrence and the infectiousness it had on those back home is portrayed through the eyes of her narrator, Jenny. The use of a female narrator wasn’t uncommon nor new but the way West includes her feminist values into Jenny without making it central to the story is fascinating. Up to this point in history, coverage of a war had never been read about as it was during this period. Because of this advancement in getting news out had improved drastically from the last war, people back home were more aware of what was occurring from reading a newspaper without having to wait for letters from their loved ones out on the front lines. West took this information in full stride and wrote about the emotional turmoil it causes the women back home waiting for their men to come back. She makes mention by focusing and bringing to attention the elements of class, exile from being deployed and the trauma that war causes on the soldier.

The approach West uses to capture her readers is through the voice of her narrator Jenny, in which her voice gives the novel an authentic feel of the torment that the women went through while waiting for their men and loved ones to return. “As the English struggled to come to terms with the wounded soldiers in their midst, medical literature provided one kind of narrative recovery; fiction provided another” (Freedman 384) and this is exactly what West conveyed in her novel, a lifelike fiction story about three women dealing with class, exile and trauma. She brought to the reader these elements that before had not been dealt with because the coverage of war had always been minimal and usually outdated, therefore there had never been a chance like this before in history. There were of course people who wouldn’t agree on her depiction of the war and how she used Jenny to show it, but as Bonikowski wrote, “[t]he same critics who judged the novel based on West’s literary association with these two men (Henry James and Freud) often failed to recognize the central female consciousness of the novel, the narrator Jenny, and West’s subtlety in her portrayal” (513). This authenticates precisely what West was trying to do, albeit wasn’t as subtle as she intended, the portrayal was seen and recognized. Jenny represents closely that of what West may have done in real life.

West’s elements of class, exile and trauma all web one another together which makes the flow of the novel an effortless endeavor. Covering the first element, class, is important because it sets a tone for the character of Margaret Grey and what she brings, metaphorically speaking, to the table. Almost as Margaret’s arrival interrupted Kitty and Jenny’s day, the atrociousness that was Margaret is immediately illustrated. Jenny narrates, “[t]hat is the name of the red suburban stain which fouls the fields three miles nearer London than Harrowweald” (West 9) and in...

Find Another Essay On Class, Exile and Trauma In Rebecca West’s "The Return of the Soldier"

The Effect of the Babylonian Exile

956 words - 4 pages citizens were deported to Babylon where they resided for approximately seventy years. When the Babylonians were conquered by the Persians under Cyrus, the people of Judah were allowed safe return back to Jerusalem, given a free degree of self-rule. The Exile had the effect of reminding the Jews of the importance in keeping the covenant with YHWH as it brought about identity changes, reestablishment of community life and distinction of religion. Mostly

Analysis of "The Soldier"

860 words - 4 pages In "The Soldier", Brooke's firm patriotism towards England is shown through two different points of view--the octet illustrating what will happen when he dies in battle and the sestet describing the afterlife. He believes that if he should be remembered for anything, it would be that he is English. He even goes as far as stating that "In that rich earth a richer dust concealed," meaning that if he were to die on a foreign land, its soil would

The Dalai Lama’s Government in Exile

3937 words - 16 pages The Dalai Lama’s Government in Exile Soft Policies on Tough Politics If I had to ask the Dalai Lama one question concerning the behalf of his exiled government and the status of his people, I know exactly what it would be. How can you preach non-violence and compassion while watching your people in Tibet suffer such inhumane punishments for simply having national and spiritual pride? As an established political and spiritual leader

The role of trauma in the development of dissociative disorders

383 words - 2 pages , leaving the person feeling helpless, frightened, and anxious. Trauma is also a link between dissociative disorders and Traumatic Stress Disorders.The role of trauma in the development of dissociative disorders shows us that it is a core issue. Without the trauma, there would be no traumatic or dissociative disorders. Dissociative fuge and dissociative amnesia are commonly brought on by a traumatic event. Dissociative fuge is rare disorder

Return Of The Native

536 words - 2 pages In Thomas Hardy’s poem “Her Dilemma,'; it relates to book one of the novel Return of the Native in the concept of marriage and distrust of feelings. In both the poem and the novel, the woman’s feelings and emotions cause conflict in her marriage. It is interesting that both these literary works has a marriage transpire with one person doubtful, especially during a time when divorce was unconceivable. The question

Atmosphere of Fear and Tension in Rebecca

1174 words - 5 pages Atmosphere of Fear and Tension in Rebecca Shy ladies' companion is staying in Monte Carlo with her stuffy employer when she meets the wealthy George Fortescu Maximillian 'Maxim' de Winter. Max is still troubled over the death of his first wife Rebecca, who was killed in a boating accident the year before. She and Max fall in love and get married. They return to Manderley, his large country estate in Cornwall. The

The Trauma of Female Character ---in “Death of Salesman”

2293 words - 10 pages themselves. This is the most important trauma women got in that period of time. Linda, as Willy’s wife, is the ideal conservative housewife. Linda has always behaved very patient. Even Willy was so rude to her after his long day, she was never angry with him, and always tried to comfort him. She took off Willy’s shoes for him, and tried to make every effort to rebuild his confidence. She does all these nice things for him and he comes to expect them

Characterization in The Good Soldier

2455 words - 10 pages In The Good Soldier, Ford Maddox Ford does not fully develop any of the characters. The reader is intended to use the narrator Dowell’s disconnected and inaccurate impressions to build a more complete version of who the characters are, as well as form a more accurate view of what actually happens with “the sad affair” (Ford 9) of Dowell’s pathetic life. This use of a single character’s various perceptions creates a work that follows the style

Trauma Informed Services - Understanding The Layers of Trauma

946 words - 4 pages A behavior is an attempt to meet a need and therefore has value. (Amy Hagan, 2014) The above statement says it best. Ms. Hagan’s fantastic presentation began with a short video ‘clip’ to apply to the exercise “Client Video Assessment”. The video was Seabiscuit. In the “Client” Assessment of Seabiscuit, we identified his (the client) characteristics, personality and traits, before, his trauma(s). Then we identified his trauma exposures

The Death of a Soldier

995 words - 4 pages The Death of a Soldier Out of the corner of my eye I saw a large camp. Men and women suffering at the hands of these Nazi criminals. We closed in on the camp rifles raised, sweat pouring down our head. We got to the last woodline before the camp when we stopped. “Abraham you circle around the back,” I whispered “ Zelda you go around to the right.” “Who put you in charge,” said Zelda angeraly “I was put in charge when this became personal,” I

The Horrors of a Child Soldier and Its Prevalence in Africa

1659 words - 7 pages to most and bring many to tears. After observing the practice of child soldiering, one can see that it is a very serious social injustice issue that must be addressed. Many people around the world have heard and even seen the brutalities of child soldiers, but what is a child soldier? “A child soldier refers to any person below eighteen years of age who is, or who has been, recruited or used by an armed force or armed group in any capacity

Similar Essays

Class Differences In The Novel "Rebecca"

1203 words - 5 pages In the book, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, there exist a big emphasis on social class and position during the time of this story. When we are introduced to the main character of the story, the narrator, we are right away exposed to a society in which different privileges are bestowed upon various groups. Social place, along with the ever present factor of power and money are evident throughout the story to show how lower to middle class groups

Failure In Nathanael West’s The Day Of The Locust

1685 words - 7 pages In Nathanael West’s “The Day of the Locust,” multiple characters are introduced within Hollywood, California, which is widely regarded as the national capital of the film industry. One main character focused on throughout the novel is Tod Hackett, who West portrays as being superior to the fantasy observed around him. Many of the characters have traveled to Hollywood in pursuit of a personal, ambitious goal. However, there is a reoccurring theme

Theme Of Haunting In The Following Modernist Works: Rebecca, A Haunted House And The Painted Veil

2085 words - 8 pages motifs or themes that they deal with in Modernist novels is the theme of haunting, which we do not see in any Realist novel. In my essay, I am going to study this theme by referring to the various modernist works such as Rebecca, A Haunted House and The Painted Veil. The theme of haunting with its distinctiveness is widely associated with Modernism and it is highly studied in the novels of the Modernist type. Since the Modernist

Forever In The Mind Of A Soldier

972 words - 4 pages The boom is what starts them in, and for some, is what takes them right out. The men that fight in the Vietnam war are some of the bravest people that will ever live and they are beautifully betrayed in Tim O’Brien’s Book The Things They Carried. Tim O’Brien’s story is metafiction about his time that he spent in the war and about what it was truly like to spend time as a foot soldier in such a gruesome war. Whether they enlist or are drafted