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"Goodbye To All That" By Robert Graves.

2585 words - 10 pages

In 1929, Robert Graves published his war novel "Goodbye to all that." It isbased on his own life experiences of the Great War. This autobiography hasbeen involved in "The great books controversy and changing attitudes towardsthe war." But in 1931, two years after this Great War book was published,Robert Graves wrote "P. S. Goodbye to all that." In this he justifies someof his actions and why he wrote parts of the novel the way he did. Heconfesses that he wrote the novel to make "a lump of money" he also includedthe "ingredients" of a popular memoir, some of them including " people likereading about food and drink.murders.ghosts.kings and other peoplesmothers." These ingredients make a good read in a novel and it's the type ofthings that people enjoy reading about. It also breaks up the novel and itdoesn't concentrate on war so much. He also apologises to the people heoffended in the novel.Autobiographies were a chronicle of someone's life laid down forposterity usually at the request of family members. "Goodbye to all that"differs by virtue of his stated purpose in writing it. But throughout thenovel there are passages that defy a lot of what he said. An example of thisgreat writing is in chapter 15, which shows the very "matter of fact"attitudes. "The other day.a bomb dropped next door and killed 3 soldiers whowere billeted there, a woman and a child." This probably did happen but itwas one of the many horrors of war which soldiers experienced day in and dayout. It became part of their lives; many lost hope and resorted tocommitting suicide. Robert Graves clearly states that the first person hesaw dead and the last person he saw dead before he left the war were bothsuicide victims. This just goes to show the kind of impact that the war hadon people's lives. Graves talks about it as an everyday occurrence, which tothe soldiers at the front line it was. We know for a fact that thefatalities and injuries were for real and were not inaccurate. But there areinaccuracies that can be misleading. For example the murder of the company'ssergeant major. " Did you mistake him for a spy?" The young miner replied,"No sir, we mistook him for our platoon sergeant" This is quite humorous butthe date of the murder was wrong. A number of things are wrong in the bookbut they have all been changed to make a good story. It makes it moreinteresting, and then more people want to read it. The horror of war is madevery clear in "Goodbye to all that." One section of the novel, Graves tellsus about one of their platoon members that has been killed and is layingrigid in the trench and is blocking the pathway. Instead of one of the menmoving him, they leave him there and make fun of him every time one of themwanted to pass; they just pushed him out of the way and made some sort ofhumorous comment. This was just one of the many black humour passages in thebook and as readers it makes us laugh. It shows detachment from the war,which makes the story a little more light hearted...

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