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

War Themes In Birdsong By Sebastian Faulks

1448 words - 6 pages

The structure of Faulk’s Birdsong allows us to observe the impact of the War upon numerous individuals across the generations. Throughout the novel, even outside the 1914-1918 time-frame, Faulks continues to maintain a link between the past and the present through his use of a number of motifs and themes. The lasting impact of the War suggests that history should never be forgotten, which is the paramount message in Birdsong.

In Birdsong, Faulks considers the idea of the War as an ‘exploration of how far men can be degraded’ in terms of the impact that war had upon the individual characters, resulting in dehumanisation. The main feature of being human is individuality. During his three-day-rest, the character Jack reflects that each soldier had the potential to be an individual, but because of the ‘shadow of what awaited them, [they] were interchangeable’ which is an allusion towards the politics of the War; the men were simply seen as statistics. The men search for a fate within the War, demonstrated when Stephen plays cards with the men and claims that Weir would rather have a ‘malign providence than an indifferent one’ which suggests that the men want to feel that someone is planning their future. During a heavy bombardment, Faulks describes that Tipper’s ‘iris lost all light and sense of life’ during his ‘eruption of natural fear’ when the shells land near him. The eyes here are a metaphor for life; it is a human’s eyes which represent individuality and are often described as the window to the soul. Faulks’ description of the loss of light in the eyes suggests that, as a result of the War, Tipper has lost what makes him human. The natural fear and ‘shrill demented sound’ that arises from Tipper is a ‘primitive fear’ which suggests that the men have returned to the early stages of evolution. Faulks further explores the idea of primal behaviour when he describes Stephen’s dugout as having a ‘primitive appearance’ which greatly differs from the descriptions of the Boulevard du Cange where Stephen previously lived, creating a contrast between the two worlds. Faulks’ presentation of the men’s loss of humanity and resorting to primal behaviour allows us to comprehend the impact the War had on individuals.

The idea of the war being ‘beyond nature’ is one which is emphasised by Faulks as it highlights the impact of the War on a large scale; all the men are forced to live in the new reality which gets worse and worse. Following the Battle of the Somme, Faulks describes the ‘crippled sleepers’ rising from the ground, saying that it resembled a ‘resurrection in a cemetery’ ; a simile which represents the fact that the men are now the living dead; their old lives have been stolen from them. Faulks anthropomorphises the soil, saying that the men ‘teemed up from the reluctant earth’ alluding that even nature has turned against the men. The characters Stephen and Weir discuss the atrocities which have occurred during the Battle and Weir becomes...

Find Another Essay On War Themes in Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Themes in The Crucible by Arthur Miller

921 words - 4 pages In every literary work, there are themes. A theme is a broad idea, moral or message of a book or story. One individual may construe the themes of a book or story differently than another, but that is the pure beauty of themes. One great literary work is The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller. Succinctly, the play is about the Salem witch trials that took place in Massachusetts in 1692. Throughout the story, the townspeople indict their

Themes in Oedipus Rex by Sophocles

673 words - 3 pages A prophecy of a boy who kills his father and marries his mother comes true in the story of Oedipus. Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex, a play about a man who kills his father and marries his mother without realizing it. Oedipus leaves Corinth, the town he was raised in after being found hung by his ankles as a baby, and he kills his father, Laius, and his father’s servants. Then he arrives in Thebes and solves the riddle of the Sphinx, which he earns

Themes in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin

1060 words - 4 pages Themes in Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin After reading the short story "Sonny's Blues" by James Baldwin, I find there are two major themes that Baldwin is trying to convey, suffering and irony. The first theme that he brings out and tries to get the reader to understand is the theme of suffering. The second theme that the author illustrates is the theme of irony. James Baldwin writes about two African-American brothers growing up in

Themes in White Noise by Don DeLillo

2334 words - 9 pages collective protests involving violence or threats of violence, and war and military affairs. (Johnson 205-206) The results showed that 54.5 % of news time was devoted to violence, conflict, and suffering (VCS) and that 64% of the top five stories depicted VCS, meaning the “stations tend to emphasize VCS news by selecting these stories to be presented earlier in the broadcast.” (Johnson 207) The study also determined that those who watch the

Themes of Love and War in A Farewell to Arms

2601 words - 10 pages the stockyards is thrown out when it is of no use, similarly, when soldiers sacrifice their lives in the war, they are buried and their sacrifices are soon forgotten. Henry’s thoughts depict adeptly that he is disenchanted by the war and believes that there is nothing glorious about war. Overall, Henry’s outlook and descriptions of the war easily convince the reader that the themes of love and war are the most important themes in the novel

Vietnam War Themes in Books Wandering Souls and The Sorrow of War

2825 words - 11 pages Themes of a Soldier’s War The Vietnam War was hard for the country to handle, let alone a single soldier. Many soldiers dealt with different personal and physiological effects of this war. This war in Vietnam was different than any of the other wars. This war was unconventional, when we first entered it was more about the fight against the spread of communism then slowly changed over the years. Going into Vietnam was different in all senses

Themes of Forgiveness in The Tempest by William Shakespeare

753 words - 3 pages The Tempest has many themes including reconciliation and forgiveness However, while it is clear that the theme of forgiveness is the main theme of the play, what is up for debate is to what extent the author realizes this forgiveness. After reading the attitudes and actions of the major characters in the play, specifically Prospero, little, if any, true forgiveness and reconciliation is shown in The Tempest. A strong Christian

Themes in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

703 words - 3 pages Themes in Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys The main themes in Wide Sargasso Sea are slavery and entrapment, the complexity of racial identity and womanhood or feminism. In all of these themes the main character who projects them are Antoinette and Christophine. The theme slavery and entrapment is based on the ex- slaves who worked on the sugar plantations of wealthy Creoles figure prominently in Part One of the novel, which is set in the

Timeless Themes A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

1610 words - 6 pages One of the most notable plays on the topic of racial minorities and family issues, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, has continued to be popular since it was written in 1959. The play is about an African American family, consisting of five members, who live in Southside Chicago during the post-World-War-Two era. The Younger family is crowded in a tiny, worn, and shabby apartment and they are fairly poor. They never have much surplus

Main Themes in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

883 words - 4 pages Cunningham. The corruptness of Maycomb’s social ladder shows how hard the Great Depression has hit the town and how it has affected the residents greatly. A theme is a fundamental and often universal idea explored in a literary work. In the book, To Kill a Mockingbird, there are three main themes: the side-by-side existence of good and evil, the importance of moral education, and the presence of social inequality. These themes help the story be what it is and help to create a proper setting, plot, conflict, and characters. The themes in the book have good meaning and make the book what it is.

Themes in To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

655 words - 3 pages To kill a mockingbird written by Harper Lee. Themes are the subject of a talk, a piece of writing or a person's thoughts. There are many themes present in this great American classic such as courage, racism, prejudice, morality and of course coming of age. Lee communicates these themes with characters, events that unfold and the scenarios that Jem and Scout have to face. One of many themes that is evidently present throughout the book is

Similar Essays

Human Nature In Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong And Arthur Miller's The Crucible

3890 words - 16 pages Human Nature in Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong and Arthur Miller's The Crucible Both The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, and the novel, Birdsong, by Sebastian Faulks, are pieces of literature based around historical events. Miller's play is set during the Salem Witch trials of 1692 and Birdsong concentrates primarily on characters involved in the First World War which took place from 1914 to 1918. Both of these periods in history

How Does Faulks Present The Impact And Significance Of The War Within ‘Birdsong’ ?

1466 words - 6 pages Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’ is a novel which spans three different time periods, in all of which we meet characters directly connected to the War. Faulks choice of structure allows us to view the impact of the War from numerous viewpoints as well as understanding its significance today. Faulks uses the structure of the novel as well as language to demonstrate this. For much of ‘Birdsong’ Stephen is the centre of consciousness and so we witness the

Analyse Faulks’ Presentation Of Social And Cultural Transformation In His Novel Birdsong Via A Study Of His Female Characters

1424 words - 6 pages the centuries, literature has captured humankind’s use of transformation for survival purposes: be that social, physical, political and economical. For example, Les Mutineries by Guy Pedroncini, an account of the French riots that took place in 1917 regards transformation among the people as a form of revolution. This is a text that was key to Faulks’ knowledge surrounding the context of the Great War. In his 1993 novel Birdsong, Faulks, too

Explorations Of Themes In War Poetry

3964 words - 16 pages Explorations of Themes in War Poetry Before World War One, war was seen as glorious and honourable. These attitudes are reflected in the phrase Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mari, translated this means that it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. It was a firm belief that everyman should fight for his country. However, World War One changed this attitude that people had, as they had seen the effects of war on