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War Literature Essay, Research Paper

Integrated Essay

My name is Daniella D Antonio and I am a year 11 student at St Dominic s Priory College. I have been asked to write to you in response to your letter concerning, exposing children to war literature.

In our English lessons earlier this year my class have read the classic book All Quiet on the Western Front , studied War Poetry and watched the Australian-made movie Breaker Morant. Learning about war is a very important part of our education. It teaches us about the history of the world, morals, and standards of living of that era. More importantly the reading of these texts and movie has given me a clear picture of what war was like for all the people involved.

All Quiet on the Western Front is a novel by the German writer, Erich Maria Remarque. At the beginning of the book Remarque notes that the story he had written was not An accusation nor as a confession but an account of a generation that was destroyed by the war

You can tell, by reading this note, that Remarque wrote the novel to demonstrate to his readers how just one war destroyed a whole generation of young men in the short time span of 4 years. In the beginning of Chapter 11 of the text, Paul Baumer, the narrator of the story expresses;

Our thoughts have turned to clay, they are moulded by the variation in the days No man s land is outside us and inside us too.

This statement shows how the soldiers are all feeling; it proves Remarque s statement that the war destroyed a generation of men. These soldiers have all lost their hope and ambition to go home and they even claim they do not remember what home is like and where it is. To them, home is where they are right now, with their best friends. At the end of the movie, Breaker Morant, it shows Harry and Lt. Handcock holding hands while they prepare for their execution. This image also shows the men s courage and strong friendship, they did not have the support of anyone but each other to say goodbye to them.

Breaker Morant which we studied as a visual text was set during the Boer War and was based on true events that happened to three Australian men; Harry Breaker Morant, Lt. Peter Handcock and Lt. George Witton. Throughout the film we are presented with real situations that happened during the war. These three men were put on trial for various murders of Boer prisoners during the war. They were used as scapegoats for the British Government to cover up a verbal command to kill Boer prisoners. The movie Breaker Morant showed the unjustness and prejudices between Superior officers and officers of a lower rank during this time.

The various poetry that we have read have been symbolic but factional, in Dulce Et Decorum Est the writer uses powerful words to create a horrific image inside the readers head,

Gas! Gas! Quick

But someone was still yelling out

Like a man in fire or lime

he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning…

This image that is put to the reader, shows how the men felt while they were in such a dangerous situation. In the poem, For the Fallen it shows how men go to war as a sign of patriotism and pride but as time went on their views changed and they became depressed and lose their will to live, the following quote explains this;

They went with songs to the battle,

They were young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow

They were staunch to the end against odds uncountered

They fell with their faces to the foe.

Mrs Alibrandi, I realise that you are concerned about the hatred, violence and bloodshed contained in war literature, but I hope that after you have read this letter I hope you will have more understanding of why war literature is a part of school s curriculum today. Students today are the future of the world and I strongly believe that when as we learn the horrific details and all the pain and suffering of previous wars we want to make a difference for our future. Future leaders who know the consequences of war will try and avoid it at all costs.

Kind Regards

Daniella D*****

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