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Survival Means: War Essays Essay

  • Submitted by: ahlcm
  • on December 17, 2008
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,044 words

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Below is an essay on "Survival Means: War Essays" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Candice Ahl
British Literature
War Essay

Survival Means

Imagine a world where the booming sound of bombs, shaking ground, smoke-filled cloud of gas, and death all around is the norm.   How would you survive?   For many this is a world we can’t imagine, and don’t know how we would survive because we are lucky enough to have only seen this in movies, but never encountered.   In World War I the solider were not as lucky.   They, unlike us, had to deal with the realities on a regular basis, and as a result, find ways to survive the death and destruction.   Using the poems written during this time one can see that in war, soldiers unsuccessfully use unnatural means of self-preservation to try and desentisize themselves from the war.
The first element to explore is the unnatural means of preservation the soldiers use during time of war.   In the poem Glory of Women, Siefgried Sassoon writes, “You make us shells (2186).”   With this short sentence he shows that the soldiers become hollow and empty inside, as to feel no pain, and show no emotion to what they are experiencing, but this not how humans are made.   We are made to feel, and express emotion so the coping mechanism of being turned into a shell is unnatural.
This sense of being immune to feeling is exemplified by Sassoon again in The Rear Guard.  
Tripping, he grabbed the wall; saw some one lie…
Alone he staggered on until he found
Dawn’s ghost that filtered down a shafted stair
To the dazed, muttering creatures underground
Who hear the boom of shells in muffled sound.
At last, with sweat of horror in his hair,
He climbed through darkness to the twilight air,
Unloading hell behind him step by step.
After seeing the dead man in his path the soldier’s response is to simply keep going as if he tripped on a piece of dirt, instead of a human being.   This is the unnatural means of self-preservation that soldiers use to carry on.   They develop routines and show no emotion.   The ironic part of this poem is...

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