Notes on Birdsong

Topics: Near death experience, World War II, Afterlife Pages: 28 (9946 words) Published: December 9, 2012

* pg.121
‘’ Jack Firebrace lay forty five feet underground with several hundred thousands tons of France above his face’’ – fragility of a human being. * Pg. 123
‘’There was an arm with a corporal’s stripe on it near his feet, but most of the men’s bodies had been blown into the moist earth’’- link to pg.135 * Pg.125
-‘‘immune to death’’ – the frequency of death and men’s being used to it. -‘’ their company had grown important to him’’-comradeship * Pg.128
‘’At the front he hardly ever thought of home… he now inhabited another world’’- detachment/ dislocation from the Home Front * Pg. 131
-‘’any moment could bring death in a number of different ways’’- reality of war -‘’The indifference he had cultivated, however, was to extermination of the enemy, his colleagues and his friends; he was not, he admitted to himself, indifferent to the prospects of his own death’’- * Pg. 132

‘’let them die, but please God let me leave’’
* Pg.133
description of a dugout-reality of war
* Pg.135
‘’the war has provided all of us with daily lessons of anatomy’’ – pg. 124 link * Pg.139
-‘’walking in his sleep’’ –tired and exhausted; conditions of men. -‘’narrow inferno of his existence’’- HELL, no hope, futile vs. ‘’There was blossom in the tree’’ – -combination of war and nature, force of nature over the mass destruction of land * Pg.140

-reality of war
-‘’consoling memories of a lost life’’
-‘’ stroke the dog’s head’’- metaphor for affection * Pg.141
-‘’None of these men would admit that what they saw and what they did were beyond the boundaries of human behaviour’’ -‘’ No one told; and Jack too joined the unspoken conspiracy’’ - do not want to be reminded of their doings; what they have done belongs to the past, detachment from the past, want to avoid the pangs of consciousness -ALSO: ‘’natural order had been violated’’ – war against nature -ALSO: everybody blamed somebody : ‘’He blamed the NCO,s who blamed the officers…’’ -ALSO: conditions of men

* Pg. 142
-army food; conditions of men- ‘’contained the immovable lice’’ -men treatment like animals- a shower bit.
-‘’Half- past and half pissed’’ - humor
* Pg. 143
-men becoming to each other like family
- ‘’men forgot what was unforgivable’’
-‘’No one had even raised a glass to Turner’’ – frequency of death; makes no effect on them; it’s not good to dwell on someone’s death, because next day it might be them; try to keep themselves from gloomy overwhelming thoughts * Pg.144

-‘’They were men who could each have had a history…’’- the idea of dehumanization -‘mindless determination’’
- ‘’If you were the only girl…’’ – song; try to escape from war’s realities * Pg. 145
-‘’ He found it difficult to think of words of encouragement or inspiration when he himself did not believe there was a purpose to the war or an end to it in sight’’ – loss of hope in winning the war, men are just going on because of the orders.

* Pg.147
-‘’They feared shell wounds more than bullets because they had seen the damage they did’’- reality of war -Tipper : ‘’primal fear’’- primitive; atavism (the return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence). * Pg.148

‘’They pretended that it was more than this; it was the evidence of what thy had seen. Reeves had searched for his brother but had found no trace to bury, not a lock of hair, not even a piece of boot.’’- the reality of war, death * Pg.149

‘’But you liked the war when it started, didn’t you ?’’ - Pre- war attitude, as all those who enlisted when the war broke out. * Pg.150
-‘’I don’t want to talk about England[…] I’ve got to think of staying alive’’ – instincts taking over, idea of patriotism...
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