English Reflection on WWI Literature

In the past, I have read two stories written by soldiers who have fought in WWI on opposing sides. One tells the perspective of a soldier who enlisted in High School and the other which focused on a soldier coming home from the war. For the first half of They Shall not Grow Old, it remained slightly optimistic with accounts of soldiers going out of their way to enlist in the army. According to the film, enlisting in the army was seen as an act of bravery and men who refused to do so were looked down upon and were seen as cowards. It also gave descriptions of a soldier’s everyday life in the army camps such as singing songs and drinking off their pain with alcohol. It also showed pictures of their latrines and their lack of embarrassment. The movie later switched to a more violent nature when it started giving graphic descriptions of the horrors of soldier’s experiences in the war. It started telling stories about soldiers crying for help and being gravely injured by nearby shells, and getting diseases from spending too much time in the trenches. The descriptions were more graphic than any of the WWI stories we have read in the past and really started touching on the violent side of war. Paul’s story focused on a German soldier’s life and how similar it was to any opposing side and Soldier’s Home focused on the drastic changes a soldier would experience while returning home. All three of these stories felt very different while focusing on the same topic since they were aimed towards different aspects in the war.

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