Adrian Barlow Writes of Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting: “at the Time of Its Publication, to Write a Novel About Intense Relationships Between Men in the First World War Was Considered an Ambitious Risk for a Woman Writer.”

1946 Words Jun 3rd, 2013 8 Pages
Adrian Barlow writes of Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting: “At the time of its publication, to write a novel about intense relationships between men in the First World War was considered an ambitious risk for a woman writer.” Compare and contrast the ways in which your three writers present relationships between men.

'One of the paradoxes of the War - one of the many - was that this most brutal of conflicts should set up a relationship between officers and men that was... domestic. Caring. As Layard would undoubtedly have said, maternal.' -Pat Barker: Birdsong

Susan Hill’s Strange Meeting, published in 1971, Sebastian Faulks ‘Birdsong’, published in 1993 and Siegfried Sassoon’s poetry written during ‘The Great
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PARA ON STRANGE MEETING
In comparison to Stephen and Weir’s relationship, in Stephen and Jack Firebrace’s relationship we see a contrast. Hierarchy is presented strongly between the two at first, and because of their different social and military status in the war they are treated differently. Stephen has power over Jack, this is shown when he finds Jack asleep in the tunnels and “boot cracked him” in a gesture which shows both his dominance and his ignorant behaviour. Faulks’ describes Stephen’s voice as “cold” which is a contrast to the warm behaviour and relationship he has with Weir. (P129). Although at first their relationship is shown with a vast contrast due to the power division, Stephen feels sympathy for Jack after he speaks to him and Weir about his son, further developing their relationship. (P134, P136). Sassoon’s poem ‘The General’ comments on the soldiers view of the general and higher ranks to themselves in the war, “And we’re cursing his staff for incompetent swine”. As the general is a figurehead for the kind of planning that led to massive loss of life during warfare, the generals were often intensely disliked by the soldiers and they agreed their incompetent planning will lead to their deaths without his care, “now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ‘em dead”. ‘The General’ is written with a distinctive upbeat rhythm that reflects the general’s manner which ironically contrasts with the…

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