Deconstructing the relationship between gender and landscape

     So after completing the third paper the other day and with the semester coming to a close, I felt this was a great opportunity to free blog about what my final paper was on. I wrote on the relationship between gender expectations and landscape in Sapper Dorothy, and how this relationship is deconstructed through Lawrence’s narrative. I thought this topic was really interesting because there was a lot that could be analyzed in terms of themes surrounding ‘femininity and masculinity’ and the ‘home front vs. the warfront.’ Given the scope of the paper, it was hard for me to go as in depth as I could have (or would have) in a longer paper so I thought I’d take advantage of the blog and continue conversation this way.

    Part of what I found really interesting with this memoir is how, unlike in traditional war literature where you see a much more divided ‘home front vs. warfront,’ Lawrence’s narrative tells a story where they are much more closely related. In her experience, she depicts how there could be streets where one side was in ruins and the other was unscathed. No part of the country has gone unharmed or uninfluenced by war. Also, I thought it was interesting to witness the relationship between gender expectations and land. Typically, based on the war literature we’ve seen so far in this class, we’re used to traditionally relating masculinity with the warfront and femininity with the home front. Something that, at the time was considered set in the stone and concrete, Lawrence defies by demonstrating how femininity can exist on the warfront as well. By using skills that are traditionally feminine and masculine, she arrives at the front where she is able to introduce a domestic and almost nurturing presence. By blurring the lines of what is acceptable for a women to do or not, along with where they should go, I feel that Lawrence offers a really unique take on war. Compared to other literature where these themes have felt more separated and clearly defined, I think Sapper Dorothy stands out with the type of narrative it offers.  

     Honestly there’s a lot more I could say on this topic, and as I outlined my paper and pulled quotes from the book I realized how much is abailable on this topic, but I really want to hear your guys thoughts on it. Was there anything about gender and land that stood out to you? How do you feel the relationship between these tropes of WW1 literature impacted the narrative of the text? How do you feel the uniqueness of Dorothy Lawrence’s experience contributed to her view of the war and these topics?

Owen’s inclusion of famous ‘faces’

Just had some final thoughts on Owen’s poetry. A couple of lessons ago the question was asked what made his poetry so well known even to this day? After reading ahinton’s post (you can read it here! They bring up some interesting information!) about how Owen included W.B Yeats at the beginning of The Show, it led to me thinking that maybe by Owen including or eluding to some very well known people helped his poetry become as renowned as it has today. For instance in Dulce et Decorum Est, the popular line we discussed (Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori) was also a reference to the British Prime Minister at the time Winston Churchill. From reading the back of the book, it states how ‘Churchill had argued against this very phrase because it was inappropriate to the squalid reality of death in battle’. Owen is agreeing with Churchill in this poem (by how he states it’s a lie), and perhaps during that time people would have been able to make a connection between the two. The blog post about why Owen would pick a Yeats’ quotation made me think of this. Owen may have added Yeats as a form of retaliation, as Ahintons blog post also talks of how Yeats disliked Owen. Of course these thoughts don’t involve the fact that, obviously, Owen’s poetry is very emotional and personal, and his linguistic technique is one that allows his poetry to be so memorable even now.
But yeah credit to goes to ahinton for this!

Merry (Early) Christmas (???)

I know it is early, but we are verging on winter break and in an earlier blog post on Halloween, Laura shared a clip from The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and in the comments “Snoopy’s Christmas” was brought up. I have grown up blasting this song in the house and in the car with my mom because it is her all-time favorite song (we also just finished watching A Charlie Brown Christmas so it reminded me to post this). But, having heard this song so much throughout my whole life, I never realized it was about the Christmas Truce! So, in case you have never heard the song, here it is. Enjoy!

Getting a Bit Personal

Since Dr. Scanlon has shown us the trailer for They Shall Not Grow Old, I cannot get enough of it. When this came out in the UK, it was shown in every secondary school in the country. I keep telling myself to not cry at the trailer, but it gets me every single time. Currently, my dad is watching other WWI documentaries. I have got him hooked, too!

When I was in 3rd grade, my dad spent 3 years in Iraq. Throughout this class, I have always been curious to ask my dad if he had any of the same experiences or close to any that we had seen in our reading (like the hard adjustment period, not being able to un-see certain things, etc.). After watching the trailer to the documentary with my mom, I went on to keep talking about all the hardships and for some odd reason I kept emphasizing the adjustment for soldiers coming home after war. When I brought this up, my mom started to get teary. She kinda gave me a look that explained she knew exactly what I was talking about. I think that was my confirmation to show me that even military men who come home today face the same challenges, just with more help available.  SOOOOO HEARTBREAKING!!!!!!

Can anyone else relate with parents in the military?

Some more little Owen things

Last spring I took Modern Poetry with Dr. Scanlon (and that is when the sis-mance with me and Jordan started) and we read Owen’s work in that class as well, which she has alluded to a few times in class. I went back and looked at the course blog from my MoPo class and found some things I wanted to shared about Owen. All credit goes to my MoPo classmates because these are snippets taken from their blog posts.

In the bio that was posted about Owen, there were a few interesting images including Owen’s military cross, his preface, and his headstone.

Someone else also shared a few videos of readings of Owen’s poems and the one I am sharing here is a reading of “Dulce et Decorum Est”


Show and Tell

File on Sassoon from UK National Archives, including his letter denouncing the war:


Wilfred Owen’s official return to England and medical board forms, UK National Archives:

Owen awarded the Military Cross, UK National Archives:

Can’t Get Enough! Ring in Winter Break with More Great War!

Peter Jackson’s documentary They Shall Not Grow Old, which colorizes and adds the speech to film footage from the Great War, will play in Fredericksburg on December 17 at Regal Cinema on route 3.  Info HERE. Tickets are now on sale.

We’ve posted the trailer on the blog already, but here it is again:

See you there.