Perspective of Wartime Trauma

A quote from the PowerPoint we had in class:
“Therefore she must remember, try to remember, try to
be things she had been before the war—no before
it started. The world was caught as she had been caught.
The whole world was breaking and breaking for some
new spirit. Men were dying as she had almost died to
the sound (as she had almost died) of gun-fire. Guns,
guns, guns, guns. Thank God for that. The guns had
made her one in her suffering with men—men—men”
(H.D., Asphodel 114).
This quote stuck out to me because it moves away from the divide of masculinity and femininity people were expected to have at that time (to a certain extent, at least). Instead, it emphasizes that both men and women feel trauma in war. The narrator here feels it a different way than a soldier; that is, hearing the sound of guns all the time as opposed to being out there on the front line. It still doesn’t take away from what she’s feeling though. I think it’s important to have a perspective like this, since people from all sides felt the effects of this war. I’m wondering if anyone feels the same way about this quote, but if you have a different feeling or interpretation, feel free to comment about that too.

2 thoughts on “Perspective of Wartime Trauma

  1. I think HD brings up a really excellent point with this quote. War changes people, changes the way people view things–it quite literally changes the landscape, and it’s difficult to set life in war apart from a life outside of one. I think here HD is saying (at least in part) that to find normalcy again would be to go to a time before the war. There is no/will be normal after the war.

  2. I like your point about the return to normalcy and how everyone was affected by the war. That’s something I’ve picked up on since I started reading All Quiet. The young soldiers feel that their trauma is a unique one because they were just starting to emerge into life as adults; they have something anchoring them like career jobs or adult relationships. So the idea of returning to normalcy is almost unfathomable. I get that feeling also from the above poem and how the woman is also questioning how she is dealing with/going to deal with the war and beyond the war.

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