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?

Meaghan’s Report on the website ‘First World War: Explore our Stories.’

    With an eye capturing, easy to navigate home page, the IWM’s website ‘First World War: Explore our Stories’ is both informative and audience friendly. With a surplus of information associated with various topics, this website is an excellent tool for people doing research on WW1. There are ways the website could be improved, which will be discussed later on in the review, but overall it is a strong source. 

     The material on this website allows for a multifaceted approach to research. With information presented as written posts, videos, and photos, it creates an eviornment that allows individual users to access information in a way that is most beneficial to them. The information ranges from social issues that were occuring at the time, propaganda, gender roles in war, fighting techniques, and more. This allows users to gain a broad spectrum understanding of the war, which is beneficial as a form of introduction but leads to a disadvantage for anyone trying to develop a substantially deeper understanding.

     In a stacked layout, from the moment they access the website, users are met with the most crucial of information. First there is the search bar in plain sight, which enables viewers to immediately search for the material they are seeking. Essentially right below are some of the feature posts: with photos above the text, this section of the home page draws the eyes of users almost instantaneously. Along with glimpses into these three posts, there is a button that says “Discover more” and leads to a page of material that will be discussed later on. After that, there is another search section for “collections” that exist on the website. The finally part of the stacked layout is the information about the IWM organization: the placement of this material was smart because it is easily accessible, but not overwhelming or prominent. Viewers are given the opportunity to first observe the historical material on the website, and then if they choose to, they can obtain the material about IWM.  

     After the homepage, the next main section worthy of review, is the aforementioned page that users are redirected to when they press the “Discover more”. The aesthetic of this page is not as strong as the homepage view, but it is a useful page in terms of content. One unique, and positive, feature I noticed right away about this page was the filter option it provided. With general options such as “First World War”, “Women in War,”, “Home front”, and the list goes on. The accessibility of these filters provides an easy process for members to follow in order to be able to quickly narrow down their options.

     The same search filter that was talked about above, also serves as a double edged sword for the website. While it helps in terms of narrowing down the content, from an aesthetic standpoint it is not appealing and how it is laid out results in a lot of white space at the top of this webpage. While a comment on appeal should not outweigh the type of content on a website, appeal plays a role in influencing readers whether they was to continue using the website or if they should get off it, Also, while the filters alleviate some of the clutter, the amount of content on this page borders on overwhelming.

     I feel like this website is a good tool to develop a basis of understanding on World War One. Because it offers various topics, from aspects of the homefront, to the trenches, to propaganda, etc., it enables users to quickly find information about the war on multiple levels. It does a good job at presenting an overarching analysis of the environment created by the war, but the sheer number of posts on it limits the depth of the material. For anyone interested in taking a closer link to the website, check out the link below!

I pledge, Meaghan McIntyre