So why was he on the train?
I was very shocked by the ending of this short story and I’m not sure why; I mean every other WW1 book or poem is equally as blunt in its lack of a happy ending. I guess it was the amount of space and words in which the entire story was flipped on its head. That and the imagery of a black man in a gray suit that distracted me. But I still don’t understand why he was on the train or where he was going.
At first sight this website looks pretty sketchy. There is no scrolling down like normal webpages and there is a decent amount of empty space; however, this website is jam packed with information on WWI. It is built with students, teachers, and school projects in mind. This website has information on every basic question about WWI from start to finish and provides background information and numerous resources. This website is a fantastic resource with several functions. It could be used by teachers to guide lesson plans and give ample information about WWI, it could be used by students without the instruction of a teacher to learn about WWI, or it could be used as a goldmine for primary and secondary sources.
This website’s strengths are:
- This website contains numerous useful sources for projects and papers.
- There are clear and concise blurbs for every new page of the website.
- It is easy to understand language wise.
- It is easy to navigate the website.
- It has prompts and critical questions for every aspect of The Great War that it has information about.
- This website gives “how to use this source” information and questions with every source.
- It has detailed background information.
- It has extensive and detailed information about the soldiers’ experiences.
- The website never overwhelms viewer with words on a page or too many options.
- This website contains printable worksheets to help understand and critically think about WWI.
- This site never speculates or shares opinions, but prompts viewers to come up with their own opinions.
- Fun facts are displayed on the home page and a new one appears every time you return to the home page.
This website’s weaknesses are:
- This website contains links to other websites about how WWI is remembered today that are out of date.
- The language used leads me to believe that this website may be in need of an update.
- I would not say this website is inviting appearance wise at first glance.
- Some primary and secondary resources can be difficult to read due to faint ink or photocopying.
- Sometimes new pages on the website load very slowly (this may just be school wifi).
- There is not much information on public perspective or any perspective other than the soldiers, commanders, and a minimal amount on the political point of view, which is mostly in the background information.
Overall, this website is best suited for those just starting to learn about The Great War. It can be used to construct lesson plans or be used as the lesson plans themselves. It can be a useful source for primary and secondary resources in a research paper, group project, or essay. There is so much information on this website, as long as there is no need for multiple perspectives in your essay or paper, this is the only resource you would need since it contains so much information and so many primary sources. I do not think this website is the most helpful for our class specifically, because it is more of an overall lesson on the events and causes of The Great War when our class focuses more on specific books. I do think it is a good resource for those who can not for the life of them remember anything about WWI from their history class or who want more detailed information on specifics like trenches.
Today in class we were discussing mythical language and the angels in the short stories we read for today. The discussion made me think of how Paul and Nellie didn’t want to talk to those at home about their war experiences or show off that they had really “been in it”. Paul made up stories or told half truths in order to please his dad and the people back at home without damaging himself with the truth. The short stories and poems talking about the angels and visions of dead Germans may not be factually true but they are as much of the truth as the soldiers can tell and therefore become the truth for those at home. The “true” stories of the angels in the battlefield spread and become fact. The feelings in those stories could actually be true; the soldiers could have felt as though the strategies or weapons they were told to switch to could have felt like divine intervention or guardian angels saving them from death.
I just wanted to highlight this quote that enraged me: “The world seems determined to see nothing but a horrible, high-spirited, perpetual brightness in us” (Page unknown due to online text). This is so messed up (I would use stronger words but I feel like the f word would be frowned upon on a school blog). Forcing and expecting women to be happy, high spirited, and perpetually at your service is a concept that still plagues women today. For example, any time that anyone ever tells a girl to smile. Or when they say: “you’d be prettier if you smiled”. UGH. Nobody is ever happy absolutely all of the time! This concept really pisses me off because I see it as forbidding women to experience emotions other then positive ones. Everyone experiences all the emotions that you can name at some point in their life and everyone should be free to express those emotions in healthy ways. Forcing women to be positive and cheery all the time leads to emotions being bottled up which is damaging to a person’s mental state. Being forever happy about having to drive an ambulance full of injured, and dying men all night every night after a full day of chores and hauling those same men to a cemetery is a ridiculous expectation. It is more than understandable that all of them are going insane and are pissed off at Commandant.