An article similar to the one Prof. Scanlon talked about in regards to Macron’s statement about nationalism in the wake of Armistice Day. I found it interesting that he chose that theme for his speech, since the aftermath of the Great War lead to a rise in nationalism across the globe, a political movement that is beginning to rise again in places like the U.S and Europe. I felt this quote summed it up pretty well:
“I know there are old demons which are coming back to the surface. They are ready to wreak chaos and death. History sometimes threatens to take its sinister course once again.”
This is a piece that really caught my attention, and while we talked about it in class, I wanted to continue the discussion about on particular topic: Paul and Mary, and the system of unseen “social castes” that were present at the time of the story as well as today. The way in which Mary casts Paul aside due to the fact that she feels that she is somehow a higher social rank than Paul due to her race (even though she is a former prostitute, the lowest of the low so to speak) made me stop and think for a moment. I came to the realization that I found it so shocking because A. it didn’t happen in the American South (a place where I’ve grown up around racism, and feel almost desensitized to stories of race tensions) and B. it didn’t happen somewhere where it was illegal to be in an interracial marriage. So even though Paul had moved to what he thought was a more socially liberated society, he still faced the same discrimination he found in the American South. It was just better hidden in France.
My question is whether or not anyone else thinks that this ‘illusion” of social liberation is something that we still struggle with in modern day society, since (at least in the past year or so) many stories have come out about the marginalization of African Americans in the U.S.
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.