Explore the ways in which Faulks uses nature within the novel
Alternatively, he might inferring that; the world is in peace when nature is allowed to flourish and It’s in disharmony during war, where birds are chased away by the treating sounds Of guns and the hostile weather conditions which makes the birds stop singing, this creates an unnatural environment. The way Faults uses nature during the soldiers’ time in the front is a complete paradox to the way he uses nature during Stephens visit at the English countryside when he’s on leave.
During Stephens time in England, Faults uses nature in an optimistic manner to convey a sense of exemption and alleviation. This is evident in the nine ‘the air had a feeling of purity as though it had never been breathed’. The air was ‘pure’ because this is an environment where conflict is not as sever and atrocious; where nature was not being constantly disturbed by the petrifying sounds of guns and being intoxicated by gas. Unlike in France where there was not enough oxygen’ provided by nature for the soldiers to survive .
The lack of oxygen shows how much man has damaged the environment and the restricting of oxygen to man shows that nature has given up on them ; this enforces that the arrival of the soldier’s death is near.
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It’s almost like the soldiers are betraying nature by damaging it while it’s playing a motherly role to them. Faults is trying to convey the idea life is futile without nature and humans bring annihilation within themselves. Faults uses nature in the line ‘overhanging trees’ to create a graphic imagery of dead bodies overlapping each other.
This adds emphasis on the multitude of lives that were lost during the World War one, too many men died that their bodies became part of the landscape, they became part of nature. The powerful adjective ‘overhanging’ mimics the soldiers’ feelings as depressed ND melancholic due to the strain and tediousness as they had to strive under horrific conditions. On the other hand, the reader creates an unusual imagery of trees ‘overhanging’ each other, which is unnatural. This represents a dyspepsia environment which shows that war changed nature.
Faults wants the reader to understand the untold horrors of war, which creates a subtle anti war message throughout the novel. Alternatively, the adjective ‘overhanging’, might infer that the trees were growing rapidly in the soldiers’ favor to provide oxygen in order for them to survive. This shows that nature as on their side, although they were the ones damaging it. Here the reader begins to despite and oppose war as they start to notice the selfishness in humanity. Nature was being destroyed and a multitude number of innocent people were dying just because the government was eager to gain power.
They had the power to stop this catastrophe but because they didn’t want to embarrass or ‘show weakness’ by surrendering . They had the decency to carry on despite how the conflict was destroying the earth. Similarly, the idea of nature keeping the soldiers alive is conveyed in Siegfried Caisson’s poem France’ when he describes the forest as ‘radiant forest’. The powerful adjective ‘radiant’, might infer that the forest gave the soldiers energy and provided them with heat in order to keep them warm while they were fighting; this reinforces a motherly nature as the ‘radiant forest’ comforted them even though they were near death.
Here Swanson uses nature in an optimistic manner to decrease the cruelty of war by not creating a sinister atmosphere. Faults makes the reader understand the brutality of war by using powerful adjectives to create a ghastly imagery. This is evident in the nine ‘Shattered flesh that lay in sinking stinking shell holes in beet crop soil’ The powerful phrase ‘shattered’, emphasis on the brutality of war and the multitude of violence. It creates a powerful image of mutilated body parts and rotting and decaying dead bodies decomposing in the soil.
The adjective ‘stinking’ emphasis on the foul smell of the dead bodies which damaged the nature by polluting the air. Faults uses graphic violent imagery to demonstrate the horrors of war. Additionally, the fact that the dead bodies are sinking the soil conveys the idea that the soldiers die but nature remains tagging or it gets damaged but it grows back again, but once a human being is dead they can never be brought back to life.
As the reader is reading these they start understanding the impacts war had on nature which makes them unaffected by the euphoria of war. Nature is used positively , in the line ‘a lark was singing in the unharmed air above him’ According to Biblical references , a ‘lark’ is a symbol of hope, happiness and good fortune; which might mean that during the battle God was on the soldiers’ side, their faith never betrayed them. The soldiers were just a sacrifice to God in order for everyone to have redeem. This is supported by the powerful phrase ‘unharmed air above him’.