Great War Assignment
This letter collection tell us about their bittersweet personal love story. The collected letters from Murray are addressed to his fiance Margaret who he was engaged to be married to. The tone in his letters are affectionate and loving.
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In the letters, he refers to her as “dear girl”2 “Honey girl”3 or “Girlie”4, and often tells how much he ” dream[s] of [the] days”5 that they had together. For Murray, the existence of his sweet fiance Margaret was probably an emotional support on the war front. Letters from her perhaps gave him sense of certainty about their delightful future that eased his loneliness.
Wellington Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, June, 1917, WWW Collection, www. Contraindicates. Ca ! Elongation Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, 20 May, 1917, WWW Collection, ! Elongation ! Elongation ! Elongation Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, July, 1917, WWW Collection, Matura’s 3 The contents of his letters extend from everyday life on the battlefield to discussion on their relationship. He did not tell Margaret about the detailed hardships or horrors he experienced on the battlefield; this is, probably, because he did not want to make her worried or scared of losing him.
Instead of sounding so concerned, he tries to think of something pleasant; “Instead of coming home to you tonight dear (as we had figured) I come “home” to a tent and in place of having you pouring out my tea and passing me delicious cakes across a clean white table cloth I get a certain issue of tea in a mess tin and I eat bread and cheese seated on the grass. “6 In this note, Murray combines reality, nostalgia, and fantasy. Together, they work as an escapism for him. In his mind, the reality of the battlefield somehow exists in parallel to happy memories and a spotless dream image.
As he sipped “tea in a mess in” and eats “bread and cheese on the grass” after his duty, he remembers of going to “picnic parties”7 with Margaret back in Canada. As for nostalgia, he flashes back to her gentle way when she would pour his tea and pass him the delicious cake she made. Then fantasy plays a role in the memory. The phrase “coming home to you” represents his dream future of being married to Margaret, and “a clean white table cloth” is one example of details in his idealistic image. His daydream alters bitter ! Elongation ! Wellington Matura’s 4 reality; “a tent” into the dream home, “bread and cheese seated on the grass” to delicious cakes”, and a “mess tin” to ” a clean white table cloth”, believe it or not. Writing a letter to his fiance provided Murray a comforting time that he can live apart from the reality for a little while. It perhaps was a escapism for him; however, he might not had been necessary wanted to escape from the reality he was placed. Regarding the discussion about their relationship, it seems like Murray was having a debate in his head whether if he should have gotten married before he left Canada.
In the first letter in this collection, written on May 4th, 1917, he noted it was a good session not to be married; “Still we were wise that we did not marry, no matter what our hearts prompted. “8 Perhaps, Murray thought he was saving her from having to live a lonely life by choosing not to marry her. Thus, Margaret is not forced to wait for him to be back to Canada, in addition, she would have a better chance to be marrying to another man and not live a lonely life, when Murray does not survive the war.
Despite the rational decision in the beginning, he started to have mixed feeling about it because he realizes how “my[his] love [towards Margaret] has matured. 9 On July 5th 1917, he admits that he “thought it would have been better to have married [with Margaret]”10 because she might find “someone else to help you[her] ease the burden. ” 1 1 Clearly, Murray was faced with a dilemma; he wanted to establish an unshakable ! Elongation Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, 4 May, 1917, WWW Collection, ! 9 ! Elongation ! Elongation Matura’s 5 connection with Margaret but Just could not let her to live a lonely life if he could not manage to survive. Not a single letters from Murray suggests that he supported or liked the war although he rarely expressed his dissatisfaction towards the warfare he was involved in. On May 4th, 1917, he reassuringly wrote in the letter “I’m [ He is] not lonesome nor downhearted”12 but he also tells Margaret that he’s thinking about “what[their happy marriage] might have been had[happened] [if] this war [did] not intervened”13 in the same letter.
Murray said he is not downhearted to give her sense of safety about him at the war, however, at the same time, he did not hide frustration about the war holding them back from the happy marriage. About 2 months later, he expressed his personal reflection about the war n the letter: “We had thought to be living our lives together in piece F[f]ann. how fate plays tricks with human plans. “14 Murray was amazed how the war derailed his future plans they had in mind in such an unpredictable way.
As suggested in the beginning, he was an implement dealer not a career soldier; and, he probably had never thought he’d be a soldier nor supported the war. Everything 112 ! Littleton ! Eliminating ! 14 ! Elongation Matura’s 6 that seemed to be real and going smoothly sank out of his sight, then his life changed dramatically. The war relocated him in a grim battlefield in an unknown country. There is no doubt that Murray was excited about what the future holds for him and Margaret.
Perhaps, he tried the very best he could to survive on the battlefield, so that he can be back to his “Honey Girl”1 aback in the country. The following shows how he ended the letter written on the letter written on July 7th, 1918; “The way you showed yourself so all mine honey girl is one of the sacred memories I have taken to France … L loved you with my whole heart… N[n]owe kisses and all love and honor to the mother of our children. Your faithfully Murray’16. This quote shows Murray strong love towards Margaret and it also his want to settle down and raise a family.
The ending of the letter “all love and honor to the mother of our children” shows his idealistic perspective about domestic pleasure as a father and husband. This specific written on July 7th, 1918 is interesting because Murray strong feeling as never before is enclosed into the writing. Perhaps, he was afraid if he can survive as the war went on for a long time, so he tried to convince himself to live by feeling hopeful about the future. Sadly, Murray could not raise a loving family with Margaret as he desired, more pathetic still, he was killed in action on August 9th, 1918.
On November 1 lath same year, only three months later his death, the WWW ended. II 51 Elongation ! Eliminating Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, 7 July, 1918, WWW Collection, Matura’s 7 After his death in France, many letters from family and friends were delivered to Margaret but not from her fiancee anymore. It seems her family and friends were teary about Murray death, at the same time, also trying to cheer her up: Oh Margaret I hardly know what to write but I want you to feel you have my sympathy despite my own feelings as yet it seems impossible to realize the truth.
I have had no further correspondence but seen his dear name in the list… Yours affectionately Murray Mother”17 ” You know How Sorry I am for you I cannot tell you You will Just know and I know how Brave you are going to be… Heaps of Love Sorrowing P[? ]e” “Only today did I hear of your great sorrow,When any one I love is in sorrow it makes my heart ache Oh Dear… Lovingly Elsie”18 Many of her friends and family almost immediately wrote to Margaret when they eared the sad news. This shows how much Murray was loved by people around him and the strength of their bond between family and friends.
The letters were filled with thoughtful expressions of sympathy. However, it also sounded like they got used to write letter of sympathy on the death on young soldiers as there were many killed and wounded soldiers; “This is a sad time for the Wellington Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, 4 September , 1918, WWW Collection, www. Contraindicates. Ca Wellington Murray Dennis and Margaret Munroe letter, 7 September , 1918, WWW Matura’s 8 people of Canada such long lists of killed & wounded coming in every day’ 19.
Some of the letters praised his braveness fighting his last breath for the war effort: “l know you will be proud as we are for the one who is so grand for he is not dead but sleepers… Your loving niece Georgia”20 “Mingled with your sorrow there must – be a feeling of pride that your friend gave his life for such a noble cause… Yours sincerely Ethel Radcliff”21 It appears people who lived during WWW considered being sacrificed for the war is noble and honorable. This is a twisted convention because what Murray wanted on the battlefield is to being back home and live in piece with Margaret.
Battles fought, invented efficient weapons, numbers of soldiers killed or treaty that ended everything after such turbulence; those are the “facts” I learned in history or social classes. Reading the letter collection of Murray expanded brought me a different perspective to wars. Wars are not only about those “facts” and their cause and effect; there are plethora of personal stories behind them. Murray was a soldiers but, at the same time, he was young. He had a bright future ahead of him, and it has just started to shape itself.
There is no reason for me to demur at this statement. But then, there are wars still going on around the world. I wonder why, after 14 years from the beginning on 21st century, violence is still used as a last resort. I wonder if there is such a thing as ending of the use of violence. I was grown in Japan where all children receive peace education, and always thought, as a child, starting a war had disappear from options. It is sad that there are parts in the world where people are forced to live under the tension and straining situations.