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War Literature
(Vera Brittain/ Sebastian Faulks)

Testament of Youth, a haunting autobiographical elegy written over the years 1900-1925 by Vera Brittain powerfully contrasts with the fictional account of the First World War present in the novel Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. One of the contrasting features that both these texts display is that although they are both love stories they are presented from very different points of view: one male and one female. This is a particularly contrasting feature because the War severely affected their existing different worlds. At this time in history women?s roles were very different to that of their male counterparts and the war did nothing but highlight this difference. Both of these texts share the fact that they both display this difference between their roles.

Faulks concentrates on his main character, Stephen Wraysford, a young man currently serving in the front lines in France, successfully using third person narrative. Whereas on the other hand Vera Brittain uses the first person because she is the main character and she is writing retrospectively on the war years part of which she spent serving as a ?Sister Voluntary Aid Detachment, nurse and orderly all in one?. This could be seen as a similarity, as both central characters are both positively taking part in the war effort and serving their country. They are also both describing the harrowing conditions that could be witnessed at the front lines. However these descriptions come from different perspectives, one from the view of a combatant lieutenant fighting the enemy on the battlefields, whereas Brittain is fighting to save the enemy and the British Army. Brittain is more of an observer to the unnerving trench warfare that could be found on the battlefield. This is a key similarity because startling, negatively pastoral imagery such as ?orange slime? And a zigzagged cesspool, thigh deep in sucking mud that was diluted by the excreta of over run latrines,? which is used to describe some of the tormenting norms of War is present in both texts.

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