#3 What if I was in that situation?

Whilst reading ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’, sometimes I think about the part I would play in watching someone close to me feel the creeping cold shoulder of death rising in a moment in his or her life. In tutorials this week as a collective we discussed the way in which Paul tries to comfort young, 19-year-old Franz Kemmerich on his deathbed. My first reaction was looking towards the way Remarque describes Kemmerich’s death through the eyes of Paul. By taking a visual point of view he continually describes his appearance as it develops to being greyer and duller each time he mentions it.

“He looks a terrible, yellow & pallid and his face already has those weird lines that we are all so familiar with because we’ve seen them a hundred times before.”

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The motif of dying soldiers as a repetitive framework adds to the evanescence, the feeling after you lose something or someone you love or cherish. The faint memory of previously lost brothers makes the situation become bittersweet. For instance, if I was placed in this exact situation, the bittersweet feeling may simultaneously crush my emotions by watching someone close to me slowly drift away, but in like manner, this same feeling would have occurred multiple times. As a result leaving my status at that very time to be shaken, blank and being confronted once again by the cold breath of death.

The thorough description creates an image painted by the emotions of dying. Similarly, I believe my approach towards this situation would align with Paul’s. As uncomfortable as he is by watching a fellow soldier turn cold and pale by the second, his inside thoughts never slip out. Instead, professes purely optimistic and comforting words to lift up Kemmerich’s final moments. For example, Paul makes this remark;

“It is obvious to everyone that Kemmerich is never going to leave this room”

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But obviously, comforts Kemmerich by giving him words of encouragement and support such as;

“Chin up, Franz. ”

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All in All, I believe that Paul’s stance in this situation is fairly appropriate. Due to this condition being extremely unique an individual never truly knows the correct things to say. Paul continuously is shown to speak openly about how death is like a person. He personifies death as a creeping monster eating it’s way through Kemmerich. I agree with this notion if my close friend was lying in a bed waiting to die I would blame death for taunting with their lives too.

“…death is working its way through him”

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It’s just a circumstance soldiers in war had to go through….


Erich Maria Remarque’s ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’




#2 Peer Review

Hi Sibel,
I found you interpretation and extension of the ‘Heart of Darkness’ quote to be rather intriguing. I particularly liked the fact that you created a paragraph with short sentences to co-exist with the rapid scenery that was painted around your main character. Even though it gives no back story to the character it made me want to read on and to read more. In like manner, the connection between the image portraying slavery and the initial reaction of your protagonist gaining new information was something I extremely enjoyed. The final line, “My thoughts were heavy, I had never imagined that this would occur and now I carry a burden which I can longer ignore.” , was a brilliant addition to make the reader feel persuaded to want more.
All in all, you’ve done a really great job!

– Annaliese



#2 A letter to Mr Wilfred Owen

Dear Mr Wilfred Owen,

May I begin by saying that I have the utmost respect and adoration for your poetry pieces; they are extremely riveting and truthful. The first time I had read anything you had written was in 2015 in high school. Something about the connection you made between people, who would have been around the same age I was, dying from extremely well thought out propaganda and a duty to one’s country which I believed to be astonishing.

I would like to start by commenting on one of your works that have spoken to me, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. I was shocked at the title. I had to read it twice to then realise the irony behind the statement. Anthem is a song, a chant, a praise for the Doomed Youth, the young people who were destined to die. Your poem reveals the frank dehumanisation of soldiers and how the world sees it but turns a blind eye to it. The opening line states;

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?

— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.”

The line leaves a lasting rhetorical for whoever shall read it. Firstly it gives a sense of pretentiousness, Comparing human lives to those of dying animals. Vividly expanding one’s imagination to “passing-bells” which are similar to church bells, as they won’t be strung at the deaths of the soldiers. As these individuals are the doomed youth, which is fated to fall in great numbers like cattle stock. As cryptic as the first line may be it pushes the idea that war is only a means to an end for these young males. Your extreme use of onomatopoetic language creates a sensory image for people who don’t understand the true environment of war.

Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle

Can patter out their hasty orisons.”

This quote makes readers recognise the brutality of the disturbance of war. The harsh consonance, as well as alliteration, formulates a deafening pain. The sensory imagery is used alert our minds. ” rifles’ rapid rattle”. Owen uses this as a remembrance of the noise and the reoccurring feeling that it creates. In like manner, the loud and hard hitting sounds are being contrasted to the way loved ones pray for their safety the next line, “Can patter out their hasty orisons.” opens up a difference scene, a ‘snapshot’ scene of the families and communities back home waiting and prayer for the ones they love.

“Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes

Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;

Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.”

 This stanza shows the final goodbye from the young soldiers. Owen portrays the doomed youth in this slight moment the realisation of what they have got themselves into. That they are now saying goodbye to the world they’ve always known, “Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes”. Although in their last moments they aren’t celebrated they are just gone. It is recognition that they are missing out on an important rite, a funeral procession. Leaving the world they know nothing to be remembered for.


The general community is commonly blindsided to the horrific events, which take place during a war. The front row seat of war isn’t filled with every person on the planet but for these chosen few, from the moment the soldiers arrive their lives change. They have to watch anger, betrayal and death right before their very eyes but most importantly don’t get any proper religious praise in the form of a funeral or any praise for that matter for risking their lives to protect and be patriarchs for their country. Your poem recognises the moments that both parties the soldiers and the family members are left without and I would like to thank you for sharing your experiences through your writing.

I’m truly glad I have received the opportunity to write to you!

Kind Regards,

Annaliese Ferraro
20th Century Literature 2016



#1 Peer Review

Wow. As this is the first blog that I’ve read other than my own, I cannot believe what i have just read. The entire blog focuses on an outer perspective and comparing a dandelion to the human experience. I comprehended your blog to be a fantastically formed metaphor of what life throws at individuals and shapes them to how they are today. I particularly loved the sentence “…how the softest pressure of breath removed all of the petals from the stem and the light weight of the individual petals were able to be carried and lifted by the wind.”. Overall you’ve done an incredible job, I was moved by the smallest of experiences.



#1 Gerard Manley Hopkins

Welcome back to the second edition of my blog. This semester I will be analysing and unfold the authors of some amazing texts from the 20th Century. The 20th Century became one of the written cries for help, finding one’s self and most prevalent about World War 1 and World War 2.

20 years after his death, Gerard Manley Hopkins was great exposure. 1918, was the first time and publication of the brutally deep truth he hid inside his poems. It was then that it became accessible to the readers of the world. At first glance, anyone could recognise clear but strong images of sound, sight, texture, word creation and much more revived techniques. This can be viewed within the journals that Hopkins kept. Through the journals, Hopkin’s could be seen as an intense observer of the world as he could see past the beauty and recognise the daunting truth about the world around him.

A poem, which was written by Hopkins in 1877 “As Kingfishers Catch Fire”, enlightens readers through his adaptation of nature as a collective and metaphorical delivery as the true nature of a human being in this piece. The poem begins with the simile “As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame” representing that the kingfisher (a type of bird) is drawing the fire and the flame from the sunlight. This can be acknowledged as drawing the emotions and feelings from everyday experiences. Which I believe is the precise essence of one’s life, identifying their feelings and emotions. “Selves” preaches that everyone has an individual life and substance which is speaking out. That every life on this planet whether its human and/or being is alive and dwells on the rightness and pain which they have to be a part of. Throughout the first stanza the onomatopoetic words such as “swung, tung, fling, hung, plucked, tucked and tumbled” all vividly echo the sounds of life and the obstacles that people go through. The second paragraph expresses “the just man justices” revealing how a being should act in times, proving that a just person acts in a just manner. A spiritual connection is then portrayed by saying “To the Father through the features of men’s faces”. It recognises Christian education, knowing that it is the Father (God), that Christians look up to and identifying the grounds of one’s self and being one with The Father.




Left: en.wikipedia.org

Right : www.hotel-r.net

So why has Gerard Manley Hopkins done this? Well, it is now made clear to me that Hopkins expresses his deep, analysed thoughts of what life is for human beings through unveiling the darkness beneath the light through sight, sound and texture. By doing so he creates a vivid image in his reader’s minds and as a result, individuals connect and agree with his point of view. I also see that Hopkins wants to let the readers know that he actually can reiterate a deeper collective of words in his own unique way. He does so by comparing unlikely things, for example, a Kingfisher and a Dragonfly. I can also appreciate his religious influence as he creates a ‘grace’ view in the eyes of The Father.