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AQA English Literature A: LTA1B World War One Literature

David Dunford | Wednesday April 02, 2014

Categories: Hot Entries, Poetry, World War One, Writing, Literary Analysis, Non-Fiction Analysis, Poetry Analysis, AQA A Level English Literature A, LTA1, KS5 Archive, AQA A Level

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There can be little doubt why so much has been – and continues to be - written about WW1, both at the time and in the nearly 100 years since it began. Perhaps the reasons can be divided into two groups.

No conflict like it had ever occurred before:

  • The numbers of people involved.
  • The appalling conditions, particular on the Western Front.
  • The growing sense of waste and futility.
  • The loss of vast numbers, sometimes significant parts of a community, with few signs of progress.
  • The sense that some people profited from the fighting, and perhaps tried to make it continue.
  • The number of lives damaged or ruined, through physical or mental injury.
  • The effect on families, friends, wives, girl-friends back home, whose lives were often changed for ever.
  • Social changes that had an on-going effect, even after the War was over, particularly the role of women.
  • The final destruction of the Victorian and Edwardian sense of optimism and the perfectibility of society.
  • Growing cynicism about the value of religious faith.

Conditions on the Front encouraged writing:

  • Long periods of waiting for action.
  • Developments such as tinned food meant that fighting was all-year round, with even longer to wait.
  • Intense feelings of loyalty to each other, mutual support, companionship, love.
  • Lack of news from families etc.
  • Popularity of pre-War Georgian poetry encouraged writing in “ordinary? language.

Some of these have not yet been main subjects of extracts, but could be referred to. Often an extract might deal with more than one of these themes: for example, lack of contact with home and heroism.

Section A: Contextual Linking

What does “Contextual linking? mean?
You are looking for similarities in topic, theme, genre, FSL, etc. between an unseen extract and your wider reading.
(Please note: you are not asked to say how typical the extract is of World War One literature; that requirement disappeared several years ago!)

At first...

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