Thursday, April 05, 2007

"But he looked at every foot himself"

"Madam! If the brains of an army aren't, the life of an army is. . . in its feet. . . ."(429)

Christopher examined twenty-nine thousand toe-nails, and Sylvia could hardly believe that he would occupy himself with such things.

Sylvia had clearly never heard of trench-foot.

Trench-foot was a particular ailment of the First World War which arose from standing in water for hours and days on end in the trenches. It was a debilitating fungus which often lead to gangrene and the amputation of the toes and feet of soldiers.

By the end of 1914, 20,000 British casualties could be attributed to this condition. With so many soldiers being outright killed or maimed by the machine guns, or drowned in mud, or rendered senseless by shell-shock, it comes as no surprise that Christopher would want to inspect the feet of his troops personally. Christopher's sense of duty to his men and responsibility for their welfare would not have taken this disease, or its results, lightly.

I'll spare you any nasty pictures.

Source: "Trench Foot" at First World War dot com

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

War: Effects & Shell-shock

The soldiers:

“He only drinks because he’s shell-shocked. He’s not man enough else, the unclean little Nonconformist (Ford, 359)”.

“Mckechnie’s face worked convulsively, he swallowed as men are said to swallow who suffer from hydrophobia (450)”. Mckenchie is a psychological victim of the war, from the very beginning Christopher judges him to be a mad lunatic, “There were a great many kinds of madness. But what kind was this? The fellow was not drunk. He talked like a drunkard, by the was not drunk (298)”.

“The prevailing mood of those who had been for some time in the trenches was one of acute melancholia; the foul conditions, the constant danger, and the lack of sleep produced such mental depression that the troops felt no desire to kill anyone except their well-dressed proper generals, who were more at home on the narrow path of virtue than on the narrow duckboards of the trenches (Lytton, 197).”

As demonstrated in C.S. Forrester’s The General, the generals had no qualms about ordering their troops to slaughter, for a valiant purpose. Under the command of these generals, the army of the old tradition is completely wiped out. The soldier’s greatest threat is perhaps not the enemy before him, but the general behind him who will order him forward to his death.

In turn, the officer class must face other challenges, namely those from home.

“Heavy depression settled down more heavily upon him. The distrust of the home Cabinet, felt by then by the greater part of that army, became like physical pain (Ford, 297)”.

Christopher:

“His tiny hands seemed about to fall off at the wrists; his temples shuddered with neuralgia (371)”. The war had far reaching effects, even on soldiers and officers who were not on immediate front line. Christopher suffers from fatigue, shedding sleep in favour of duty. The incident of O Nine Morgan makes an impression on him that stays with him for the rest of the war; it becomes an “accursed obsession (484)”. The thought of the death, the noise, and the mud is enough to drive him insane. When the general reveals his plan to send him up the line, Christopher’s senses are overwhelmed with the remembrance of noise and mud.

Lyton, Neville. The English Country Gentleman. London : Hurst & Blackett, 1925

Summary of Part Three Chapter Two

Summary:
General Campion is writing a confidential memorandum to the Secretary of State for War, as he waits for Tietjens and Levin. He thinks about England’s military strategy, the whole of military history. The general asks Tietjens and Levin to sit down when they entered his office. Levin slides a memorandum slip on to the general’s desk. It says: “T. agrees completely, sir, with your diagnosis of the facts, except that he is much more ready to accept General O’H.’s acts as reasonable. He places himself entirely in your hands” (Ford, 469). Knowing this, the general feels relieved as he is very attached to both Tietjens and O’Hara. As Tietjens sits in front of him, past memory flows in his mind. He recalls “he had lived the greater part of his life with his sister, Lady Claudine Sandbach, and the greater part of the remainder of his life at Groby, at any rate after he came home from India and ruing the reign of Tietjens’ father. He had idolized Tietjens’ mother, who was a saint! What indeed there had been of the idyllic in his life had really all passed at Groby, if he came to think of it” (Ford, 470). Since Groby is of such great importance to him, the general wishes that “he, Tietjens, and Sylvia” can live together at Groby after his retirement. They then discuss how the English “Government’s pretence of evacuating the Western front in favour of the Middle East is probably only a put-up job to frighten our Allies into giving up the single command” (Ford, 473). Tietjens points out that the Cabinet in favour of the Eastern expedition is a one-man party, and, in response, the general accuses the man of extending the war forever. The conversation shifts to how the general was called “Butcher Campion” (Ford, 474) in South Africa. The general claims that “one has to be prepared to lose men in hundreds at the right time in order to avoid losing them in tens of thousands at the wrong!...”(Ford, 474). Tietjens begins to feel that “the general was certainly in disorder” (Ford, 474). It seems that he has overworked. Suddenly, the general says to Tietjens: “in case we never met again, I do not wish you to think me an ignoramus” (Ford, 475). He lets Tietjens know that he has been promoted to be sent to the front line. Being overwhelmed by this tragic notification, Tietjens’ mind becomes chaotic. The general explicitly tells Tietjens that he no longer wishes to be involved in Tietjens’ private life. Tietjens’ come to realize that “he had never been so depressed or overwhelmed” (Ford, 479). O’Hara becomes the next topic between the two men, followed by the unhappy marriage between Tietjens and Sylvia. The general insists on find out the cause of their unhappy marriage and asks: “What the hell are you?...You’re not a soldier. You’ve got the makings of a damn good soldier. You amaze me at times. Yet you’re a disaster; you are a disaster to every one who has to do with you. You are as conceited as a hog; you are as obstinate as a bullock…You drive me mad….And you have ruined the life of that beautiful woman…For I maintain she once had the disposition of a saint…Now! I’m waiting for you explanation!” (Ford, 481). Tietjens says that he used to be a statistician as a civilian, but the general becomes furious about the fact that Tietjens couldn’t give the Department the fake statistics they wanted. Campion then explains why he cannot stop Tietjens from being send to the front. Shyly, he tells Tietjens that “though wrong may flourish, right will triumph in the end!” (Ford, 482). Tietjens enjoys commanding divisional transport, because it “was like a vision of Paradise to Tietjens. For two reasons: it was relatively safe, being concerned with a lot of horses…and the knowledge that he had that employment would put Valentine Wannop’s mind at rest” (Ford, 483). Fears of shellshock and mud take over Tietjens’ mind. Once again, the general asks what Tietjens is going to do with Miss Wannop and Sylvia. Tietjens assures that general that he does not plan to have any relationship with Miss Wannop. On the other hand, regarding Sylvia, Tietjens says: “We ought to have separated years ago. It has led to the lady’s pulling the strings of all these shower-baths….” (Ford, 488). Feeling the urge to pour out all his questions, the general inquires Tietjens whether or not he is a Socialists. In reply, Tietjens says: “if it’s Sylvia that called me a Socialist, it’s not astonishing. The last megatherium” (Ford, 490). McKechnie, according to the general, is modern, while Tietjens is a man of the past. Tietjens now recognizes that the society “wanted the war won by men who would at the end by either humiliated or dead. Or both. Except, naturally, their own cousins or fiancées’ relatives” (Ford, 496). After a discussion on the quality of being in harmony with one’s own soul, they go to dinner. “To Tietjens this was like the sudden bursting out of the regimental quick-step, as after a funeral with military honors the band and drums march away, back to barracks” (Ford, 500).

War between men and women:
“I have contemplated it. That’s a weakening of the moral fibre. It’s contemplating a fallacy as a possibility. For suicide is no remedy for a twisted situation off a psychological kind. It is for bankruptcy. Or for military disaster. For the man of action, not for the thinker. Creditors’ meetings wipe the one out. Military operations sweep on. But y problem will remain the same whether I’m here or not. For it’s insoluble. It’s the whole problem of the relations of the sexes” (Ford, 491).
Campion’s Knowledge of Men (alcohol, money, and sex):
“Be worked for by men that you trust: but distrust them all the time – along certain lines of fraility; liquor, women, money! Well, he had long knowledge about men!” (Ford, 480).
“He looked down at the blanket on the table. He intended again to look up at Tietjens’ eyes with ostentatious care. That was his technique with men. He was successful general because he knew men. He knew that all men will go to hell over three things: alcohol, money…and sex” (Ford, 498).
Mechanical/inhumanity taking over nature/humanity
“But he considered that the civilian element in the Government was so entirely indifferent to the sufferings of the men engaged in these operations…” (Ford, 467).
“Besides, some damn fool of a literary civilian had been writing passionately letters to the papers insisting that all horses and mules must be abolished in the army…Because of their pestilence-spreading dung” (Ford, 484).
“One has to be prepared to lose men in hundreds at the right time in order to avoid losing them in tens of thousands at the wrong!...”(Ford, 474).
“You extinguished the Horse, invented something very simple and became God! That is the real pathetic fallacy” (Ford, 496).
Tietjens’ Toryism:
“’It’s a question, sir,’ Tietjens said, ‘of which is the best way. For the country and yourself. I suppose if one were a general one would like to have commanded an army on the Western front….” (Ford, 472).
Comradeship:
“I’ve such an absolute belief in your trustworthiness. I know you won’t betray what you’ve seen….What I’ve just said…” (Ford, 474).
“One’s friends ought to believe that one is a gentleman. Automatically. That is what makes one and them in harmony” (Ford, 497).
Tietjens’ mind detached from his body:
“Tietjens said, but he did not know where the words came from: ‘Colonel Partridge will not like that. He’s praying for McKechnie to come back!” To himself he said: ‘I shall fight this monstrous treatment of myself to my last breath” (Ford, 477).
“Tietjens said to himself: ‘Great heavens! I’ve been talking to him. What in the world about?’ It was as if his mind were falling off a hillside” (Ford, 485).
Tietjens belongs to the past:
“Ruggles told my father what he did because it is not a good thing to belong to the seventeenth or eighteenth centuries in the twentieth. Or really, because it is not good to have taken one’s public school’s ethical system seriously. I am really, sir, the English public schoolboy. That’s an eighteenth-century product…Other men get over their schooling. I never have. I remain adolescent. These tings are obsessions with me. Complexes, sir!” (Ford, 480).

Summary of Part Three Chapter One

Summary:
Tietjens wakes up. General Campion and Colonel Levin are both present in front of him. Campion asks Teitjens a series of trivial questions with formality. It was “the extreme politeness of the extremely great to the supremely unimportant!” (Ford, 445). The general demands Teitjens to put on his belt, and informs Teitjens that he will be walking around his cook-houses with Teitjens. The general leaves, and Tietjens marches back to the hut. “It was purgatory” (Ford, 447). He arrives at the hut, and starts to converse with McKechnie, who “complains that he is the senior officer and should command this unit” (Ford, 449). Levin tells McKechnie to give up on the thought and leave the hut. Soon, Levin and Tietjens are on their way to meeting with the general. “In the winter sunlight Levin tucked his arm under Tietjens’, leaning towards him gaily and not hurrying. The display was insufferable to Tietjens, but he recognized that it was indispensable” (Ford, 450). On the way, Levin inquires “Was O’Hara drunk last night or wasn’t he?” (Ford, 451). Levin reveals the general, as well as his own concern for what happened at the hotel last night. He also lets Tietjens becomes aware of the fact that Tietjens talk while he sleeps. Levin says “we used to say when we were boys…that if you talk in your sleep…you’re …in fact a bit dotty?” (Ford, 453). Tietjens explains that this queer habit results from the pressure and stress from the war. Then the two men engage in an intense conversation regarding what did Tietjens say in his sleep and what happened last night. To explain the general’s major trouble, Levin tells Tietjens that he said Miss Wannop’s name a lot in his sleep. Levin continues and says “you appeared to be writing a letter to her. And the sunlight streaming in at the hut. I was going to wake you, but he stopped me. He took the view that he was on detective work, and that he might as well detect. He had got it into his mind that you were a Socialist” (Ford, 457). Tietjens becomes emotional and claims that he is not afraid of being cut out. After calming down, Levin speaks more of General O’Hara’s accusations against Tietjens, and Tietjens beings to reveal more about what happened last night. “General O’Hara came to my wife’s room and burst in the door. I was there. I took him to be drunk. But from what he exclaimed I have since imagined that he was not so much drunk as misled. There was another man lying in the corridor where I had thrown him. General O’Hara exclaimed that this was Major Perowne. I had not realized that this was Major Perowne…he was looking round the door. My wife was in a state…bordering on nudity. I had put my hand under his chin and thrown him through the doorway” (Ford, 460). Tietjens further remarks the fact that Major Thurston has told General Caomion “that Mrs. Tietjens was with Major Perowne. In France” (Ford, 462). “He hears Major Perowne shouting about black mail and thieves….I dare say this town has its quota of blackmailers. O’Hara might well be anxious to catch one in the act” (Ford, 463). Tietjens concludes that he has told Levin everything about what happened last night.
Tietjen’s mind detached form his body:
“His legs heflt like detached and swollen objects that he dragged after him. He must mater his legs. He mastered his legs.” (Ford, 447).
“I think I have now told you everything material….” (Ford, 464).
Comradeship
“In the winter sunlight Levin tucked his arm under Tietjens’, leaning towards him gaily and not hurrying. The display was insufferable to Tietjens, but he recognized that it was indispensable” (Ford, 450).
“I remember that my orderw were conflicting just before
Tietjens’ Toryism:
“It was no doubt, really the voices form without that had awakened Tietjens, but he preferred to think the matter a slight intervention of Providence, because he felt in need of a sign of some sort!” (Ford, 444).
“If we lose, they win. If success is necessary to your idea of virtue – virtus – they then provide the success instead of ourselves. But the thing is to be able to stick to the integrity of your character, whatever earthquake sets the house tumbling over your head….That, thank God, we’re doing…” (Ford, 454).
The Parade of History:
“We lie and betray and are wanting in imagination and deceive ourselves, always, at about the same rate. In peace and in war! But, somewhere in that view there are enormous bodies of men….If you got a still more extended range of view over this whole front you’d have still more enormous bodies of men. Seven to ten million….All moving towards places towards which they desperately don’t want to go. Desperately! Every one of them I desperately afraid. But they go on. An immense blind will forces them in the effort to consummate the one decent action that humanity has to its credit in the whole of recorded history; the one we are engaged in” (Ford, 454).
“Only there will be no more parades. Sooner or later it has to come to that for us all…” (463).

How are we to understand Sylvia Tietjens?

-Most problematic and difficult to understand
-Presented herself to Ford's imagination as a pagan goddess.
-In Some Do Not-Sylvia is compared to Mythological Astarte, Phoenician goddess of love and fertility, and Lamia, in greek stories the witch who sucked human blood.
-Sylvia is neither of these.
-Never reducible to a single fixed aspect.
-"To be seductive and to be chaste" is the condition she aspires to.
-Ford uses the verb coil in connection with Sylvia to suggest a snake, the imagery is connected with her suffering.
-She loves Christopher for his mind but hates his ideas.

(Source: Sondra Stang. Critical Essays on Ford Madox Ford.G.K Hall & Co.Boston, Massachusetts)

Who is Christopher Tietjens? What is he like?

-He is regarded as a Saint
-He cherishes forgiveness
-Sylvia complains that he closes himself in "invisible bonds"-make him seem cold and feelingless, though he is neither.
-Has extraordinary self-control
-He is a gentleman (refuses to divorce Sylvia, even though she committed adultery)
-Decided to live with Valentine-a way of freeing himself and healing himself.

Does Tietjens represent a Christ figure?


There are a few attributes that Christopher has that sometimes make us picture him as a Christ figure. Those attributes are:
1st-it is his name Christopher
2nd-it is his mania for self-sacrifice
3rd-it is his duality of mind and body
4th-it is his refusal to accept Groby
5th-it is his mental anguish (he is deserted by his Father)
6th-it is the calumnies and slanders that press upon him like a crown of thorns
7th-it is the burden of guilt he bears like a cross
All of these attributes are very close to the Bible and to the Christ.

Integrity of Tietjen's character

In No More Parades, Sylvia seems to have her private war that connects with World War so that the two are reflecting human suffering. In my understanding Ford sees the real suffering of the war to be mental rather than physical. There are two things that Tietjens cannot escape from. One is the mental anguish of war. The other is the consequences of his private life. It seems that the public conflict blends in with the private one in No More Parades. For example, Tietjens says when talking about the world " but the thing is to be able to stick to the integrity of your character, whatever earthquake sets the house tumbling over your head" (p.454) In this quote I believe that he means that no matter how difficult things get you always have to be true to yourself and only then one can achieve victory over evil.

SCREAMING!


The painting above is Edvard Munch’s The Scream. I thought it would be an adequate opening to my discussion on “screaming” within Parade’s End.

Freud talked to many patients with neurotic or hysterical symptoms. After organizing these patients’ experience and thoughts, he concludes that their problem stemmed from repressed and unconscious desires of a sexual nature. The “psychic apparatus” habitually represses these desires. As a result, these repressed wishes and lust become preserved by autonomic function of the brain. Freud suggests that these patients need to lose control of their feelings, and clear out the pain, agony, grief, or stress they have stored in their unconscious mind. Screaming is one of the methods that can help patients to lose control.

Screaming has appeared several times throughout Parade’s End. Ford attempts to illustrate World War I as a Freudian outcome. He points out that the aristocrats, or the ruling class, are not living up to expectations. They are not leading the country properly. Instead, they are corrupted. The only thing that they concern is how to hold the Façade of prosperity and respectability. By avoiding their responsibility, stress and guilt build up unconsciously. Eventually, World War I comes as an eruption of this crisis in the Edwardian era. It injects new vigor into England. The war, in a sense, is the loudest scream.

Freud Ford’s attempt t initiated with the mentioning of Freud on p. 37, when Sylvia said “I prefer to pin my faith to Mrs. Vanderdecken. And, of course, Freud.”

P. 99 “Mr. Duchemin, suddenly feeling the absence of the powerful will that had seemed to overweigh his own like a great force in the darkness, was on his feet, panting and delighted: ‘Chaste!’ He shouted.” Mr. Duchemin is an example of how the aristocracy has diminished in England. As a member of the ruling class, he is not even sane enough to make decisions. He has no virtue, and is incapable of giving speech that inspires. As he feels the “absence of the powerful will,” and perceives that he is not being a responsible aristocrat, he shouts and erupts. Mrs. Duchemin screams as well, because she has to maintain her image as an amiable housewife all the time. She keeps on tolerating Mr. Duchemin’s ridiculous speech and behavior. The anger she suppressed need to be released.

P. 139 “Not ten yards ahead Tietjen saw a tea-tray, the underneath of a black-lacquered tea-tray, gliding towards them, mathematically straight, just rising form the mist. He shouted, mad, the blood in his head. His shout was drowned by the scream of the horse; he had swing it to the left.” This passage shows the violence of mechanical civilization intruding the nature. Horses are symbol of nature in English culture and tradition. The horse screams because the governing class would rather drive. Its scream shows tension that has being building up for a long time prior to the outbreak of the war.

P. 145 “They were dashing from rock to rock on the cliff face, screaming, with none of the dignity of gulls. Some of them even let fall the herrings that they had caught…” The gulls are used to represent the aristocrats. Members of the ruling class, as they let out their emotion by screaming, are losing the dignity they posses. The etiquettes they learned, and their stoic practices have all been reduced to naught. They drop their respectability and prosperity just like the gulls drop the herrings they caught.

P. 177 “Sylvia screamed piercingly: ‘Stop! Stop! Stop!’” Sylvia’s emotional outburst is inevitable as she has always been as ice and cold as alabaster. She suppressed her guilt for causing the death of Tietjens’ father inadvertently, and her grief for the death of Father Consett. She blames the war for all her agony, and screams to let out all her suppressed emotions. She can no longer remain cold, as her eyes blaze out anger.

P. 178 “It has been remarked that the peculiarly English habit of self-suppression in matters of the emotions puts the Englishman at a great disadvantage in moments of unusual stresses. In the smaller matters of the general run of life he will be impeccable and not to be moved; but in sudden confrontations of anything but physical dangers he is apt – he is, indeed, almost certain – to go to pieces very badly.” Here, Ford addresses the fact that the Englishman are constantly under a lot of stress. Yet, they cannot release stress through crying or other emotional reactions, because this will be seen as a sign of weakness. Since Englishmen constantly suppress their inner emotions, they can break down emotionally easily.

P. 224 “For a moment he had felt temptation to stay. But it came into his discouraged mind that Mark had said that Sylvia was in love with him. It had been underneath his thoughts all the while: it had struck him at the time like a kick from the hind leg of a mule in his subliminal consciousness.” If Tietjens chooses to not go to war, he will be suppressing his emotion. By choosing to go to the war, he lets out all his inner pain. There will always be a temptation to keep emotions in one’s subliminal consciousness, since it is always easier to not deal with these emotions. As a result, stimulations, such as Sylvia, are necessary for the outburst of emotions.

P. 282 “He had two personalities. Tow or three times he had said: ‘Why don’t you kiss the girl? She’s a nice girl, isn’t she? You’re a poor b-y Tommie, ain’t cher? Well the poor b-y Tommies ought to have all the nice girls they want! That’s straight, isn’t it?...’” By not being able to speak out his mind, Tietjens is suppressing his idea and personality. His mind, like Jacob’s, becomes separated from the body. As a result, a few sentences later, Tietjens’ mind talks to him. As they suppress their thoughts, they prepare themselves, as soldiers, to erupt on the battlefield.

From Schoolboys to Gentlemen Part II

Christopher is often referred to throughout the text by Sylvia as the perfect English country gentleman. How true is he to this label?

“The country gentlemen were the magistrates, the solons, and the clergy; and that they were not also to any great extent the statesmen of the first rank only enhances the mystery of their persistence.” (Kirby, 15)

“They and their immediate families, comprising both nobility and gentry, were the aristocracy, distinguished from the other agricultural classes and from the urban bourgeoisie and proletariat, and for want of a better name have been called country gentlemen (14).” After his father’s death, Christopher inherits his father’s property, Groby. However, he rejects his wealth; because of the way it was acquired. As a result, he rejects his birthright, which others such as Levin and Mark view as strange. As we have learned from Ann’s post (http://nomoreparades.blogspot.com/2007/03/why-
was-general-so-shocked-to-hear-that.html
), his rejection of wealth is one of the reasons that the General is led to believe that he is a socialist.
In this case, his refusal of wealth does not conform to tradition. He defends his beach of tradition by the accusation that his father committed suicide under false pretences, “One’s friends ought to believe that one is a gentleman. Automatically. That is what makes one and them in harmony…. The point is, my father should not have believed him (Ford, 497)”.

“When peace and plenty eventually return to England the country life will begin again, but to a large extent there will be a new race of squires; no one can foretell how they will compare with the squires of the past. We have seen how that in the nineteenth century they had no longer the splendid quality of the eighteenth century, for the simple reason that they became merely sporting and bucolic, and neglected the refinements of taste and culture without which no one can be a real gentleman (Lytton, 199-200).”

Christopher embodies the country gentleman in manner and tradition, “Of course Christopher would cultivate an English accent so show that he was an English county gentleman. And he would speak correctly – to show that an English Tory can do anything in the world if he wants to (Ford, 408)”. Throughout the text, we are reminded by Christopher of what a gentleman should do what he should not do – for example he abhors making a scene in front of the lower classes/servants, sees the war as a duty of patriotism, and refuses to divorce Sylvia because it is not a gentlemanly thing to do. As a superior officer he suppresses emotion in front of his troops, “It is proper that one’s individual feelings should be sacrificed to the necessities of a collective entity (357).” Christopher provides an example of the “stiff upper lip” that often characterizes the British protagonist to the point of stereotype.

Sources:

Chester, Kirby. London: James Clarke and Company, 1937
Lyton, Neville. The English Country Gentleman.
London
: Hurst & Blackett, 1925

Military Ranks

I thought it might be useful to go over the ranks in the British military, for people like me who are not familiar with the responsibilities and rights of the various positions.

From lowest to highest, here they are:

Lance Corporal
The lowest rank of a non-commissioned soldier. It refers, simply, to a seasoned soldier. The name comes from the Italian lanzia spezzata, which means literally "broken lance", or in other words, a man who has seen enough battles to have damaged his equipment.

Corporal
The second-lowest non-commissioned soldier, a corporal's job varies but in infantry he usually commands a section.

Sergeant
The third-lowest non-commissioned rank, sergeants are usually in specialist positions or in command of a platoon.
Case the cook is a sergeant.

Second Lieutenant
The lowest commissioned rank in the British army, this rank was introduced in the late 19th century to replace the rank of "Ensign".

Lieutenant
An officer who, as the original French might imply, "holds a position" in the army. Typically a commander of a platoon.
Hotchkiss and Hitchcock are Lieutenants.

Captain
A commissioned officer just below a major. The word comes from the old French capitain, which translates to "chief".
Tietjens and MacKenzie are Captains.

Major
A commissioned officer of mid-level command. From the Latin magnus which means "great".
Drake and Cornwallis are Majors.

Lieutenant Colonel
Commands a batallion.

Colonal
An old military rank for a commissioned officer dating back to the Roman times.
Levin is a Colonal.

Major General
A high ranking officer subordinate to a Brigadier General.

Lieutenant General
A rank that dates back the middle ages. Traditionally, this rank is held by the second-in-command on the battlefield. The commander of a division.

General
An officer of high military rank, it comes from the Latin genus for "class, race, kind".
Campion is the General.

Field Marshal
The highest rank of the British army, who were originally the keepers of the king's horses. He acts as commander of the army. The position may only be given out during war time, or to retiring Chiefs of the General Staff.


Sources: British Army Website
Dictionary of Ranks, Appointments and Trades

Summary of Part Two Chapter Two

Summary:
Tietjens and Sylvia are both at Lady Sachse’s feast. While Tietjens has gone to the telephone with a lance-corporal, Cowley tells Sylvia how Tietjens spent three hours “examining twenty-nine thousand toe nails…” (Ford, 398). Cowley tells Sylvia that Tietjens is a very “admirable officer” (Ford, 398), who writes letter for those who can’t write. Sylvia, attempting to find out whether or not Tietjens is having an affair with Miss Wannop, says “Of course my husband would not have time to write very full letters….He is not like the giddy young subalterns who run after skirts” (Ford, 399). Cowley laughs and says that Tietjens never chased any skirts. As Tietjens join Cowley and Sylvia’s conversation, she realizes that she is intensely and sexually attracted to Tietjens. She tells herself “It’s pure sexual passion…It’s pure sexual passion…God! Can’t I get over this?” (Ford, 400). “I can’t help it…Oh, I can’t help it….” (Ford, 401). “By God, if that beast does not give in to me tonight he never shall see Michael again” (Ford, 401). She wants to sleep with Tietjens, but she needs to know if Tietjens is in love with Valentine. She can barely wait to throw herself into Tietjens’ embrace. “Holy Mary, mother of God!...If you give me a sign I could wait” (Ford, 404). She searches for a presentable man in the room to be the sign. Tietjens and Cowley are going to the telephone, and Sylvia decides to wait for them in the smoking-room. Father Consett’s ghost appears in the smoking-room. Sylvia thinks back to how, earlier, the general asks Tietjens to go talk to the duchess about coal, as the purpose for the duchess to hold this ceremony is to discuss the price of coal. The general reveals that the duchess thinks the price of coal is too high, and that the English have put up such a high price to keep her hothouse stoves out. Tietjens suggests to the duchess that, since his family owns the largest stretch of coal-burning land in England, and the duchess owns the largest stretch of hothouses in France, they should become business partners. The general compliments Tietjens in front of Sylvia by saying “He’s got a positive genius for getting all sorts of things out of the most beastly muddles” (Ford, 409). Then, Sylvia asks the general: “Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that Christopher was a Socialist?” The general, astonished, claims that he will drum Tietjens out of service. When the general asks for evidence, Sylvia tells the general that Teitjens “is heir to one of the biggest fortune in England, for a commoner, and he refuses to touch a penny” (Ford, 411). Later, Sylvia tries to further her devilment by telling the general that Christopher desires to model himself upon Jesus Christ, which implies that Teitjens is going crazy. Sylvia promises that she’ll stop torturing Christopher and go into retreat in a convent of Ursuline Dames Nobles for the rest of her life. Then, she sees a presentable man, and recognizes that “he was to be a sign, not a prey!” (Ford, 414). Sylvia gives Tietjens a pack of letter, which she had kept away, and asks Cowley to let Tietjens read the letters for a few minutes. As Tietjens reads the letters, Sylvia thinks back on how the rumours she spread about Christopher having an affair with Valentine “smashed” (Ford, 422) Christopher’s father, instead of Christopher. Suddenly, “a gun manned by exhilarated anti-aircraft fellows, and so close that it must have been in the hotel garden, shook her physically at almost the same moment as an immense maroon popped off on the quay at the bottom of the street in which the hotel was” (Ford, 424). The general quickly cleared the room. Christopher finished reading the letters and tells Sylvia that “as far as he was concerned Groby was entirely at her disposal with all that it contained. And of course a sufficient income for the upkeep” (Ford, 430). It seems to Sylvia that Christopher is intended to get himself killed in the war. “She warned him that, if he got killed, she should cut down the great cedar at the south-west corner of Groby” (Ford, 430). In reply, Tietjens tells Sylvia that he cannot control his own death, and explains to her that he is in no great danger. To Sylvia, the war is nothing more than an “ignoble horseplay” (Ford, 431) not worth sacrificing for. She asks Christopher: “what could you not have risen to with your gifts, and your influence…and your integrity?” (Ford, 432). Later, Cowley begins to talk about how he and his wife dealt with their son’s measles. This reminds Sylvia of how Tietjens took the responsibility to take care of Michael, who suffered from measles as well. She knows “Christopher had been down to hell to bring the child back” (Ford, 437). At the end of the chapter, Sylvia and Tietjens danced in the lounge, and agreed to go to Sylvia’s room to talk.

Tietjens’ Toryism/Compassion:

Tietjens showing care for soldiers that are less fortunate by writing letters for them: “If the captain is a little remiss in writing letters…I have heard….You might say, in that respect, that thank God we have got a navy, ma’am…” (Ford, 398).
Cowley says that “if we had a laugh against him it was that he mothered the lot of us as if he was a hen sitting on addled eggs” (Ford, 399).
“But there, your born gentleman mixes with men all his days and knows them. Down to the ground and inside their puttees…” (Ford, 401).
Tietjens is unwilling to leave Cowley in the cold camp, because he cares about him and is unwilling to see him suffer. To show his gratitude for Tietjens, he tells Syvia “I might have been sitting, now, at this very moment, up in the cold camp….But for you and the captain….Up in the cold camp…” (Ford, 402). In return, Tietjens receives Cowley’s devotedness.
Sylvia tells Cowley how Tietjens helps everyone just like Jesus. “He was always helping people…He helped virtuous Scotch students, and broke-down gentry….And women take in adultery….All of them….Like….You know Who….That is his mode….” (Ford 404).
When Tietjens is talking to the duchess in French, “Of course Christopher would cultivate an English accent to show that he was an English country gentleman. And he would speak correctly – to show that an English Tory can do anything in the world if he wants to…” (Ford, 408).
An orderly asked Tietjens to sign his slip, so he can go and get married. Tietjens, after a short hesitation, signs the slip. He asks the boy: “Got anything saved up?” The boy said: “A fiver and a few bob” (Ford, 429). Tietjens gives the boy money, and adds: “Don’t’ let it get all over camp. I can’t afford to subsides all the seven months children in the battalion” (Ford, 429).
Sylvia’s Sadistic Nature:
Sylvia demands that she should be the center of Tietjens’ attention. She is queen, and it is against decency to neglect her total power to control and torture men. “If you have an incomparably beautiful woman on your hands you must occupy yourself solely with her….Nature exacts that of you…until you are unfaithful to her with a snub-nosed girl with freckles; that, of course, being a reaction, is still in a way occupying yourself with your woman!...But to betray her with a battalion…That is against decency, against Nature…” (Ford, 399).
Sylvia thinks back to the time when she finds a dead bulldog at her door. She “got the rhinoceros whip and lashed into it. There’s a pleasure in lashing into a naked white beast…Obese and silent, like Christopher….I thought Christopher might…That night…It hung down its head” (Ford, 417). Sylvia whips the dog as if it is Christopher. She wants the bulldog, or Christopher, to put down his head, and submit to her victory as a sadistic conqueror.
Freudian universal sexual drive:
When Sylvia was sitting in the smoking-lounge: “It was undeniably like something moving….All these things going in one direction….A disagreeable force set in motion by gawky school boys – but schoolboys of the Sixth Form, sinister, hobbledehoy, waiting in the corners of playgrounds to torture someone, weak and unfortunate” (Ford, 414). All things are going in one direction driven by sexual desire to torture someone weak and unfortunate.
Sylvia, in despise of men’s school boy prank says: “These horrors, these infinities of pain, this atrocious condition of the world had been brought about in order that men should indulge themselves in orgies of promiscuity. That in the end was at the bottom of male honor, of male virtue, observance of treaties, upholding of the flag….An immense warlock’s carnival of appetites, lusts, ebrieties…And once set in motion there was no stopping it. This state of things would never cease….Because once they had tasted of the joy – the blood – of this game, who would let it end?” (Ford, 438).

Summary of Part Two Chapter One

Summary:
At the lounge of the hotel, Major Perowne is trying to persuade Sylvia to leave her bedroom door unlocked that night. “He had been saying that Sylvia had ruined his life…for her he might have married some pure young thing” (Ford, 379). As Perowne begs unremittingly, Tietjens walks into the hotel with a fixed face and decides not to embarrass Sylvia by approaching her. “And yet it seemed to her, since he was so clumsy and worn out, almost not sporting to persecute him. It was like whipping a dying bulldog…” (Ford, 381). Christopher’s entrance intimidates Perowne, who has committed adultery with Sylvia. While Perowne continues to whine like an oaf, Sylvia sets her eyes on Christopher’s distant reflection in the mirror. Her mind is now completely occupied by thoughts about Christopher, and how he “would know perfectly well that those petty frightfulnesses of hers were not in the least in her note; so he would know, too, that each of them was just a try-on” (Ford, 384). Although she “had certainly meant their parting to be for good” (Ford, 385) before she went to France with Perowne, Sylvia now sees that she will reunite with her husband. Yet, the existence of Valentine Wannop casts a shadow of fret over her joy. Initially, Sylvia decided to have an affair with Perowne, because she believes that “for your wife to throw you over for an attractive man is naturally humiliating, but that she should leave you publicly for a man of hardly any intelligence at all, you priding yourself on your brains, must be nearly as mortifying a thing as can happen to you” (Ford, 390). She wishes to bring Christopher excruciating agony and pain, but soon regrets. Perowne, a clod that suffered as a child from his mother’s lack of proper care, becomes “fantastically murderous” (Ford, 392) when Sylvia tries to leave him. Moreover, beside Christopher, “other men simply did not seem ever to have grown up” (Ford, 389). Gradually, the pleasure derived from cheating on Christopher wears out. “She beings to miss Christopher” (Ford, 390), and understand how Father Consett had been right. So, with the intent to return to her husband, she writes to her husband and “removes from the letter any possible trace of emotion” (Ford, 393). Now, Sylvia decides that she is “going to investigate” (Ford 397) Christopher’s relationship with Valentine. She imagines that “This whole war was an agapemone….You went to war when you desired to rape innumerable women. It was what war was for….All these men, crowded in this narrow space….” (Ford, 387).
Sylvia’s Desire to Conquer Men:
Sylvia is in love with power rather than sex. With her extraordinary beauty, she is able to conquer men. Paradoxically, the men she had conquered turned out to be not worth conquering. While men become madly in love with her, she begins to despite these men and grow cold towards them. She is “a crule-looking woman with a distant smile…some vampire…La belle Dame sans Merci” (386). She realizes that Christopher is the only men worth conquering. “As beside him, other men simply did not seem ever to have grown up” (Ford, 389). “Men, at any rate, never fulfilled expectations” (Ford, 394). Yet, she can never conquer Christopher, because he will always remain morally superior to her. She tries to bring Tietjens pain by having an affair with “a man of hardly any intelligence at all” (Ford. 390). She “felt the most painful emotion of joyful hatred that had visited her when she had first thought of going off with Perowne” (Ford, 389). Sylvia says, “I swear I’ll make his wooden face wince yet” (Ford, 381). By remaining morally superior to her, Tietjens is waging war against Sylvia. Sex is her weapon, or her means to reach an end.
Freudian universal sexual drive:
“This whole war was an agapemone…you went to war when you desired to rape innumerable women. It was what war was for….All these men, crowded in this narrow space…” (Ford, 397). Ford suggests that there is a sexual drive behind the war. When universal sexual drive initiates a war, there will be destruction leading to the break down of boundaries separating Ego, super-ego, and id.
Sylvia’s Lack of Motherhood:
Sylvia does not care about Michael. Unlike other mothers, she occupies her mind with conquering men rather than her son. She thinks about her child only when she is bored by Perowne’s stupidity. After the long journey across half France by miserable train, she “found herself wanting to see her child, whom she imagined herself to hate, as having been the cause of all her misfortunes…” (Ford, 393). Also, when she finds out that Perowne’s mother “to give him a salutary lesson, had given so much publicity to the affair that he had become afflicted with a permanent bent towards shyness that rendered him by turns very mistrustful of himself or very boastful and, although he repressed manifestations of either tendency towards the outside world, the continual repression rendered him almost in-capable of any vigorous thought or action…” (Ford, 390), she could not careless. It simply is not her business. When she sees a man weak and needs help, instead of showing her motherly virtue inherent in her nature, “she was by no means prepared to readjust other women’s hopeless maternal misfits” (Ford, 390). Nurturing and mothering are not the purpose of her life.
Tietjens’ Toryism:
Tietjens walks into the hotel, and sees Sylvia talking to Perowne. Instead of walking up to Sylvia, Tietjens walks away and decides not to embarrass her. Then, Sylvia says “Damn his chivalry!...Oh, God damn his chivalry!” She knew what was going on in his mind. He had seen her, with Perowne, so he had neither come towards her nor directed the servant to where she sat. For fear of fear of embarrassing her! He would leave it to her to come to him if she wished” (Ford, 381).
Sylvia's Sadistic Nature:
When Tietjens walked into the hotel, “his face was intolerable. Heavy; fixed. Not insolent, but simply gazing over the heads of all things and created beings, into a world too distant for them to enter. And yet it seemed to her, since he was so clumsy and worn out, almost not sporting to persecute him. It was like whipping a dying bulldog…” (Ford, 381).

Spinning Jenny



"that they would rather the war were lost than that the calvary should gain distinction in it! . . . But it was partly the simple, pathetic illusion of the day that great things could only be done by new inventions. You extinguished the horse, invented something very simple and became God! That is the real pathetic fallacy. You fill a flower-pot with gun-powder and presto! the war is won. All the soldiers fall down dead. " (533)

In the years leading up to World War I, the theory of progress was the vogue. The theory of progress grew out of an older religious belief in teleology, that everything that happened in the world happened in order to continue toward a defined goal or end. The religious leaning of this, of course, was that God guided this process and determined its end.

When absolute faith in God faded in England, a faith in science rose to replace it. The people of the nineteenth century, having witnessed the fruits of the industrial revolution, had become enchanted with the idea of technological progress. "Great Exhibitions" were held around the world, starting in England after 1851, and existed for the expressed purpose of lauding the rapid advances of technology and the new age they heralded.

The passage quoted above illustrates just how much of an effect World War I had upon this system of beliefs. Up until that point, technology was seen as nothing but good: efficient factories meant cheaper goods, newer trains meant more convenient travel, etc. The possibilities were limitless.

World War I totally debased this optimistic teleology founded on the wonders of science. Advances in technology elsewhere also meant advances in the technology of war. The technological teleology that brought about steam engines had also brought about the machine gun and mustard gas. In this way, progress brought about the countless meaningless deaths of millions of soldiers and destroyed the world's previous understanding of warfare as an honourable man's pursuit. Certainly the "flowerpot filled with gun-powder" killed more efficiently than a man on a horse, or a knight in armour, but at what cost? At least before, men had the dignity of having a fighting chance for their survival in battle, where survival rested at least partially on skill, and you looked into the eyes of the man you would kill or be killed by.

In the same way progress had depersonalized the process of producing clothing with the spinning jenny, so to did it depersonalize warfare: no longer was it a bloody process where eventually a victor would arise through skill and good fortune, but instead killed all soldiers.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Before thy char--


"'For God's sake don't start that damned gramophone again!' In the blessed silence, after preliminary wheezings and guitar noises an astonishing voice burst out:
'Less than the dust. . .
Before thy char. . .'
And then, stopping after a murmur of voices, began:
'Pale hands I loved'
The general sprang from his chair and rushed to the hall. . . He came back crestfallenly . . . 'Dancing!' The melody had indeed, after a buzz, changed to a languorous and interrupted variation of a waltz. 'Dancing in the dark!' the general said with enhanced disgust. . . . 'And the Germans may be here at any moment. . . .'" (474-475)

After the commotion of the bombing, the first sounds to be heard are a few lines from separate songs. The first two lines of lyrics seem to reference a poem by Laurence Hope, "Less than the Dust", published in the book The Garden of Karma. Here is the full poem:

Less than the dust, beneath thy Chariot wheel,
Less than the rust, that never stained thy Sword,
Less than the trust thou hast in me, Oh, Lord,
Even less than these!

Less than the weed, that grows beside thy door,
Less than the speed, of hours, spent far from thee,
Less than the need thou hast in life of me.
Even less am I.

Since I, Oh, Lord, am nothing unto thee,
See here thy Sword, I make it keen and bright,
Love's last reward, Death, comes to me to-night,
Farewell, Zahir-u-din.


The other, from the same book and poet, was a popular Edwardian love song entitled "Kashmiri Song".

Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar,
Where are you now? Who lies beneath your spell?
Whom do you lead on Rapture's roadway, far,
Before you agonise them in farewell?

Oh, pale dispensers of my Joys and Pains,
Holding the doors of Heaven and of Hell,
How the hot blood rushed wildly through the veins
Beneath your touch, until you waved farewell.

Pale hands, pink tipped, like Lotus buds that float
On those cool waters where we used to dwell,
I would have rather felt you round my throat,
Crushing out life, than waving me farewell!


Two heart-wrenching songs of unrequited love.

The first is the lamentation of a woman who is worthless to the man she loves, an upstanding soldier of the nobility without even rust on his sword. He does not trust her, does not value her, does not need her; she is nothing to him, and the thought of it drives her to suicide.

The second is told from a man's point of view, or at least we must assume so since it would be odd for a woman to moon over a man's "pale" "pink-tipped" hands. This is the story of a man abandoned by a woman, who wonders as to her whereabouts, about who she is now leading on to disappointment in the same way she did to himself previously. This woman is capable of giving the man both pain and pleasure, but the pain of being abandoned by her is too much to bear. He would rather she'd killed him outright rather than torture him the way she has.

Sound familiar?


Sources: Representative Poetry Online
The Poetry Archive

From Schoolboys to Gentlemen Part I


http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9009582/Thomas-Arnold

Thomas Arnold was headmaster of Rugby school in 1828. He brought about reform to the English school system. He emphasized strength of character through education, and the pursuit of moral and academic excellence. Arnold also concentrated on giving a religious education, he was a devout Christian. He refined the prefectorial system which was essentially aimed at keeping younger boys out of trouble through instilment of discipline and respectability.

“Or really, because it is not good to have taken one’s public school’s ethical system seriously. I am really, sir, the English public schoolboy. That’s an eighteenth-century product. What with the love of truth that- God help me!- they rammed into me at Clifton and the belief Arnold forced upon Rugby that the vilest of sins – the vilest of all sins- its to peach to the headmaster! (Ford, 490).”

“…say you regarded me as a head master in 1912. Now I am your commanding officer- which is the same thing. You must not peach to me. That’s what you call the Arnold of Rugby touch…”

“And he was constantly impressing these sentiments upon his pupils. ‘What I have often said before,’ he told them, ‘I repeat now: what we must look for here is, first, religious and moral principle; secondly, gentlemanly conduct; thirdly, intellectual ability (Strachey)”.

Christopher is not only the last Tory of his kind; he is also the last English public schoolboy and the last English country gentleman. General Champion misjudges Christopher’s conduct; he believes that his contemptuous personal life jars with the discipline and moral code of his troops. Consequently, like a head master, he decides to commit to the greater good by sending Christopher up the line. “I am to go up into the line so that the morals of the troops in your command may not be contaminated by the contemplation of my martial infelicities (491)”. Like the prefect system, Christopher is responsible to his subordinates by providing a prime example of propriety. Due to the rather public nature of his affairs, the General is uncomfortable with having him in his current position amongst his troops, lest Christopher himself lead their weakening of moral fibre.

Sources:

http://www.thecore.nus.edu.sg/landow/victorian/history/education/rugby/bradby.html

Strachey, Lytton. http://www.bartleby.com/189/301.html

Stoic Philosophy: Suicide & Christopher

“Diogenes Laertius recounting the Stoic doctrine by saying that they consider that a man takes his own life rationally for one of the following reasons: on behalf of his country, or his friends, or if he is afflicted by intolerable pain or an incurable disease (Rist, 239).”

This passage implicates that suicide is acceptable – if it is done for the right reasons. Christopher believes his father’s suicide was obviously committed for the wrong reasons. Firstly, he chose to believe Ruggles, and on principle (Christophre’s English gentleman principles) one should not choose a stranger over one’s son.

Secondly, it can be seen as an introduction of a destruction force which threatens the family unit. “My father’s suicide was not an act that can be condoned. A gentleman does not commit suicide when he has descendants. It might influence my boy’s life very disastrously…” (Ford, 490).

Thirdly, his father should not have committed suicide because he was not under the duress of an incurable situation, and as mentioned earlier, it has introduced contamination in Christopher’s views. “But you see how bad for one’s descendants suicide is. That is why I do not forgive my father. Before he did it I should never have contemplated the idea. Now I have contemplated it. That’s a weakening of the moral fibre. It’s contemplating a fallacy as a possibility. For suicide is no remedy for a twisted situation of a psychological kind. It is for bankruptcy. Or for military disaster. For the man of action, not for the thinker (491).”

“Sometimes it is a proof of nobility to live even when circumstances are harsh (Rist, 250)”. As a part of the aristocracy, it is their function to set the standard. By committing suicide, Christopher’s father also fails to fulfill his own line of duty, his commitment to Mrs. Wannop and to his family. He also fails his duty as a father by his misplaced confidence in the words of Ruggles. For Christopher, a failure to commit to duty is a failure in the moral fibre.

Sources:

Rist, J.M. Stoic Philosophy. NY: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

Trench warfare: The Mud in No More Parades


http://www.awm.gov.au/1918/trenchwarfare/54553.htm

- The mud becomes a signifier for Christopher’s entrapment in the chaos of war. His fear stems from the event in Part III Ch. II wherein Major-General Campion, wishes to send him up the line to General Perry’s army. He realizes that it is “certain death” (476), and this prompts images of mud. The mud becomes a source of psychological anxiety.

“…the extraordinary living conditions of trench warfare were seldom evoked as contributory to shell shock. Mud, hunger, fatigue, chronic sicknesses, often continual damp, lice, and rats were seldom mentioned as possible contributors to the soldiers’ state. Even so astute an observer and therapist as Rivers (1918) preferred an essentially psychological model of causality, deriving the symptoms of war neurosis from the degree of immobility demanded of the soldier in his combat task. A fuller appreciation of the roles that might be played in symptom generation by environmental factors in the combat zone was not to come until World War II. (Ch. 5, Marlowe)”

“…back to the frozen rifle, the ground-sheet on the liquid mud, the desperate suction on the ankle as the foot was advanced (331)”.

- “There it was then: the natural catastrophe! As when, under thunder, a dam breaks. His mind was battling with the waters. What would it pick out as the main terror? The mud, the noise, dread always at the back of the mind (Ford, 477).” The mud is associated with the battling of waters; after the dam breaks the onslaught of water brings with it the danger of drowning. As we know, mud was a serious problem in trench warfare and soldiers were known to drown in it. The mud elicits from Christopher a sort of mute terror.

- “Tietjens’ mind missed a notch again… It was the fear of the mud that was going to obsess him. Yet, curiously, he had never been under heavy fire in mud… You would think that would not have obsessed him. But in this ear he had just heard uttered in a whisper of intense weariness, the words: Es ist nicht zu ertragen; es ist das dasz uns verloren hat… words in German, of utter despair, meaning: it is unbearable: it is that that has ruined us… The mud! (486).”

- “… A beginning of some November… With a miracle of unshine; not a cloud, the mud towering up shut you in intimately with a sky that arched for limpidity (486).”

Sources:

Marlowe, David H. http://www.gulflink.osd.mil/library/randrep/marlowe_paper/mr1018_11_ch5.html

Stoic ethics in No More Parades

- Stoic ethics has roots in ancient Greece, with particular influence from Socrates.

- Follows the assumption that all human beings pursue happiness, and that to achieve happiness one must follow nature by being virtuous. “…virtue is the only thing that is good in any way, shape or form. Only what can benefit us, that is, make us happy, is good; and only virtue does that (Brennan, 35).”

- They believe in a reversal of conventions. Money and fame are not considered a good; neither are health, life, and freedom. Conversely death and poverty are not bad, the only evil is that of vice, an evil that humans inflict upon themselves.

- “The most common sense in which emotions are irrational, then, is that they are false. Most of the desires that animate people most of the time- the desires for money, sex, reputation, property, and so on- are all false, inasmuch as they claim that these things are really good when in fact they are completely indifferent (96).”

- Despite having a wealthy inheritance, Christopher does not touch any of it. During the war he elects to live off his meager earnings in the military. Christopher refuses to accept the share of his father’s money because of the way he died, through suicide because of his belief in lies about Christopher. Although it would be practical to accept the money, he does not do so, on principle.

- Sylvia criticizes Christopher, “What was incredible was that Christopher should let her go on starving in such a poverty-stricken place when he had something like the wealth of the Indies at his disposal (Ford, 424)”.

- Christopher on virtue: “If we lose, they win. If success is necessary to your idea of virtue – virtus they then provide the success instead of ourselves. But the thing is to be able to stick to the integrity of your character, whatever earthquake sets the house tumbling over your head…” (Ford, 454).

Source:

Brennan, Tad. The Stoic Life. NY: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Like a Hogarth Picture

"She looked hard at the room to get her senses into order again. She said:
'It's like a Hogarth picture. . . .'
The undissolvable air of the eighteenth century that the French contrive to retain in all their effects kept the scene singularly together. On a sofa sat the duchess with one of those impossible names: Beauchain-Radigutz or something like it. The bluish room was octagonal and vaulted, up to a rosette in the centre of the ceiling. English officers and V.A.D.s of some evident presence opened out to the left, French military and very black-clothed women of all ages, but all apparently widows, opened out to the right, as if the duchess shone down a sea at sunset. Beside her on the sofa you did not see Lady Sachse; leaning over her you did not see the prospective bride. This stoutish, unpresentable, coldly venomous woman, in black clothes so shabby they might have been grey tweed, extinguished other personalities as the sun conceals planets. A fattish, brilliantined personality, in mufti, with a scarlet rosette, stood sideways to the duchess' right, his hands extended forward as if in an invitation to dance; an extremely squat lady, also apparently a widow, extended, on the left of the duchess, both her black-gloved hands, as if she too were giving an invitation to the dance." (439)

The artist Sylvia references here is William Hogarth, a British painter and engraver who rose to popularity in the early eighteenth century. He was well known for despising all things French and for his creation of a new style and function of artwork, the modern morality painting. These paintings and engravings satirized what Hogarth saw as minor and social vices, and continued into a series that would culminate with the punishment of a more major crime. His distaste for France, French people, and the import of French culture to Britain were common themes.

Interestingly enough in relation to the scene transcribed above, one of the Hogarth's popular morality paintings was the series "Marriage a la Mode":


The Marriage Settlement

Tete a Tete

The Inspection

The Toilette

The Bagnio

The Lady's Death

In this series, the progression of a marriage in the French style is shown, from writing the settlement, to inspecting the bride, to the dual between groom and the bride's lover, through to the bride's suicide after learning her lover had been hanged for the murder of her to-be groom. In the text, Sylvia witnesses the signing of a marriage settlement in which the mother refuses to participate because of the price of coal. Sylvia compares this scene to a Hogarth painting, suggesting firstly that esthetically the scene does resemble a painting by that artist in its staging and cast of characters, secondly that Sylvia views the arrangement with the same distaste that Hogarth viewed his own subjects, amd thirdly that Sylvia believes that the scene's inherent immorality would eventually lead to a tragic but fitting end, as in Hogarth's famous series. An interesting position for a woman like Sylvia to take, considering the state of her own marriage.

Does anyone with more knowledge in art history or art have anything else they'd like to add here?




Sources: "William Hogarth" at The Artchive
The British National Gallery

Freud and No More Parades

Sigmund Freud May 6 1856 - Sept 23 1939
* "In each individual there is a coherent organization of mental processes and we call this the ego. It is to the ego that consciousness is attached; the ego controls the approaches to motility- that is, to the mental agency which supervises all its own constituent processes, and which goes to sleep at night, though even then it exercises the censorship on dreams. From this ego proceeds the repressions...by means of which is sought to exclude certain trends in the mind not nearly from consciousness effectiveness and activity"(8).
*"We have come upon something in the ego itself which is also unconscious which behaves exactly like the repressed- that is, which produces powerful effects without itself being conscious and which requires special work before it can be made conscious"(9).-meaning that there is a coherent ego and the repressed which is split from it.
*"The ego is not sharply spererated from the id; its lower portion merges into it. But the repressed merges into the id as well and is merely a part of it.The repressed is only cut off sharply from the ego by the resistences of repression; it can communicate with the ego through the id.... We might add, perhaps, that the ego wears a 'cap of hearing'- on the one side only" (17-8).
*The ego seeks to bring the influence of the external world to bear upon the id and its tendencies, and endeavours to substitute the reality principle for the pleasure principle with reigns unrestrictidly in the id. For the ego, perception plays the part which in the id, falls to instinct. The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id, which contains the passions"(19).
*In this view Tietjens is pure super ego, he tries to keep everything in control, yet cracks and Sylvia is pure id.
*"The functional importance of the ego is manifested in the fact that normally control over the approaches to motility, devolves upon it. Thus in its relation to the id, it is like a man on horseback, who has to hold in check the superior strength of the horse; with this difference, that the rider tries to do so with his own strength, while the ego uses borrowed forces.... Often a rider, if he is not to be parted from his hose, is obligated to guide it where he wants to go, so in the same way the ego is in the habit of transforming the id's will into action as if it were its own"(19)
*This fits in nicely with "What about the accursed obsession with O Nine Morgan that intermittently jumped on him? All the while he had been riding Schomburg the day before, O Nine Morgan had seemed to be just before the coffin-headed brute's off-shoulder. The animal must fall.... he had had the passionate impulse to pull up on the horse. And all the time a dreadful depression! A weight!...."(484).

Source:Freud, Sigmund. The Ego and the Id.USA:W.W. Norton and Company. 1960.

*
"Repression was one of the basic planks of Freud's theory of personality, which he defined as "turning something away, and keeping it at a distance, from the conscious" (Freud ed. Freud 1991, 524) According to Freud, thoughts or feelings which cause anxiety are pushed into the unconscious, and the person then denies any awareness of the cause of the anxiety. If the repression is not completely effective, then the state of anxiety can be stimulated by the unconscious mind producing threatening feelings without the patient being aware of the reason for anxiety"(3)
*This is represented in No More Parades as the Tea-tray. Tietejens repression of emotions for Sylvia and O Nine Morgan.
*"Another characteristic of repression is "projection", in which internal perceptions are externalised and projected onto something else"(4)
*This is reflected in No More Parades when Tietjens is angry with Sylvia and projects his anger for her by angerly pointing out everyones feminine aspects in part one chapter two

Source: M.J. Geller Feud, Magic and Mesopotamia:How the magic works. November 1996.Folklore: 1997, Vol 108 1/2 .

Brief History of Aristocrats and WWI

A party for the aristocratic Edwardians.

- Most often, the British Army, Royal Naby or the Diplomatic Corps is considered to be the best continuing education an aristocrat male can get into.

- The officer corps were dominated by the aristocracy. For instance, approximately 80% of the military profession were aristocrats in 1909 and 52% of the officers of the rank of colonel and above were aristocrats in 1913 Britian, a year before war was declared.

- The cause of world war one is partially blamed on the aristocrats as militarism. The aristocrats and military elites had too much control over Germany, Russia, and Austria that the war was a consequence of wanting too much military power.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Men without conscience

Critics point out that "in contrast to Tietjens's individual conscience is the description that the war is being conducted from the sidelines by men without conscience who view the soldiers as so many statistics in the strategy of power: "All these men given into the hands of the most cynically care-free intriguers in long corridors who made plots that harrowed the hearts of the world. All these men toys, all these agonies mere occasions for picturesque phrases to be put into politicians' speeches without heart or even intelligence. Hundreds of thousands of men tossed here and there in that sordid and gigantic mudbrownness of midwinter..." (p.296).
It is clear from the critical review that the mechanization of war on a vast worldwide scale has made the individual heroism and personal glory typified by ceremonial parade obsolete. Tietjens, composing a sonnet that Mackenzie will translate into Latin, itself an anachronism amid the grim business of conducting a mechanized war, amusingly twists the motif around to rhyme with "soil": "No more parades, Not any more, no oil...(p.319). But we are immediately brought back to the bitter reality of war by the intent of the sonnet to convey the idea that where so many thousands die "there was no room for swank, typified by expensive funerals. As you might say: No flowers by compulsion...No more parades." (p.320)
Also another interesting thought is that Campion believes as does Tietjens, that the honour and reputation of a woman must be protected at all costs; a gentleman can do no less to preserve the sanctity of marriage and the home. But this ideal is lost in the modern world.

(Source: Ford. No More Parades. Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Vol.172 )

Christopher Tietjens's conscience

When reading Twentieth-century ctiticisms I came across interesting observations of the critic. He writes: The appearance of peace hides the corruption ready to war against personal reputations; the appearance of good maners and good form suppresses the violent emotions in human relationships. The war destroyed even the pretense to good form and exposed the rottenness that had always existed underneath. Tietjens, having just been informed by his brother Mark that their own father thought him "a bloddy pimp living on women", comments on this unnaturalness by observing the dead leaves in the base of a fountain: "This civilization had contrived a state of things in which leaves rotted by August. Well, it was doomed"
The motif is related to the idea of good form with its ceremonious sense of good manners, of not creating a scene, of playing the game. "The curse of the army", Tietjens says, "was our imbecile national belief that the game is more than the player. That was our ruin, mentally, as a nation"(p.305-06) At that moment the body of O Nine Morgan, still bleeding, is brought in. If Tietjens were a man without conscience, he could shrug his shoulders and say "That's war," but, since Tietjens's conscience will not allow him to shrug it off, he feels responsible for Morgan's death. By association of ideas, the sight of the blood reminds Tietjens of the wounded horse in Some Do Not...; the link here is not a remembrance of that earlier sight of blood but the whole idea of responsibility. Morgan is beyond patching up, and "the glowing image of the fellow's blood" becomes the symbol of his sense of guilt even though there was nothing he really could have done for Morgan that would have avoided disaster one way or the other.

(Source: Ford. No More Parades. Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism, Vol.172)

The Abode of Love

"She must discover. . . . But how do you discover? Against a universal conspiracy. . . . This whole war was an Agapemone. . . . You went to war when you desired to rape innumerable women. It was what war was for. . . All these men, crowded in this narrow space . . . She was going to watch every face she saw until it gave up the secret of where in that town Christopher had the Wannop girl hidden." (428)

In this passage, Sylvia compares the war to Agapemone. Agapemone was a late 19th century cult lead by former reverend Henry Prince, who suffered from delusions that lead him to believe he was the physical embodiment of the Holy Ghost. Agapemone is Greek for "Abode of Love", and in his Abode, Prince lived with a veritable harem of women, called "Spiritual Wives", who all had sold their worldly possessions and emptied their accounts in order to transfer funds to him. On one instance, Prince raped a young virgin girl in the front of his community's church congregation to the tune of organ and church choir singing hymns. She later became his head wife, and the child she had by him (even though he had claimed their union would not result in pregnancy) was considered a trick of the devil. Other men living in the community worked farms, separate from their wives if they had them, while Prince lived in comfort in the main house of the community with his pick of the women. The community was surrounded by a high wall and guarded by bloodhounds to protect Prince's followers from their family members who attempted frequently to retrieve them.

So what could this comparison mean? Despite his claims that the community was a spiritual one, most outsiders thought Prince to be a madman who used his power in the community to excuse sexual despotism. In other words, the entire community and the faith it was built on existed only for the sexual convenience of one man, who otherwise would never have been able to live such a life of luxury, surrounded by beautiful, mostly willing women.

Sylvia, therefore, is claiming that men who volunteered for the war, like her husband Tietjens, were only doing so for their sexual convenience. War in general, she believes, exists not for land, or for money, or as the result of an absurd collection of alliances or an arms race (as in World War I's case), but as an excuse for men to rape women, to shirk their spiritual and societal duties in the sexual sense and give into their baser desires, all under the cover of a more honourable excuse. Tietjens, acting as Reverend Prince, has gone to France in order to possess what he normally could not: not a harem, of course, but Valentine. Despite what everyone else has told her, Sylvia, operating under her assumptions about war, cannot accept that Valentine would not be present in the town.

Source: "The Abode of Love" at the Utopia Britannica

Ford's theme of Sex-Antagonism

Anne Marie Flanagan writes that throughout the novel, Sylvia is pictured as a woman of unnatural sexual appetites. Grossly underplayed, however is the fact that Tietjens, her husband, has refused to have sexual relations with her for several years after he discovers that she has been unfaithful to him. At the heart of the difficulties between Tietjens and Sylvia lie sexual frustration and antagonism. Ford adopts the women's movement theme of sex-antagonism, but by exploring it through a character who has no inclanations toward the movement, he is able both to reflect his society's concern about the effects of the suffrage movement on the relations between men and women and to do so without blaming the movement.

(Source: Anne Marie Flanagan. Winter 200/2001 Journal of Modern Literature:Vol 24. University of Sciences in Philadelphia.)

Tietjen's connection to the suffrage movement

After doing much reasearch I found a paper written by Anne Marie Flanagan that discusses Ford's Women who are represented in Parade's End. She writes that World War 1 deeply affect the novel's hero, Christopher Tietjens, both physically and emotionally. The most interesting thing that she states is that the war that really threatens to destroy him is the one being waged between the sexes. This extends beyond the novel to the outside world. The extent to which women's issues affect all aspects of the society.
Ford and his hero, Tietjens appear to be siding with those who support the suffrage movement.
When Marie Flanagan mentions that women's issues affect all aspects of the society she mentiones Samuel Hyne's words:
"The trouble with women during the Edwardian period was simply that their troubles could not be kept separate and distinct, but kept getting mixed up with each other and with other social issues: contraception threatened the family and the birth rate, divorce threatened the Church and the stability of society, suffrage threatened political balances, and so even the most moderate move toward liberation seemed a rush toward chaos." (Samuel Hynes)
Parade's End comes from this complicated and anxious period in wome's history.
It is known that Ford had his own difficulties with women. Another thing is that Ford supported suffragette movement. He felt anxiety toward women. He supported women's causes but tended to contain and control the advancement of women.
His hero Tietjens also appears to be siding with those who support the suffrage movement. Ford does not portray the women, as many suffragettes were then portrayed, as hysterical and ineffective. The men are portrayed in a realistic and negative light, supporting the notion that Ford was trying to be historically accurate, as well as sympathetic to the women involved in the cause.
(Source: Anne Marie Flanagan. Winter 200/2001 Journal of Modern Literature: Vol.24. University of Sciences in Philadelphia. )

St. Michael

"She struck me in the face. And went away. Afterwards she threw into the room, through the half-open doorway, a gold medallion of St. Michael, the R.C. patron of soldiers in action that she had worn between her breasts. I took it to mean the final act of parting. As if by no longer wearing it she abandoned all prayer for my safety. . . .It might just as well mean that she wished me to wear it myself for my personal protection. . . ." (374-375)

As the text states, St. Michael is a Roman Catholic patron saint often associated with soldiers. St. Michael was the angel who lead God's side in the battle with Lucifer over heaven. Portrayals of St. Michael, like in the pendant above, often feature Michael in armor, trampling Satan, sometimes in the form of a dragon (as pictured) and others in the form we commonly associate him with. His name, which is Hebrew for "Who is like God?" was the battle cry of God's forces.

St. Michael is not only the patron saint of soldiers, however. He is also commonly associated with the medical profession, and was actually first venerated as an angelic healer rather than as a soldier. He is also the patron saint of police officers, the river of the Nile, and even mariners (in Normandy, at least).

An example of a prayer to Michael that might be said by a soldier at war:

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly armies, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in our battle against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirit of wickedness in the high places. Come to the assistance of men whom God has created to His likeness and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. The Holy Church venerates thee as her guardian and protector; to thee the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led into Heaven. Pray therefore the God of Peace to crush Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive and do injury to the Church. Offer our prayers to the most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us. Take hold of the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, bind him, and cast him into the bottomless pit so that he should no more seduce the nations. Amen."

For Catholics, pendants or medals like the one Sylvia throws at Tietjens are an old tradition. Often they are given out at significant moments in the receiver's life, such as at their first communion. They are often blessed in order to offer protection to the wearer. In Tietjen's case, a pendant of St. Michael, when worn, would be a constant prayer that St. Michael bring victory to England, keep Tietjen's safe in battle, help him to heal if he were injured and then to protect his soul should he die, since St. Michael is also seen as being a weigher of souls. In this way, Sylvia throwing the pendant is not only breaking up their relationship, but also, in her way, condemning Tietjens to death and England itself to failure in the war. Assuming that as a Catholic she believes in the pendant's power, this scene shows how much she is willing to sacrifice in order to spite her husband.



Sources: "St. Michael" and "Devotional Medals" from The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1911.
and Michael The Archangel at the Catholic Forum

The Canadian Sergeant-Major's Annoyance



"The Canadian sergeant-major was worried about a pig-skin leather pocket-book. He had bought it at the ordnance depot in the town. He imagined himself bringing it out on parade, to read out some return or other to the adjutant. Very smart it would look on parade, himself standing up straight and tall. But he could not remember whether he had put it in his kit-bag. . . His present wallet, bought in Ontario, was bulging and split. He did not like to bring it out when Imperial officers asked for something out of a return. It gave them a false idea of Canadian troops. Very annoying . . . He had imagined himself making a good impression on parade, standing up straight and tall, taking out that pocket-book when the adjutant asked for a figure from one return or the other. He understood their adjutants were to be Imperial officers now they were in France." (315)

This passage brings up several issues related to the Great War and succinctly describes Canada's involvement in it.

When war broke out in 1914, Canada was completely unprepared but did not have the option of refusing its services. As a part of the British commonwealth, it had not yet secured for itself status as a country entirely independent of Britain. Unlike the United States, Canada had not won its status as a country through a successful rebellion, but had instead done so peacefully, leaving the British monarch as head of the state. This position at the time was not a symbolic, but rather, a functional one. The result of all this was that when Britain declared war, Canada was assumed to also be involved by default.

When the Canadian government officially announced that they would be sending troops to Britain's aid, the country's military capabilities could easily be compared to the sergeant-major's tattered wallet. German military writers at the time called Canadian involvement in the war a complete non-issue. At the time, it could boast less than 4000 permanent troops and an outdated assortment of weaponry, including the much-maligned Ross Rifle which Canadian soldiers would often abandon, taking the superior guns of dead British comrades as replacement. In this way, Canada's involvement in the war was not only about serving what it regarded as its mother country, or fighting for freedom, but also about proving itself to the world as something more than a remnant of Imperialism, a sad, backwoods place with no significant role to play in the modern world.

The sergeant-major's anxiety about the state of his wallet, then, can be seen as representative of Canada's own sense of inferiority and its wish to prove itself capable and sophisticated in modern warfare. The sergeant-major is hardly concerned about the content of the reports he is giving, referring to them dismissively as "figures from one return or another", but is instead concerned that the Imperial officers be impressed by his new leather pocketbook. He wishes only to make a good impression upon his superiors. In fact, his pride hinges upon their opinion of him. Without his pocket-book, the symbol of his sophistication, he would not be able to "stand up straight and tall" as a soldier on parade.

Source: A Brief History of the Canadian Expeditionary Force
and Their Weapons

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Meaning of Parade in No More Parades


*"Bloody and Gross though the war is, it has it's own version of chastity which goes by the familiar name of "parade" As Ford uses it the word "parade" does not mean quite what it would to an American writer, for in addition to denoting a ceremonial public march with banners and band music, in the English army "parade" denotes a muster of troops for inspection and so, by extension, any moment of official duty. (Do you mind my asking," Tiejten's asks at one point, "Are we still on parade? Is this strafe from General Campion as to the way I command my unit?(Ford,328)) "...the word comes to express much more: it implies not merely discipline but good manners, even amenities, ceremony, perhaps at rare moments-ritual" (Gordon, 101)
*"At the beginning of the war," Tietjens said, "I had to look in on the War Office, and in a room I found a fellow...What do you think he was doing...What the hell do you think he was doing? He was devising the ceremonial for the disbanding of a Kitchener battalion. You can't say we were prepared in the least... Well, the end of the show was to be: the adjutant would stand the battalion at ease: the band would play Land of Hope and Glory, and then the adjutant saying There will be no more parades....For there won't. There won't, there damn well won't" (Ford, 306)
"Parade helped make the War possible, and yet the War is destroying parade, as wars always do. This time, however, the destruction threatens to be permanent" (Gordon, 101).
*"It is a world of movement orders and counterorders: we see troops being sent forward to the front, then called back, then late at night being marched into lines of tents by the light of the moon. But this depot is also a place where parade is perpetually being threatened, where morale is perpetually being broken down, for nothing works here quite as it should. "A Base is a place where you meditate, perhaps where in peace where the Tommies should write their last letters home..."(Ford, 297). A replacement depot in a war is different from a combat unit, and the moral of its men is especially subject to erosion by three things 1) red tape and regulations 2) enemy bombing and 3) memories of women and home. Of the soldiers that we see in the hut, Captain Tietjens, Captain McKechine, and Private Morgan all have wives who appear to have betrayed them. Each has suffered and is suffering. Two of these women are mercifully far away; not , however, Tietjens' Sylvia, who soon enters the scene to set the entire camp at odds and put all parade in jeopardy" (Gordon, 101-02)
*An illustration of how enemy bombing erodes Captain Mackenzie: "An enormous crashing sound said things of an intolerable intimacy to each of those men... The young officer stood violently up on his feet and caught at the complications of his belt hung from a nail. The elder, across the table, lounging sideways, stretched out one hand with a downwards movement. He was aware that the younger man, who was his senior officer, was just upon out of his mind" (Ford, 293)
*Memories of Sylvia erode Tietjen's mind. For example when Tietjens sees a vision of his wife (Ford, 299) and how he keeps replaying in his head the last time he saw her (Ford, 316)
*"Parade may be thought of as the principle that produces form; it is the principle also of good form, of coolness, poise and style. It is a function of parade to harmonize and order and so control the madness- the old chaos- that threatens most men at one time or another in this world....It is parade that Tietjens invokes in dealing with the disturbed Captain McKechnie- and not McKechnie alone"(Gordon, 102-3). For example:"There are madmen whose momentarily subconscious selves will respond to a military command as if it were magic. Tietjens remembered having barked 'about turn.' to a poor little lunatic fellow in some camp at home and the fellow who had been galloping hotfoot past his tent, waving a naked bayonet with pursuers fifty yards behind, had stopped dead and faced about with a military stamp like a guardsman" (Ford, 298).
*Tietjens can be seen to emulate the parade form of coolness and poise in part two of No More Parades when Tietjens goes to meet Sylvia at the hotel. Sylvia says: "Damn his chivalry!..Oh, Damn his chivalry! She knew what was going on in his mind. He had seen her, with Perowne, so he had neither come towards her nor directed the servant to where she sat. For fear of embarrassing her! He would leave it for her to come to him if she wished" (381).
*"The really telling part against parade- as against ritual, magic spells, manners and decorum, and perhaps form of all sorts- is its ridiculous, almost impertinent inadequacy when it is opposed to the lawless chaos of forces(the undisciplined squads of emotion") with which by its nature it has to contend. Parade at last cannot control these, since it remains in part at least a function of the forces it seeks to control- like a "church militant" in a fallen world. Drills, which are pretty in peacetime, in war are implicated in the whole senseless mess" (Gordon, 105).
*The idea of Parade can be seen to tie in with Freudism in the sense that one has to suppress the inner id (one's emotions and inner thoughts) and follow orders; form. As stated earlier it harmonizes and orders and so in turn controls the madness of one's inner thoughts about the war or in Tietjen's case Sylvia.

source: Gordon, Ambrose.The Invisible Tent.USA:University of Texas Press,1964.