Saturday, February 24, 2007

Summary and discussion of part one chapter one

Picture of a replacement depot
"A Base is a place where you
meditate, perhaps you should pray; a place where in peace Tommies should write their last letters home and describe how the guns are 'owling 'orrably"(297).

Part one:

Tietjens is now in France serving in a replacement depot."When you came in the space was desultory, rectangular, warm after the drip of the winter night, and transfused with a brow-orange dust that was light. It was shaped like the house a child draws"(Ford, 291).Outside there is an air raid going on. "These German air-raids had lately become continuous".The men are waiting to be drafted. There is a general sense of claustrophobia ("The Base was packed with men, tighter than sardines"Ford, 295.), mixed with chaos, panic ("he desired to cut certain throats with sharp trench knife that he had. That would take the weight off his chest" Ford, 294.) and insanity ("There were a great many kinds of madness" Ford, 298.). Tietjen's is keeping an eye on an officer who appears to be going insane, being asked by the general to do so. The general is "Tietjen's godfather and his father's closest friend"(298). The man mentions Tietjen's wife: "They say up at H.Q. that your wife has got hold of the disgusting general....Tietjen's lauged at this madness" (299). Tietjen's reflects on the "extraordinary beauty of the wife from whom he was separated" (299), or how he had thought they had separated. He sees a vision of her:"she appeared before him so extraordinarily bright and clear in the brown darkness that he shuddered" (299). He repeatedly sees Sylvia as radiating light and "in a golden gown" (565). Sylvia even sees herself in a dress of "golden tissue" (403). Captain O Nine Morgan dies- plaguing Tietjens for the rest of No More Parades. Tietjen's exclaims "What about the accursed obsession of O Nine Morgan that intermittently jumped on him?....And all the time a dreadful depression!A weight!"(484).Tietjens also has a ghostly visit from O nine Morgan in A Man could Stand Up (561)."If he, Tietjens had given the fellow the leave he wanted he would be alive now!"(309)... To get past the shock he tries to picture Valentine's face.

Solider Comradeship
The reader gets a sense of the intimacy and comradeship between the soilders. They look out for each other and try to keep each other sain.
*"He felt arising in his motherly heart that yearned at the moment over his two thousand nine hundred and thirty four nurslings a necessity, like a fatigue, to extend the motherliness of his functions to the orfcer....he felt vaguely that it was a fatigue to have to mother an officer" (293).
*"[Tietjen's] sticks up in that blessed old camp like a blessed she-chicken sitting on addled eggs....That's what they say of him"(396).
*Tietjen's let the trunk of the body sink slowly to the floor. He was more gentle than if the man had been alive"(308).
This theme follows throughout No More Parades for example:
*Levin says to Tietjens
"We are all one family"(451), when Tietjens tries to explain what happened the night in Sylvia's room when he hit Perowne.
*Cowley explains to Sylvia how O Nine Morgan died in Tietjen's arms "The captain held him in his arms while he died, as if he'd been a baby. Wonderful tender, the captain was! Well you're apt to be when it's one of your own men...No rank then!"(433).
*"Cowley snuffed in Tietjens' ear something that Sylvia did not catch- consolatory and affectionate. That intimacy was more than she could bear"(435).

Soldiers as property/ Tietjen's Toryism:
The following quotes are examples where Tietjens is expressing his dislike for the middle class because the middle class ran the war for their own reasons; like a game:
*"It had occurred to him that it was a military duty to bother himself about the mental equilibrium of this member of the lower classes. So he talked...any old talk, wearisomely, to keep his mind employed! Captain Mackenzie was an officer of His Majesty the King; the property, body and soul, of His Majesty and His Majesty's War Office. It was Tietjen's duty to preserve this fellow as it was his duty to prevent deterioration in any other piece of the King's property.That was implicit in the oath of allegiance" (305).
*"The curse of the army, as far as the organisation is concerned, was our imbecile national belief that the game is worth more than the player"(305).
*"Intense dejection, endless muddles, endless follies, endless villainies. All these men given to 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 men tossed here and there in that sordid and gigantic mud-brownness of mid-winter" (296).
It was a monstrous tea party:
I never thought about it before but this opening scene does seem like the morbid flip side of an Augustus tea-party; a way to show social upheaval. The way the soldiers are sitting around the hut, having different conversations. Then an "immence tea tray, august, its voice filling the black circle of the horizon, thundered to the ground" (Ford,291). This gives an image of how things were before the war in the sense of over indulgence and now that the "tea-tray" has crashed to the ground, it's as if the world has been turned upside down; a social upheaval. As soon as the tea-tray has flipped, the pace of the narration picks up and in turn gives a sense of the chaos of the war.
*The opening scene of No More Parades is indoor of a replacement depot in France. "We are boxed in.... it's indoor- even domestic aspects are stressed almost to the point of claustrophobia. About all the doings in that hut, clings a suggestion of a monstrous tea party. The falling, and lethal, insides of shrapnel shells are called 'candlesticks'. Of the men by the crazier, one is muttering dejectedly about his unfaithful wife, another about a queer cow that "took a hatred for its cawve" (Ford, 291), the Canadian sergent-major is worrying himself about a new pocket book. The hut is shaped like the house a child draws. Inside is a curious air of false domesticity, into which the sounds of the outside come, appropriately like the falling of a huge tea-tray" (Gordon, 8).
Gordon, Amrose. The Invisible Tent. University of Texas Press. 1964
Compare this to where Valentine and Tietjens have just come back from their overnight horse carriage ride in book one and they have a collision with the General and since Tietjens is seen with Valentine (so early on a Sunday, alone) an again there is a social upheaval:
"Not ten yards away 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..... there was a crash and scraping like twenty tea-trays, a prolonged sound" (139).
*Not only can a tea-tray be seen to represent a social upheaval but it can be seen to represent a Freudian aspect of the book: Tietjen's subconscious mind; the suppression of Tietjen's emotions. When Tietjens cannot handle a situation,the tea-tray can be seen to represent the upheaval of his mind.

*In book one Valentine plays on the name of Tietjen and refers to Tietjen's father as Tea-Tray(84).

*The emotions that Tietjens suppresses are of his wife, Sylvia. For example, in book one Sylvia brings him a tea-tray (31). When Tietjens is thinking Sylvia's sexual wrongs he sees O Nine Morgan's blood (381).
*Tietjens also suppresses his emotions surrounding the death of Captain O Nine Morgan and therefore blood, as well, can be seen to represent the tea-tray.
*In the scene where Valentine and Tietjens are on the all night horse carriage ride, when the horse is bloodied due to the collision this is associated with the tea-tray (139) and the tea-tray can also be seen to represent the General who is a representation of the war and blood.

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