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.

Quick Summary of the Characters of No More Parades...

Christopher Tietjens: The last "Tory", Ford's protagonist and perhaps his vision of the 'proper man' : Tietjen's is honest, extremely intelligent and honourable, yet also rigid and unyielding in his sense of ideals and propriety. He is often so 'tight-lipped' that he is mistaken by others as reprehensible and disreputable. His rigid code also makes it easy for characters such as Sylvia to malign him. In No More Parades Tietjen's has rejoined the war and is stationed in France.

Sylvia Tietjens: Tietjen's beautiful and cruel wife who follows Tietjens to France with the sole intent of disrupting his life. Sylvia's sadistic tendencies and obsession with her husband drive her to spread lies about his character and destroy his reputation among his fellow officers.

Major Wilfred Perowne: Sylvia's ex-lover, still desperately infatuated with Sylvia even she is cruel to him. Perowne is a rather pathetic character, spoilt by his mother and a poor officer, he is described by Sylvia as 'a man of hardly any intelligence at all' and is terrified of Tietjens.

General Campion: Tietjen's godfather and military commander, though reputedly a great general he is easily influenced by Sylvia's suggestions and his own rigid code of propriety.

O Nine Morgan: officer who Tietjens refuses to give leave and ultimately dies in Tietjens arms. The 'ghost' of O Nine Morgan is figure who continually haunts Tietjens thoughts.

Summary of Part one chapter four

Again, we are looking back at what happened after Tietjens found out that it was Sylvia in the car. We are place just before where, in the previous chapter Tietjens had mentioned of being startled by the mention of O Nine Morgan by the doctor's batman and yet had not gone into detail. In this chapter we get a better sense of how O Nine Morgan's death effects him. We get a more detailed account of why Tietjens did not send O Nine Morgan home and how Tietjens blames himself for his death.
A draft comes back led by a drunk subaltern Pitkins. Tietjens is asked by his quartermaster-sergeant, for directions before putting the draft into the tents with the other men. Tietjens in his pajamas (because his slacks are being pressed for the ceremony of the signing of the marriage contract of Levin) and a British warm goes outside and learns of a railway accident due to the French strikers.Tietjens gives commands on what to do with the men. Tiejens watches soldiers in a quick march with affection.
The next day, Tietjens is riding Schomburg a horse captured from the Germans on the Marne, again looking back at the night before. He had managed to keep thoughts of Sylvia at arms length, was keep awake by McKechnie telling him his story of how he had taken leave to divorce his wife which he acting under the "conscientious scruples of the younger school of the day" (364) had refrained from doing. He also learns that McKechnie is the nephew of his good friend Macmaster. Tietjens had then inspected the breakfasts of the various fatigues and inspected the cookhouses.
At breakfast he was "detained by the colonel in command of the depot, the Anglican padre, and McKechnie" (365). Tietjens contemplates good naturely about his religious standing while walking to his orderly hut. He receives a letter from Levin warning about the draft how they would be there for probably another 7-10 days and that he should draw all the tents he could. Levin also explains that the French railway strikers had sabotaged a mile of railway,and that had completely blocked the lines, and how the French civilians would not let their own breakdown gangs make any repairs and that Tietjens' Canadian railway troops would be probably wanted.
Tietjens learns of Girtin "the respectable man with the mother to whom Tietjens had given the two hours leave the night before" had not returned (368). Tietjens, near the end of the chapter, learns what really happened. "Apparently trying to annoy the Canadian, the beery lance-corporal of the Garrison Military Police had hustled the mother. Gritin had remonstrated; very moderately, he said. The lance corporal had shouted at him. Two other Canadians returning to camp had intervened and two more police. The police had called the Canadians--conscripts, which was almost more than the Canadians could stand, they being voluntarily enlisted 1914 or 1915 men. The police --it was an old trick-- had kept them talking two minutes after the last post had sounded and then had run them in for being absent off pass-and for disrespect to their red hat-bands"(375). He then marked the charge explained and told the Canadians to get ready for parade knowing that he would get into a "row" for letting them go because the provost-marshal,O'Hara,"loved his police as if they had been ewe lambs"(375).
Tietjens learns that he is being sent up to the front at a civilian request to look after the horses of the XIXth division. At first Sergeant - Major Cowley presumed it was because of the Earl of Beichan. "The Earl Of Beichan, a Levantine financier and race horse owner, was interesting himself in army horse, after a short visit to the lines of communication. He also owned several newspapers. So they had been waking up the army transport-animals department to please him..."(372). Tietjens furiously decries going up to the front for Beichan. He then learns that it was really his brother Mark, the permanent secretary to the Ministry of Transport, that had made the request. He feels an instant of dismay. He feels that his "violent protest" would be like a smack to the face of his brother. He also remembers how Valentine had begged Mark to get him a job as a divisional officer and then pictures her "lower lip quivering and tears in her eyes"(374).Tietjens takes his men on parade after letting Girtin and the other two Canadians go that had been charged of absence from the draft.
Tietjens wrote a report on the "undesirability of lecturing his men on the causes of the war"(376) and had lunch.
Now then placed back in the present again;Tietjen's sitting on Schomburg.
Soldier comradeship: Tietjens as motherly:
*We find Tietjens in the middle of the night standing in his pyjamas and greatcoat, while the troops march past, in order to bring his troops in smartly: "Extraordinarily glad...A strong passion...How damn well these fellows move!...Cannon fodder...Cannon fodder...That's what their steps say..."His whole body shook in the grip of the cold that beneath his loose overcoat gnawed his pyjamaied limbs. He could not leave the men........It was sheer exhilaration to freeze there on the downside in the extraordinarily pure air with the extraordinarily fine men. They cam around, marking time with the stamp of guardsmen. He said, with tears in his voice...." (Ford, 362)
*Tietjens says: Damn it! The men ought not to be standing in the cold like that.... Fury filled him with dispair"(359)
*McKechnie is worried about Tietjen's going outside in his Pyjamas and chastizes him is a motherly way: "Good God man, you aren't going out in nothing but you pyjamas. Put your slacks on under your British warm...." and "I wish you would not go out like that... I'll make you some cocoa..." (360).
Tietjens Toryism:
"McKechnie said in reference to Tietjens' protruded foot: ......."If the fellows in Whitehall are determined to do old Puffles in, why don't they recall him?" The legend was that an eminent personage in the Government had a great personal dislike for the general in command of one army-the general being nicknamed Puffles. The Government, therefore, were said to be starving his command of men so that disaster should fall upon his command. "They can recall generals easy enough," McKechnie went on, "or anyone else!" A heavy dislike that this member of the lower middle classes should have opinions on public affairs overcame Tietjens.....All their comrades were to be sacrificed as a rear-guard to their departing host. That whole land was to be annilhilated as a sacrifice to one vanity. Now the draft had been called back. That seemed proof that the Government meant to starve the line!"(358).
Tietjens Freudism:
*Tietjens is sitting in his "flea bag...his eyes going over and over again the words with which his report on his own case had concluded"(355), when the doctor's batman had uttered the words "Poor --- O Nine Morgan!..." and over the whitish sheet of paper on a level with his nose Tietjens perceived thin films of reddish purple to be wavering , then a glutinous surface of gummy scarlet pigment. Moving! It was once more an effect of fatigue, operating on the retina, that was perfectly familiar to Tietjens. But it filled him with indignation against his own weakness. He said to himself: Wasn't the name of the wretched O Nine Morgan to be mentioned in his hearing without his retina presenting him with the glowing image of the fellow's blood?"(355). Tietjen's says that what is happening is an effect of fatigue. He denies that the reason for him seeing blood everytime O nine Morgan is mentioned is that his death really bothers him and he has not had time or the will to deal with it. This is what Freud calls repression.
*"[A]t two in the morning picking a leaf from a rose tree and slobbering over it, without knowing what he was doing. And then discovering ti was half for a pug-nosed girl whom he presumed smelled like primrose; and half for ...England!...And why these emotions? ...... He said to himself: "It is probably because a hundred thousand sentimentalists like myself commit similar excesses ofg the subconscious that we preserve in this glorious but atrocious undertaking. All the same I never knew I had it in me!" A strong passion!...For this girl and this country!"(363)
Parade etiquette:
Tietjens says: "I'd go out... but I don't want to have to put that filthy little Pitkins under arrest. He only drinks because he's shell shocked. He's not man enough else, the unclean little Noncomformist..." McKechnie said: "Hold on! I'm Presbyterian myself..." Tietjens answered "You would be!..." He said: "I beg your pardon.... There will be more parades.... The British Army is dishonoured forever..."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"A World that's Foundering..."

"Paths of Glory" Nevinson
"The intolerable vision of the line, starving beneath the moon, of grey crowds murderously elbowing back a thin crowd in brown, zigzagged across the bronze light of the hut. The intolerable depression that, in those days, we felt- that all those millions were the play-things of ants busy in the miles of corridors beneath the domes and spires that rise up over the central heart of our comity, that intolerable weight upon the brain and the limbs, descended once more on those two men lying upon their elbows. As they listened their jaws fell open. The long, polyphonic babble, rushing in from an extended line of men stood easy, alone rewarded their ears." (No More Parades, 357)

Ann Barr Snitow wrote in Ford Madox Ford and The Voice of Uncertainty that "a central motif of all trench literature is a sort of Cassandra sydrome: men at the front are trying to tell everyone else that a disaster of unimaginable proportions is going on while it is business as usual ing London" (194).
Parade End often describes this divided consciousness. This sense of 'us' and ' them'
was perhaps the representative of the greater division that the war would represent. The war became the great divide: giving everyone who survived it and came after a distinct sense of "before" and "after". The war would come to represent the end of a way of life, both economic and social. So, in a sense, both 'us' and 'them' would become the casualties of war. Along with parades, it was the end of innocence. England, in innocence, had not foreseen the proportions of the disaster, it had not grasped its own mortality.
For after such losses, how could their be victory? George Bernard Shaw wrote "The earth is still bursting with the dead bodies of the victors"(4), and as such, the word 'victory' becomes grotesquely ironic.

Snitow writes:
"If one of the by-products of the war was a sense of irresolvable irony, of an unfitness in the scale of things that constantly rendered experience absurd, another of its by-products was the fervent desire to escape the irony, to find unity and transcendance in the midst of disorder and wholesale death." (195)

Perhaps this it what Parade's End asks... after the parades end and innocence destroyed, what is left of the joy of love or the honor of war?

"He picked a leaf, pressed it to his lips and threw it up in the wind..."That's for Valentine," he said meditatively. "Why did I do that?..Or perhaps it's for England..." He said: "Damn it all, this is patriotism!...This is patriotism..." It wasn't what you took patriotism as a rule to be. There were supposed to be more parades about that job!...But this was just a broke to the wide wheezy, half-frozen Yorkshireman, who despised everyone in England not a Yorkshireman, or from more to the North, at two in the morning picking a leaf from a rose-tree and slobbering over it, without knowing what he was doing. And then discovering that it was half for a pug-nosed girl whom he presumed, but didn't know, to smell like a primrose; and half for...England!
...And why these emotions?...Because England, not before it was time, had been allowed to decide not to do the dirty on her associates!...He said to himself: " It is probably because a hundred thousand sentamentalists like myself commit similar excesses of the subconscious that we persevere in this glorious but atrocious undertaking." (363)

Snitow, Ann Barr Ford Madox Ford and The Voice of Uncertainty Lousiana State University Press, London, 1984.

Shaw, George Bernard Heartbreak House and Horseback Hall (preface) Penguin Books, New York, 1964.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

History on the Suffragettes During WWI

A famous suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst (more below), on a campaign for women to do war work.

The term suffragette comes from the word "suffrage" which means "right to vote" and was established around 1897. At first, it was a peaceful movement that failed to attract much attention and when protesting, the Parliament stated, "women would not understand how politics worked so they cannot vote".

Furious with this, Emmeline Pankhurst (above) and her daughters started the Women's Social and Political Union in 1903. This Union became known as the "suffragettes", and unlike the earlier movements, they used violence. They smashed windows, burned down churches, bombed houses of politicians, vandalised golf courses (as Valentine tried to do) and even threw themselves infront of the King's horse (this unfortunately killed Emily Davidson in 1913). These violent acts were not very persuading as the men thought, "if this is what educated women do, what might a lesser educated women do? How can we trust them to vote?"

When the First World War broke out, there was a serious shortage of men and women were required as replacements in the work force. This led to the new view that women were capable of doing work outside the house. However, the war caused a split in the suffragette movement. Emmeline and her daughter Christabel instructed the suffragettes to stop their violent campaigns and support Britian patriotically, but the more radical suffragettes, such as the Women's Suffrage Federation, continued their fight.

Political movement towards the suffragettes advanced as the war began and women proved themselves worthy by working and contributing to the war effort at home. In 1918, the Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act which granted the vote to wives of householders, women over the age of 30 who were householders, women who occupied property with an anual rent of £5 and university graduates.

Ford Madox Ford and the Suffragette Movement:

- In 1911, Ford declared that he was a supporter of the suffragette movement: "Personally, I am an ardent, I am an enraged, suffragette".

- In 1912, Ford wrote a pamplet titled: "The Monstrous Regiment of Women" for the women's freedom league.

- He also wrote many anonymous articles for the leader of the Womens Social and Political Union.

- Ford was greatly influenced by Violet Hunt, who was a member of the Women Writer's Suffrage League and lectured on the cruel treatment suffragettes were going through in prison (i.e., being force-fed when they went on hunger strikes).

"The Rules of War!" - discuss?

I found this quotation very interesting so here is a short entry for it. Perhaps it would be fun to start a discussion since our blog is kind of lacking communication? (and I thought it might encourage other people to check on our blog more often and start making more entries).

"That was according to the rules of the service…General Campion, accepting with equanimity what German aeroplanes did to the hospitals, camps, stables, brothels, theatres, boulevards, chocolate stall, and hotels of this town would have been vastly outraged if Hun planes had dropped bombs oh his private lodgings…The rules of war!…You spare, mutually, each other’s head quarters and blow to pieces girls that are desired by six thousand men apiece” (332).

Some of the major crimes of war (during WWI and presently) is to:
- cause deliberate destruction of civilian buildings.
- attack hospitals, doctors, nurses, wounded soldiers or ambulances.
- murder, torture, and/or physically harm the civilian population

Thus, by General Campion calmly accepting these war crimes, but being upset when his property is damaged, signify the end of the English aristocratic value, Noblese Oblige. Ford seems to criticize the crumble of Noblese Oblige and the Feudal System as the military leaders, who are supposed to protect the soldiers and civilians, cares about only themselves. From Tietjen's reaction, the reader can sense that he really is the last of person who truly values Noblese Oblige.

* Thoughts? Comments? Anything to add? Other readings of this quotation??

"There were shells dropping in Poperinghe"

(two postcards of Poperinghe from the war)

"The Huns were shelling Poperinghe! A senseless cruelty...There were two girls who kept a tea shop in Poperinghe...The shells had killed them both...the senseless cruelty of the Hun! - to shell Poperinghe. An innocent town with a tea-shop five miles behind Ypres" (531).

- Poperinghe is a Belgian town situated south of West Flanders, about 10km west of Ypres. The population is estimated to be around 20000 people when the war began, although there were approximately 250000 British soldiers in 1916-17

- The town suffered from frequent air raids and fell into the German hands briefly during August to October 1914 and came close to falling once more during the Spring of 1918.
"the Germans had heard that we were massing men in Poperinghe. It was erasonable to shell a town where men were being assembled...So they shelled Poperinghe in the silent grey day..." (532).

- Poperinghe was the primary military centre for British forces located in Flanders and it had many camps, hospitals, supply depots around town.

- The town established itself as a favoured recreational area for resting soldiers. One of the famous rest place of soldier's is the Talbot House (which still operates today as a museum), populary known as "Toc H" and ran by Tubby Clayton.

- Currently, there is a small military cemetery, Poperinghe New Military Cemetery that contains the burials of many soldiers, and 17 allied soldiers who were executed for military offenses.

A Brief History About Ford Madox Ford

Since I am incharge of the history part (along with Heather), I thought I would blog on Ford Madox Ford's war life.

When the war broke out, Ford was recruited by Charles Masterman, the head of the War Propaganda Bureau, to write pamphlets attacking German literature, art, and music. He also wrote pamphlets attacking the British pacifists.
During 1915, when the zepplins where shelling London at night, Ford and Violet Hunt frequently entertained at their South Lodge to pass the tense and freightening zepplin nights.
In the course of these zepplin nights, the hosts and guests increasingly became concious about the cruelty of the war and troubled by the deaths of their friends in the front. Ford decides to enlist then, claiming "Damn it all, havent I been for forty years or so in the ruling class of this country; havent I enjoyed their priveledges, and shant I then, pay the price?"
In late July 1915, Ford obtained his commission and was to serve as a lieutenant in the Welch Regiment. Ford's war experience inspired some of his poerty (i.e., "Antwerp"), novels and propaganda pieces.
During the battle of Somme, Ford was gassed and went throught several periods of shellshock, neurasthenia and memory loss.
After Ford was demobilized, he returned to London and rented a small room and started seeing Stella Bowen, and by May, they moved in together. Hunt was furious and continued trying to demand his attention and his presence at South Lodge.
I was going to elaborate this and compare it to Tietjen's life, but I will let Mariya handle that as she is in charge of blogging about Tietjen!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Violet Hunt and Sylvia Tietjens: Fact or Fiction?

The parallels between Ford Madox Ford’s own life and the life of Christopher Tietjens are abundant and obvious; his British Tory ideals, his transformation as a result of the war, his conflict with social expectations and criticism, and particularly his personal relationships with the many women in his life. The latter has often been a topic of much speculation and sometimes criticism. Joseph Wiesenfarth wrote an entire book on the subject, cunningly named “Ford Madox Ford and the Regiment of Women” after both the infamous book which superficially protests the rule of women (monarchs) over men and Ford’s own ‘suffragette’ pamphlet written in 1913 which argued the opposite. Wiesenfarth illuminates how Ford, in his memoirs, presents his life’s work as those of a ‘proper man’ and reviews the many issues he believed in, rebelled against, promoted or revived’ (22). What is interesting is the area Ford neglects: his work is devoid of all mention of his many relationships and sexual exploits. With this and other examples, Wiesenfarth reveals many of Ford’s contradictions; he was both a ‘proper man’ and yet was an adulterer, an ‘enraged suffragrette’ who refused to ‘submit to the regiment of any woman’, a self-professed ‘man’s man’ who was quite obviously a woman’s man as well.

While Ford Madox Ford may have rejected the effects of the woman in his life on his ideals or aspirations, their effects on his work can be revealed in the way they are reflected in the characters he created; specifically that of Ford’s character Sylvia Tietjens in Parade’s End and her real life counterpart Violet Hunt. Ford eloped at an early age and had been married for fifteen years when he became Violet Hunt's lover in 1909. The relationship lasted until he returned from serving in WWI in 1919, and went to Sussex to live with Stella Bowen. Already, the actions of Ford’s life mirror his protagonist in Parade’s End: Tietjens’ relationship with Sylvia ends when he returns from the war and leaves her to live with Valentine. Also, later Violet made ‘forays into the countryside’ to spy on Ford and Stella, like Sylvia does in The Last Post.

However, the similarities go far beyond simple plot structure; the likeness in the personalities of Violet and Sylvia are unmistakable. Violet Hunt was a ‘New Woman who lived her life as such’, refusing marriage offers to pursue a series of affairs, usually with older married men (Wiesenfarth,4). Like Sylvia, Violet was a beautiful, forceful, self-determining woman who took control of her life and often dominated the lives of those around her; she was known as “Violent” Hunt even by some of her friends (Wiesenfarth,31). Like Sylvia, Violet was also vengeful, after Ford’s desertion she used her position as a novelist to portray Ford as a faithless lover, most notable in her book The Flurried Years (1926) a memoir which openly tried to destroy his reputation. Wiesenfarth describes their relationship as “eventually so stormy a time together that Ford thought service in the Welch Regiment and life in the trenches fighting the Huns preferable to battling Hunt on the home front”.

Conversely, while Violet made her own efforts to ‘villainize’ Ford, she did in fact defend him from other attacks. Even though the reflection of her own traits in Sylvia Tietjens was obvious in Some Do Not and No More Parade, as were the traits of Stella Bowen in the character of Valentine Wannop, she actually defends the novelist’s art of amalgamation:
“…she and Sylvia were the only two human beings (Tietjens) had met for years whom he could respect: the one for sheer efficiency in killing; the other for having the constructive desire and knowing how to set about it. Kill or cure! The two functions of man. If you wanted something killed you’d go to Sylvia Tietjens in the sure faith that she would kill it: emotion, hope, ideal; kill it quick and sure. If you wanted something kept alive you’d go to Valentine: she’d find something to do for it…The two types of mind: remorseless enemy, sure screen, dagger…sheath!” (Wiesenfarth,49)

Sadly, while it is evident that Violet Hunt spent much of her life after the breakup in a relentless effort to destroy Ford’s reputation, his response to her attacks was consequently often the same as his protagonist, Tietjens: he said nothing.

Wiesenfarth, Joseph Ford Madox Ford and the Regiment of Women The University of Wisconsin Press, U.S. 2005.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

executions during world war one

"Why does Christopher stay on in this God-forsaken hole?.... The inglorious base, they call it...." "Because he's jolly well got to..." Major Perowne said. "He's got to do what he's told..." She said: "Christopher! ...You mean to say they'd keep a man like Christopher anywhere he didn't want to be..." Major Prerowne said "They'd shoot him like anybody else if he bolted.... What do you think?.
In this quote Major Perowne is absolutely right in saying that Christopher would be shot if he decides to run from the battle field. During world war one there were 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers that were executed for crimes such as desertion and cowardice. Many of them suffered from shell shock. Between 1914 and 1918 about 80, 000 men suffered sympoms of shell shock in British Army.
If men ever deserted front line, they were caught and later received a court martial. If they were sentenced to death, most of them were shot by 12 man firing squad.
If anyone left front line, seniour military commanders counted it as desertion. Military commanders were afraid that if they do not punish this kind of behaviour , others would leave the front line as well. British Army would then collapse.
During World War One majority stood trial for desertion from their post.
Court Martial was fast and then execution followed. Legal status of court martials was questioned. Soldiers did not have any access to formal legal representatives-no defense. Court Martials should have "judge advocate" present but there were none present. Soldiers also had the right to petition the King for clemency but they were not aware of this right. And no one seemed to use that option. In 1915 Genereal Route Order 585 was issued and it reserved the belief of being innocent until found guilty. Soldier was guilty until evidence prove otherwise.
Many also say, that executions were based on class status. For example, James Crozier was guilty in deserting his post, he was shot. Earlier Lieutenant Annandale was found guilty but he was never sentenced to death due to technicalities.
On Nov. 8, 2006 new law was passed( Part of Armed Forces Act). It pardoned men in the British and Commonwealth armies who were executed in WW1. Law removed stain of dishonour with regards to executions on war records but it did not cancel out sentences.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Summary of Part one chapter three

Like a game of cat and mouse:
*"It was Sylvia who had made, unknown to him, the appointement with through which the girl had met him. Sylvia had wanted to force him and Miss Wannop into each other's arms. Quite definitely. She had said as much. But she had only said that afterwards. When the game had not come off. She had had too much knowledge of amatory manoeuvers to show her hand before..."(348)
*"What in the world was wrong with Sylvia? She was giving away her own game and that he had never known her to do"(350).
*"Sylvia did not make mistakes like that. It was a game. What game? He didn't even attempt to conjure! She could not expect that he would in the future even extend to her the shelter of his roof... What then was the game? He could not believe that she was capable of vulgarity except without a purpose" (350).

This chapter best brings out Sylvia's sadism although she plays it off as though she really cares for him. It also brings out more of the love triangle that is going on between Tietjens and Valentine and Sylvia and Tietjens. Holes are filled in of details between what happened between Sylvia and Tietjens that was not known before.
We are in the present looking back at what happened after Tietjens realized that it was Sylvia in the car. Levin had related to Tietjens monstrous news of Sylvia's activities. The reason that Levin did not tell Tietjens right away that Sylvia was in the car was because the general had taught Levin to consider that Tietjens was "an extraordinarily violent chap who would certainly knock Levin down when he told him that his wife was at the camp gates" (341). Levin had been making references to mysterious "rows" in the previous chapter,which is now to be understood as referring to several letters that Sylvia had sent to the general accusing Tietjens of stealing two pairs of her best sheets, amongst a great deal more. "It was difficult for Tietjen's to make out exactly what she had said. His channel of information had been Levin, who was too gentlemanly to say anything direct at all "(sounds like Tietjens!!)(351). The General is convinced that Tietjens,"as Man of Intellect, had treated Sylvia badly, event to the extent of stealing two pairs of her best sheets, and he was also convinced that Tietjens was in close collusion with Sylvia....he was almost ready to believe that Tietjens was at the bottom of every trouble that occured in his immence command" (352-3). Sylvia had apparently held some sort of conference on Tietjen's case in Campion's salon which Sylvia was presiding at, with more intimate members of his headquarters and exposed Tietjens various wrongs. She had convinced them that she was distressed because she had not received any letters from Tietjens and wanted proof that he was alive. That was why she came all that way and was sitting at the bottom of the hill in the car that night.
Tietjens is in his camp bed, in the doctor's lent hut, with a stiff glass of rum punch and his officers pocket book "complete with pencil because he had to draft before eleven a report as to the desirability for giving his unit special lectures on the causes of the war"(340). There are two other people in the hut: Tietjens had invited MacKechnie whose actual real name was James Grant McKechnie and the doctors batman. They are having a conversation and this is annoying to Tietjens who is trying to introspectively "recapture what exactly were his relations with his wife. Before the doctor's batman had interrupted him by speaking startlingly of O Nine Morgan" (343). Tietjens is in an "extraordinary state "the idea had suddenly occurred to him that his parting form his wife had set him free for his girl...the idea had till then never entered his head"(345). Tietjens then takes out his pocket book and starts to write his and Sylvia's history from the beginning to the end trying to imitate a report to General Headquarters.
Tietjens stoicism

*Tietjens is methodically going through his and his wife's history. Tietjens wanted to refrain from drinking because he "was to think cold-bloodly of Sylvia, and he made a practice never of never touching alcohol when about to engage in protracted reflection" (344). Comment: Alcohol is known to bring about emotions and he wants to keep his emotions out of it. Tietjens tells of a time when he had alcohol on the battlefield of Somme. "In three or four minutes the whole world changed beneath your eyes..... as far as the Germans were concerned you were supposed to kill the swine; but you didn't feel that the thought of them would make you sick beforehand.. . you were in fact a changed man" (344)
*"He would rather be dead than an open book" (342)
*Tietjens emotions slip and he lets out another groan so loud that "McKechnie from the other end of the hut, asked if he had not said anything. Tietjens saved himself with: "That candle looks from here to be too near the side of the hut. Perhaps it isn't. These buildings are very flammable" (348).
*"What was he doing now with all this introspection? Hang it all he was not justifying himself"(350)
Sylvia's sadism:
*"Why then had she done it? Partly, undoubtedly, out of pity for him. She had given him a rotten time; she had undoubtedly, at one moment, wanted to give him the consolation of his girl's arms.. Why, damn it, she , Sylvia, and no one else, had forced out of him the invitation to the girl to become his mistress. Nothing but the infernal cruelty of their interview of the morning could have forced him to the pitch of sexual excitement that would make him make a proposal of illicit intercourse to a young lady to whom hitherto he had spoken not even one word of affection. It was an effect of a Sadic kind. That was the only way to look at it scientifically" (349).
*[Sylvia] had lived years beside him, apparently on terms of hatred and miscomprehension. But certainly inconditions of chasity. Then, during the tentuous and lugbrious small hours, before his coming out there again to France, she had given evidence of a madly vindictive passion for his person. A physical passion at a any rate"(343).

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Alain Char-tier's La belle Dame sans Merci & stoicism, Part 1


"There's a picture that my mother's got, by Burne-Jones... A cruel-looking woman with a distant smile...some vampire... La belle Dame sans Merci. That's what you're like (Ford, 387)". (Perowne, speaking to Sylvia)

Perowne compares Sylvia to La belle Dame sans Merci, "The beautiful Lady without Mercy/Pity". It was originally a poem written by Alain Char-tier, wherein the lady rejects the young lover and he dies days after their debate. The lady is held accountable for his desire, and so she is expected to take pity on him. Instead, she rejects him. The rejection he recieves proves to him that the lady is merciless and has a heart of marble. He accuses her of being indifferent.

A reverse of the dynamic in Char-tier's poem can be seen between Sylvia and Christopher. Although Sylvia is described as cold and her actions seemingly merciless, her relentless torture of Christopher can only be seen as impassioned, driven by her craving for him. He elicits her sadism and emotion, which is what drives her mad. "It was at Tietjens' terrifying expressionlessness, at that completely being up to a situation, that the first wave of emotion had come over her...(406)." The lady in Char-tier's poem is interpreted as possessing a sexual coldness, while Sylvia possesses an inherent sexual nature and does not try to abstain from it. In No More Parades, Sylvia enquires about her husband's sexual fidelity. Cowley attests to Christopher's solidarity in the military, "The captain run after skirts... Why, I can number on my hands the times he's been out of my sight since he's had the battalion! (399)". He is described as a mother hen who is completely devoted to duty. When Sylvia muses about him having a girl in town, Perowne answers, "Well, he hasn't got one"(397). For Sylvia, Christopher's devotion to duty and suppression of outward emotion leaves him devoid of life, passionless. Sylvia is cruel in her torture of Christopher, but she percieves him as equally cruel for his lack of outward feeling. The more of an English country gentleman that he exhibits, the more she is driven to hurt him. With Sylvia, "...the fits of emotion were periodical and unexpected, though her colder passion remained always the same...(405)". Unlike the lady in Char-tier's poem, she is not pursued desperately by a young man. Their positions are reversed, she can not react to his passion because he exhibits none. Instead, she turns to sadism, and her cruelty is a reaction to his indifference.

Works consulted:

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Why was the general so shocked to hear that Tietjen is a socialist?

a propaganda postcard of WWI illustrating Lenin and socialism, titled "end of puppet show"

"Of course, refusing property is a sign of being one of these fellows" (443)
"But...give all his goods to the poor!" (444)

- Socialism is defined as production being owned by the workers rather than by the rich minorities. A socialist society can control production unlike capitalism and production is for the common good rather than for individual profit. This way, workers are also owners and recieve the "full fruits" of their labour by participating fully.

- Therefore, it makes sense that Tietjen is refusing wealth as socialists believe that it is wrong for one individual to be wealthy, everyone should be equally wealthy in a socialist society.

"dirty minded Socialist" (442)

- socialism was significant in Germany. The following is a quotation during the ends of WWI from German politician (and president during 1919-1925), Friedrich Ebert:
"Germany can still do the world many services. It was a German who gave the workers of the world scientific Socialism. We are on the way to leading the world once again in Socialism, since we serve that Socialism which alone can be permanent, which increases the prosperity and the Kultur of the people - Socialism in process of realization."

- The largest socialist party, SPD, had become quite popular in Germany leading up to the first world war, and it became the largest party in 1914.

- Socialism was also linked to being unpatriotic as social class was much more important than country. They had many anti-war movements that expressed how the war heightened extremem patriotism and racism. Moreover, many socialists opposed how ridiculously patriotic the government was.
- As a Military General of Great Britian, socialism was utterly disgusting because it was linked to the enemy and not having the loyalty to support the country.

"I always knew he had a screw loose...But...Not a Socialist!" (442)

- The socialists demonstrated many anti-war movements during WWI, especially when it came from workers or students who felt that the society was barbaric for fighting. They were upset that the taxes were raised, welfare was cut, presses were censored and conscriptions were introduced. They were especially angry at how the war effected workers, such as lowered wages, lengthened working hours and strikes were banned.

- They worked to stop WWI by questioning how to get rid of the system which produces war and what caused the war in the first place. Lenin, a Russian revolutionary and later the leader of the October Revolution, argued that wars cannot be abolished unless classes are abolished and socialism is created. For Lenin and the socialists, the most effective way of fighting against the war was to intensify the struggle against the ruling classes.

- Socialists believed that workers can change society and the war will end by the struggle between the working class and the ruling class. In a way, WWI did end in this way as the revolution took place in Russia and Great Britian lost most of it's upper class members.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Summary of part one chapter two

Sylvia the Hunter
In book one Sylvia refers to men as sport(149). This is fitting because Tietjens refers to Sylvia as a hunter:
*"Tietjens groaned and sank more deeply into his beef case. It was if an unseen and unsuspected wild beast had jumped on his neck from an overhanging branch" (314).
*"To Tietjen's it was as if an immense cat were parading, fascinated and fatal around that hut. He had imagined himself parted from his wife"(315).
The next morning after the air raid the "All Clear" came at once.Tietjens gets a buff memorandum slip that is marked private and reads:
"E.C. Genl., For God's sake keep your wife off me. I will not have skirts round my H.Q. You are more trouble to me than all the rest of my command together (314) After Tietjens receives this message he starts insulting everyone, because of their supposed feminine aspects, for example: "His feminine solicitude enraged and overwhelmed Tietjen's with blackness"(314), "That's your sort of Oxford young woman's rhyme"(315), "And here was Levin with the familiar Feminine-agonised wrinkle on his bronzed-alabaster brow.." (326).
Captain McKenzie and Tietjens are waiting for their draft to move off. Tietjens moves in and out of shock over Sylvia and her games. Tietjens keeps going over the last time he saw her. Tietjens and McKenzie play their poetry game.
The hut fills with soldiers and then things get hectic enabling Tietjen's mind to forget about Sylvia- at least momentarily. Captain Tietjens is in charge of taking care of the soldiers who need to make their wills and Captain McKenzie is in charge of men who want to withdraw money. We learn that there is a confession area for the men.
Tietjens is reminded of Sylvia again by Pte. 197394 Thomas Johnson "a shining faced lump of beef, an agricultural off jobman from British Columbia where he had worked on the immense estates of Sylvia Tietjens' portentous ducal second cousin Rugeley.
Colonel Levin gives grief over the draft not being sent out yet and wastes their time, Sergeant -Major Cowley defends, giving a sense of how long things took to get done and the confusion that everyone is in, not knowing if they are coming or going "they had urgent instructions not to send up the draft without the four hundred Canadian Railway Service men who were to come from Etaples. These men had only arrived that evening at 5:30.. at the railway station. Marching them up had taken three quarters of an hour......"(324)
Levin takes Tietjens for a walk and talks of his soon to be marriage of Nanette. He beats around the bush a while, trying to hint unsucessfully that Sylvia is in the General's car, at the gate, down the hill beside the camp guard-room. Tietjens "for a lunatic moment" thought it was Miss Wannop.
"Sentimental happiness had descended upon him merley because he had imagined her! He imagined her little, fair, rather pug-nosed face; under a fur cap, he did not know why. Leaning forward fhe would be, on the seat of the general's car, glazed in, a regular raree show! Peering out, shortsightedly on account of the reflections on the inside of the glass..." (334-5) comment; notice the difference when Tietjens has hallucinations of Sylvia verses his imagination of Valentine. Sylvia is a lot more fantastic; fairytale like verses Valentines realness.
Tietjens gives leave to a man who "wants to go to his mother who is waiting in a decent estaminet at the end of the tramline just out side the camp where the houses of the town begin"(335). He tells the man of the potenial danger of what might happen if he missed the draft- being shot by a firing squad at dawn.
Tiejens thinks about what Valentine might think of him if she heard him tell the man that. Valentine was "unreasonable" says Tietjens. She would consider it brutal to speak to a man of the possibility of his being shot by a firing party. A groan burst from him at the thought that there was no sense bothering about what Valentine Wannop would or would not think of him..." comment: this groan that burts from can be seen as a Freudism. Like the screams throughout the novel the release of supressed emotions.
Tietjen's Troyism
"It was at that date the settled conviction of His Majesty's Expeditionary Force that the army in the field was the tool of politicians and civilisans In moments of routine that cloud dissipated itself lightly; when news of ill omen arrived it settled down again heavily like a cloud of black gas. You hung your head impotently" (327).
Parade etiquette
*"Now, if [Tietjens] said: "Look here, colonel..." or "Look here, Colonel Levin.." or "Look here, Stanley, my boy..." For the one thing an officer may not say to a superior whatever their intimacy was: "Look here, Levin.." If he said then: "Look here, Stanley, you're a silly ass. It's all very well for Campion to say that I'm unsound because I have some brains. He's my godfather and has been saying it to me since I was twelve.....But when you say it you're just a parrot......If Tietjens should say that to this popinjay, would that be going farther than an officer in charge of detachment should go with a member of the Staff set above him, though not on parade and in a conversation of intimacy? Off parade and in intimate conversation all His Majesty's commission, there can be no higher rank and all that Bilge!... For how off parade could this descendant of an old-clo' man from Frankfurt be the equal to him, Tietjens of Groby? He wasn't his equal in any way- let alone socially..."(332)
*"even off parade you might well be the social equal of a Staff colonel, but you jolly well had to keep from showing that you were his superior. Especially intellectually. If you let yourself show a Staff officer that he was a silly ass- you could say it as often as you liked as long as you didn't prove it!- you could be certain that you would be for it before long. And quite properly. It was not English to be intellectually adroit. Nay it was positively unEnglish.."(333).

Monday, March 05, 2007

Du bist wie eine Blume


Du bist wie eine Blume is from a poem written by Heinrich Heine, a Jewish German poet (hence Tietjen’s reference to him being a ‘Jew’). His poem also inspired Romantic composer Robert Schuman’s No.24, from Myrthen. Heinrich Heine was an admirer of Napolean, his poetry often reflected either political or romantic themes—he is considered part of the German Romantic movement.

Du bist wie eine Blume
So hold und schön und rein:
Ich schau' dich an, und Wehmut
Schleicht mir ins Herz hinein.

Mir ist, als ob ich die Hände
Aufs Haupt dir legen sollt',
Betend, daß Gott dich erhalte
So rein und schön und hold.

English translation:

You are, to me, a flower
So lovely, pure and fair
I look at you
And melancholy my heart could tear.
I feel the need to lay my hands
In blessing, on your hair
Praying that God may keep you e’er,
So lovely, pure and fair,
Praying that God may keep you e’er,
So lovely, pure and fair.

"Obedient heart! Like the first primrose. not any primrose. The first primrose. Under a bank with the hounds breaking through the underwood...It was sentimental to say Du bist wie eine Blume... Damn the German language! But that fellow was a Jew..." (Ford, Parade’s End, 309).

Tietjen’s thoughts wander to Valentine during his shock of handling O Nine Morgan’s corpse. He thinks of her “fair, undistinguished, fresh face” (309) and likens her to the first primrose. Te meaning of the primrose derives from ‘prima rosa’ which literally means the ‘first rose’. In the opening to No More Parades, it is revealed to be a winter’s night. Primroses are amongst the first flowers to bloom; they are able to thrive in January and are considered easy to grow.

Tietjens experiences a moment of sweet tranquility by his contemplation of Valentine as the first primrose which immediately brings to his mind the poem Du bist wie eiene Blume. Tietjens argues against the poem’s depiction of a flower, because it fails to express the “strong feelings” he has towards a specific woman, which should be depicted instead as the flower, or the “special flower”(309). Consequently he concludes that the poem is too sentimental, an insincere attempt at expressing his attraction. Tietjen’s fierce contemplation of Valentine suggests a conscious attempt at washing away the affair of the dead man; he turns to the thoughts of one for whom his strong feelings could distract him in his shock. Tietjens thinks of her so strongly that he even imagines the smell of her as he kisses her, even though they had never kissed. She is at the forefront of his mind, she is so golden and sweet he suddenly finds himself stripped of all else, a “eunuch. By temperament” (309).

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Sylvia: Sadist or Liberated Woman?

Vintage Ad, 1913

Sylvia Tietjens is arguably one of the most fascinating females in British literature. In the first book of Ford's tetrology Some Do Not, Sylvia is the seductive, conniving female who tricks the protagonist, Christopher Tietjens into marriage, even though it is uncertain if he is the father of her child. After the child is born, Sylvia leaves Tietjens to commit adultery, and then, unrepentant, she returns to Tietjens with the seemingly sole intent to degrade, enervate or destroy his honorable character. Her motives seem to be a deep hatred of her husband’s temperament: the typical British “stiff upper lip” sort that represents the authentic Tory of Victorian England. However, in No More Parades, the reader is given further insights into Sylvia character and motivations…

At the end of Some Do Not it seems as though Tietjens and Sylvia have parted ways, he has gone back to serve in France and she has decided to go to a convent. However, in part two of No More Parades, we (the readers) learn that Sylvia has followed Tietjens to France. In the opening scene, she awaits Tietjens in the lounge of the best hotel in town, accompanied by Major Perowne, the man she had an affair with. Through Sylvia’s narrative, we soon see that the affair, for her, was in way motivated by typical reasons such as passion or romance but out a desire to upset or embarrass her husband:

“At the later date Sylvia had no difficulty in accounting to herself for her having gone off with such an oaf: she had simply reacted in a violent fit of sexual hatred, from her husband’s mind… For, for your wife to throw you over for an attractive man is naturally humiliating, but that she would 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.” (389-90)

Her motives are revealed to be based on a kind of sexual sadism. Sylvia is obsessed with her husband; her hatred of his temperament and principles is coupled with her dark sexual need for him, and it is this friction that seems to be at the root of most of her frustrations and actions.
After a few weeks with Perowne, she finds she can no longer put up with him, but also that she ‘misses’ her husband. She is bored by Perowne, instead she misses the agony of her sexual frustration and hatred for Tietjens. When she reunited with him, she finds herself in a state of almost violent sexual tension:

“Emotion was going all over Sylvia…at the proximity of Tietjens. She said to herself: “Is this to go on forever?” Her hands were ice-cold. She touched the back of her left hand with the fingers of her right. It was ice cold. She looked at her hands. They were bloodless…She said to herself: “It’s pure sexual passion…it’s pure sexual passion…God! Can’t I get over this? Father! used to be fond of Christopher…Get our Lady to get me over this…It’ll be the ruin of him and the ruin of me. But oh damn, don’t!...For it’s all I have to live for.” (400)

Sylvia is in a fit of sexual frustration and desire, she wavers between wanting it to be over and needing it to continue. She realizes the dangerousness of her feelings; that she may indeed ruin them both as a result but the virulence of her passions and her addiction to them drives her on. She attacks Tietjens out of a need to ‘shake the unshakeable’, to cause in him a measure of what he does to her:

“She said to herself: “By God, if that beast does not give in to me tonight he shall never see Michael again… Ah, but I got him…” Tietjens had his eyes closed, round each of his high-coloured nostrils a cresent of white was beginning. And increasing…” (401)

Of course, no matter how Sylvia tries to torment Tietjens, he is always stiffly polite in response, a reaction that further infuriates her. We can almost feel sorry for Sylvia for the simple fact that it is obvious she will never be satisfied or at peace:

“How, she said to herself, could she ever move, put emotion into, this lump! It was like trying to move an immense mattress filled with feathers. You pulled at one end, but the whole mass sagged down and remained immobile until you seemed to have no strength at all. Until virtue went out from you…
It was as if he had the evil eye, or some special protector. He was so appallingly competent, so appallingly always in the centre of his own picture.” (406)

Sylvia is a creature of passion, she acts on impulse, out of spite and frustration. When she sees Tietjens behave like the perfect example of an English Tory in front of the duchess, her rage drives her to tell General Campion that Tietjens is a Socialist:

“A triumph for Christopher was at that moment so exactly what Sylvia thought she did not want that she decided to tell the general that Christopher was a Socialist. That might take him down a peg or two in the general’s esteem…for the general’s arm-patting admiration for Tietjens, the man who did not argue but acted over the price of coal, was as much as she could bear…But, thinking it over in the smoking-room after dinner, by which time she was not so certain that she had done what she wanted.” (409)

Sylvia’s action is rash and she begins to realize, as she did with her affair with Perowne, that her actions may be moreover detrimental to her actual goals. While she may succeed in ‘disturbing’ her husband, the ill effects of her actions often seem to catch up with her.

One of Ford's remarkable abilities as a writer is evident in his characters' many contradictions. Part of Sylvia’s appeal may be understood through the fact that none of his characters seem to be entirely admirable, or even likable. While it has been argued that Christopher Tietjen's represents Ford's 'proper' man, extremely intelligent and unshakably honorable, he is also at times irritatingly rigid, pompous and sexist. He makes such statements as:
"I stand for monogamy and chastity. And for no talking about it. Of course if a man who is a man wants to have a woman he has her." (SDN, 18)
“I don’t read novels,” Tietjens answered. “I know what’s in ‘em.”

It is these and other comments that can lead the reader to sympathize with Sylvia; while her actions are often cruel and immoral, the reader can at least identify with her frustrations.

Overall, there are aspects of Sylvia’s character that may be admired. She represents the modern women, independent and fearless; a woman who is in control of her own destiny and unaffected by social criticism. She is also mysterious, alluring and stunningly beautiful. Unlike many of her sex at the turn of the century, Sylvia is not controlled by the men in her life but rather the opposite: she comes and goes according to her own fancy and is proud of her ability to do as she pleases.

However, on the other hand, Sylvia is also cruel, spoiled, self-centered apathetic, aggressive and sadistic. This is never clearer than when she sees her husband weary from war and likens him to a whipped dog:

"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..." (381)

While Sylvia’s voice seems almost sympathetic, we soon realize that she is heartless and without mercy:

“…I remembered the white bulldog I thrashed on the night before it died…A tired, silent beast…With a fat white behind…Tired out…You couldn’t see its tail because it was turned down, the stump…A great, silent beast…
…And I found it at the door when I came in from a dance without Christopher…And 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 went through my head…It hung down its head…A great head, room for a whole British encyclopedia of misinformation, as Christopher used to put it. It said: “What a hope!’…As I hope to be saved, though I never shall be, the dog said: “What a hope!’…Snow-white in quite black bushes…And it went under a bush. They found it dead there in the morning.”
“…It’s the seventh circle of hell, isn’t it? The frozen one…The last stud-white bulldog of that breed…As Christopher is the last stud-white hope of the Groby Tory breed…” (416-7)

If Christopher Tietjens is meant to represent the last of the English Tory breed, an obvious question that follows is what does Sylvia symbolize? Perhaps, in a way she represents Britain itself, a country which mercilessly exploited and destroyed almost the entire upper class with the First World War. As Ford so clearly states over and over throughout the book "There will be no more parades": things will be changed by the war; pomp and circumstance (like the band playing Land of Hope and Glory) will no longer be important as the old order is overthrown. After a disaster of such epic proportions, what can be left of the honor of war?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Land of Hope and Glory

- "the band would play Land of Hope and Glory and then the adjutant would say: There will be no more parades...Don't you see how symbolical it was - the band playing 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...No more Hope, no more Glory, no more parades for you and me and any more. Nor for the country...nor for the world, I dare say...None...Gone..Napoo finny! No...more...parades!" - Tietjens (330)

- This ceremony can be seen as Britian betraying her people in order to fight the war as there is nothing to celebrate in Britian. The war was going to kill the upper class, reduce the male youth population, demolish the class system and change the foundations of British society. The old values (thus Britian, or the Land of Hope and Glory) will no longer exist or be important. The Britan and Toryism that Tietjen knew will no longer exist as there will be no more land of hope and glory.

- The Land of Hope and Glory is a British patriotic song and was one of the most widely popular songs played during WWI.

- This song was written shortly after the Boer War was won and some critics say it was to promote the extension of the British rule around the world. (Since Britian gained further territory and mineral wealth by winning the Boer War).

Land of Hope and Glory
Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'ran brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide:
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride:
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.

(click here for sound clip)

parades in world war one

(an image of a send-off parade in 1917)
* Send-off Parades: where the people encourage and wish luck to the soldiers going into battle or over-seas (first picture).

* Victory Parades: held to celebrate a win in a battle. One of the most famous victory parades in history were held in London (1918) and Paris (1919) marking the end of WWI.
A soldier describes a victory parade in Paris as: "In the parade were hundreds of thousands of soldiers from the U.S., England, Canada, France, Australia, Italy and the colonies. Each soldier had his arms full of French girls, some crying, others laughing; each girl had to kiss every soldier before she would let him pass. The streets are crowded and all traffic held up...It is impossible to buy a flag in Paris today. Everyone has one it seems and the old streets are one solid mass of colors from all the allied nations...It's wonderful! So full of feeling and meaning".

* Recruitment Parades: common during WWI, as militia regiments tried to sign up the young men of the community, desperately needed to replenish the supply of men.

- the suffargettes also stated numerous parades, one of the most famous took place in London (1910) where 10000 women marched to support the women's suffrage bill.

- The parades symbolized a break from the war, where the soldiers could leave the battlefield and return to their civilian life. Also, it gave a sense of glory and pride to the soldiers as they saw how much they were respected and appreciated by the civilians. This can be seen on page 314 where the Canadian sergeant-major imagined himself on parade with his leather pocket book, thinking how "very smart it would look on parade, himself standing up straight and tall".

- Therefore, the title, "No More Parades" symbolize the end of glory and no hope of returning. The soldiers were going to be "massacred, by the quarter million...they should be massacred without jauntiness, without confidence, with depressed brows, without parade" (320). In a way, they were betrayed by the government and civilians who held parades for them; there is "no more Hope, no more Glory, no more parades" (330).