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 )

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