Wednesday, April 04, 2007

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 fiancĂ©es’ 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).

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