Waking the Dead: Poetic Voices of Truth in the Darkness of War
WAKING THE DEADVOICES OF TRUTH IN THE DARKNESS OF WARRodney Fisher B.A.MALS Mentor: Michael Collins, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThroughout history, war has been pursued in a perpetual cycle, resulting in enormous disruption and devastation to both lands and people. The cost is great, however, this activity is pursued generation after generation for both just and unjust purposes. It is imperative to consult the voices of those who both participated in the action as well as those who cared deeply enough to write about the war that surrounded them. Writers have played an invaluable role filling that need by providing honest, first-hand assessments, some of which were among the highest quality writings of the time.This study draws from some of the most significant poems and other writings from the canon of American Civil War and World War I literature. First, an introduction to the relevance of war literature as well as a brief history of the two respective wars is provided as a background. The writings are organized according to three primary themes: the horrific conditions of war, assessment of the personal costs, and the sources of hope sought by soldiers in recollection of home and the search for meaning in God.iiAnalysis of the works clarify the placement and relevance in the broader text of the paper. The chosen works of war literature, although a fraction of the existing corpus of war writings are among the most important of the era and provide indispensible insight into the minds of those who fought some of history's most demanding and costly wars. They reveal the conflict and personal reflection about killing and mercy, between death and life of soldiers in the world of war.War literature, as demonstrated through these representative poems, demonstrate that the cost of war is incalculable. The writing is often extraordinarily sad, thoughtful, and revealing as a result of pain, suffering and loss that exceeds the worst fears of those who have fought. They reveal a consciousness and value to life itself and its meaning in a civilized world that has broken down.
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