Birdsong Essay

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From Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Jack Firebrace. An honest Tommy.

The Novel Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks is a story of various parts of one mans life, Stephen Wraysford. The first par of the book is a love story, when Stephen Wraysford is living and working in Northern France. The main text of the book is when Stephen Wraysford returns to Northern France again, this time as an officer in the British Army, during the First World War. This is the section in which Jack Firebrace features. The final part of the book is a recurring sub plot set in the seventies.
We initially meet Jack Firebrace in the most horrific circumstances possible. Jack is a miner, tunnelling under enemy positions placing mines in the hope of halting enemy advances. …show more content…

Following our initial encounter with Jack, seeing him emotionally tortured by his own side. We see in Jack a good man, an ordinary man in the most extraordinary of circumstances. We are shown how important his family are to him. His eight year old son John is seriously ill with diphtheria, this prey’s on Jack’s mind. In the death and killing that surround him Jack comforts himself reading letters from his wife.
John Died. In the sea of awfulness that surrounded him Jack sat down and read the words his wife had written. In very simple language she wrote “I have to tell you that our boy died this morning” The starkness of these words appear to underline the tenuous grasp that Jack also has on life. At any moment Jack could be wiped out too. Consistent to the character we have already seen in Jack he tries to pray, to give thanks, however overcome by emotion he can only sob “my boy, my darling boy”. In a premonition to Jack’s fate his wife writes “please do take care of yourself, come home to me”

In a battle scene near Auchenvilliers the troops gathered waiting for “the big push” Meanwhile Jack was wiring up the mines in tunnels underground, sure in the knowledge that their detonation would strengthen the allied positions. However, quite the contrary when the mines were detonated they left an enormous crater to strengthen the enemy’s defences. This allied to the fact that

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