Presentation of Loss in Birdsong

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Explore Faulks’ Presentation of Loss in the Novel Birdsong Birdsong is a novel set in the period before, during and after the First World War. Automatically one would think of the loss of life that was suffered during this time, but the loss of life is not the only form loss suffered during this time. Standing side -by -side with the loss of life is the loss of love and the loss of faith. Faulks uses vivid descriptions and contrasting images to place the reader at the scene and make them empathise with the characters. Loss is one of the most poignant themes in the book, and is one that fuels a majority of the lines written. The most common understanding form of loss associated with the First World War is the great loss of life. Faulks chose to try and put this into words and create something so vivid that it would stick to your mind and make you tremble. Loss is embedded so deeply in the soldiers minds, that they are seeing dead bodies while their eyes are still closed, “He saw a picture in his mind of a terrible piling up of the dead. …….the row on row, the deep rotting earth hollowed out to hold them”. This powerful line shows how the loss of life has been so badly imprinted on Stephens’s mind that even, normal, everyday things were turning into gruesome, deathly images. Faulks uses a lot of dream like imagery to show how badly the soldiers were affected by loss, even when they are sleeping or floating within their imagination, all they can think about is death. Faulks
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