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Vera Brittain

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Devarshi Naik

on 18 July 2015

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Transcript of Vera Brittain

Vera Brittain
War Poet: Perhaps(To R.A.L) & To My Brother
Vera Britain was a British Author who has composed many poems and novels. Her work is largely centered around her personal experiences and are often poured with her emotions. Vera was born into a wealthy family and had one brother named Edward who she was extremely fond of. When the emergence of war came about in 1915 the four most significant men in Vera's life her Brother , her fiance Roland and her two close mates all enlisted. Leaving Vera with no motivation to complete her studies at oxford. Instead to be with her loved ones she chose to play her part in the war as part of the V.A.D (Voluntary,Aid,Department) and took up the role as a nurse first serving in England then France and Malta. During the war she witnessed its horrors first hand with her only Brother MC Edward Britain,her Fiance Roland Leighton and two other close friends victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow all losing their lives in the name of national duty. This event in Vera's life led to an unwavering attitude of pacifism and peace instilling within her. The poems Perhaps (To R.A.L) & To My Brother are just a couple of her works in War poetry.
Perhaps(To R.A.L):
Summary:
Perhaps (To R.A.L) is about Roland Leighton,Vera's fiance.It was written in February 1916, after the death of Vera's fiance during the Christmas of 1915 on the western front. The Poem is an expression of Vera's reaction to the loss of her fiance.Vera's situation was just made worse as she as part of the V.A.D was healing the German prisoners who indirectly were the group responsible for her fiance's death.She is reflecting upon the loss and is in an hypothetical mindset about moving on . Prior to meeting Roland ,Vera was against the concept of marriage however she saw something in Roland that made her think differently and thus the loss came down on Vera very badly causing her to have such an delusional tone in her poem .
Analysis Of language:
Significance :
Perhaps to R.A.L is an significant text in the terms of comprehending the time of World War One Britain. It is based from perspective of a sorrowful fiance who was also part of the war act and had witnessed the horrors of the war first hand. Perhaps allows us to see the war and the effect it had on people from a different situation/perspective. Not from someone who had a bias and was unable to comprehend the actual daily sufferings of the war such as family members or relatives who weren't part of the war, but from someone who was directly on the battlefields. Seeing the daily war effort taken by both sides and yet partially with the position of a sombre and sorrowful family member.The views of women on on the war is quite a rare perspective to be presented however through the eyes of Vera we are able to see it.

Overview:
To My Brother:
Summary:
Analysis Of Language:
Significance:
First Stanza:
Perhaps some day the sun will shine again
And i shall see that still the skies are blue
And feel once more i do not live in vain although bereft of You.
Vera's reference to "
Perhaps
" at the start of the poem and it being the core of the poem signifies that she wants to move on and open her eyes again to reality unclouded from the constant reminders of Roland's passing however there is a great deal of doubt and uncertainty about her ability to do so. furthermore her reference to "
Still
" in "
still the skies are blue
",emphasizes her acceptance of the fact that although Roland has passed away the world is still functioning the way it always had and that she wanted to move on and believe that everything was still the same, just without Roland. "
Although bereft You"
Shows that Vera is deprived of her fiance and feels lonely and isolated due to this the capitalized "You" is used to emphasize the importance of Roland and directly links her state of mind to him.Capital
And
is used at the start of the 2nd and 3rd sentence this represents how dull and repetitive each day seems without Roland.
Second stanza:
Perhaps the golden meadows at my feet
Will make the sunny hours of spring seem gay,
And I shall find the white May-blossoms sweet,
Though You have passed away.

"Perhaps"- reference to perhaps again reinforcing her uncertain,doubtful and slightly pessimistic attitude about moving on. Her Reference to the "
Golden Meadows"
is because meadows have the ability to support & give a chance back at life to those flora & fauna that wouldn't be able to survive in other conditions. she uses this analogy to express her situation where she is like the fragile flora and fauna which wont be able to survive without Roland (the real life example of other conditions) however due to the World which she describes through her reference to the golden meadows she might just be able to.
Further on " Seem & I Shall " reinforce her uncertainty in moving on and looking ahead.
Third Stanza:
Perhaps the summer woods will shimmer bright,
And crimson roses once again be fair,
And autumn harvest fields a rich delight,
Although You are not there.
"Perhaps" is recurring in all the stanza's idolizing her uncertainty and doubt filled attitude about moving on
"
crimson roses once again be fair
" is symbolic of her desire to take back the time and go back to the time where the poppies where still white and not covered in the blood of the soldiers as represented through the use of crimson roses. This so she could be with her beloved fiance again.
Her reference to "You are not There" at the end of the stanza again reinforces the impact the loss has made to her.


Fourth Stanza:
Perhaps some day I shall not shrink in pain
To see the passing of the dying year,
And listen to Christmas songs again,
Although You cannot hear.'

"
Shrink in Pain
"- this can be interpreted as her telling the reader that the pain of her loss makes her feel insignificant,and feels as if shes alone in this big world. The reference to the "
dying year
" has a double meaning, she is referring to the seasonal change that marks the end of the year as well as suggesting that due to the death of her fiance which occurred at the end of the year, the year was dead to her. "
And listen to the Christmas songs again" ," Although You cant hear them"
is emphasizing how instead to hearing the Christmas songs being played Ronald heard the gun shots that marked his death in the Christmas of 1915.
Fifth Stanza:
But though kind Time may many joys renew,
There is one greatest joy I shall not know
Again, because my heart for loss of You
Was broken, long ago.
Vera's reference to"
But"
at the start of the stanza is to show that there is a faint hope of resurrecting happiness and joy into her life, in time.The 2ND and 3rd line however make it clear that regardless of whether Vera renews her joy and happiness after Ronald's death, she will never be able to achieve the happiness she had whilst Ronald was alive as seen through her reference to her heart being broken following his death.
Vera Brittains consistent placing of perhaps or but to start her stanza's,follows the pattern emphasizing Vera's uncertainty about moving on from her loss and the consistent and reference to her fiance through You at the end of each stanza highlights her reason for writing the poem, her unparalleled and committed love towards Ronald and emphasizes Ronald's significance in her life.
To My brother is about Vera's younger Brother MC Edward who fought during the war. In 1916 After suffering serious wounds whilst in action Edward came to the same hospital in Camberwell where Vera was working at the time. Two years later on June 15 1918, 4 days before Vera learned of her brothers passing she is wishing him well for his last advance and telling him that if not for himself at least for Vera Edward has to take care of himself. She is Almost suggesting to Edward that he had already proven his courage and played his part in the war and he had his silver to show for that and now she wants him to just come back to her safely. She warns him by giving him the example of his near death experience two years ago.
First Stanza:
Your battle wounds are scars upon my heart,
Received when in that grand and tragic 'show'
You played your part,
Two years ago,
"
Your battle wounds are scars upon my heart
" is representative of her close bondage to her brother where she describes his physical wounds which he had in 1916 when he came into the same hospital where she worked as leaving her scarred emotionally. Also suggests that Edwards wounds didn't only pain him physically but transcended to his sister as well emotionally.
"
That Grand and Tragic show
"- She is referring to war in general however she is also exasperating the belief which was present at the time that getting wounded in battle was an glorious and grand thing to do. This statement also highlights women's position when their loved ones where wounded in war as being emotionally scarred due to the physical scars of their loved ones.
Second stanza
And silver in the summer morning sun
I see the symbol of your courage glow
That Cross you won
Two years ago.
"
Silver in the summer morning sun
" "
I see the symbol of your courage glow
"

"
That Cross you won
"

"
Two years ago
"- This verse Vera talks about the Silver Cross given to Edward after becoming MC. She's suggestively sequences her words in such a way to tell Edward that his badge is a sign that he had done enough already to play his part in the war and that he didn't need to prove himself anymore.
Third Stanza:
Though now again you watch the shrapnel fly,
And hear the guns that daily louder grow,
As in July
Two years ago.
Fourth Stanza:
May you endure to lead the Last Advance
And with your men pursue the flying foe
As once in France
Two years ago.
"
Though
"-
Vera's reference to though shows her discontent over Edward being fighting in war again and her reference to "Two years ago" reinforces this notion and suggests that she dosen't want anything like hat happened two years ago to happen again.
"
Last Advance
"-
This is Vera telling her little brother that your job is done in the war now its at its brink, so make sure you last it out and come back safely.
To my Brother is a Significant poem in our understanding of Word war 1 Britain. This is becuase To My Brother highlihgts the societal genralisations and beliefs of the time and presents them fro mthe point of a
Full transcript