Irony In World War Ii As Discussed By Paul Fussell

683 words - 3 pages

The Importance of the Irony in the Interpretation of the Great War:

The World War I was the first war fought after the industrial revolution that took place in Europe. The countries that were involved in this war were overly presumptuous that this war would be quick and efficient, because of the new weaponry that was the byproduct of the industrial revolution. But the soldiers realized that they were wrong about it. They thought the war would be over "before the Christmas" of year 1914. But they were wrong, and therefore found it necessary to disillusion the people back at home. Several war writers emerged who made the use of irony to expose the the brutality of the war. In short, they told it like it was - the ultimate truth about the war. Paul Fussell's theory states in his article, "Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected."

The main theory behind such writing is awakening the people back at home, and showing them the seriousness of the situation. Instead of sugar-coating details, or giving just positive accounts of war, it is essential to tell the people what really went on in those dreadful trenches, no-man's land, or amidst the barbed wire. When a writer paints the picture of the war scene that in itself, it is not ironic. But when the readers read that very account, they feel the irony.

An example of irony would be Siegfried Sassoon's poem, "The Hero" and his real life experience. The poem is about a soldier telling an old woman that her son died while fighting. But then the soldier says to himself that the dead soldier was more of a cold-footed coward, and he did not want to say that to the poor mother. This in itself is ironic, because you see two shades of a character: one where he is portrayed as a hero and the other when he is depicted as a coward. Another ironic detail is that in Fussell's article, we find out that Sassoon himself acted a bit cowardly, when he hid himself during...

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