• World War 1- 1914-1918
• “home by Christmas”
• Canada was apart of British Colony and fought with Britain, lost 65 000 soldiers in
Impact of new technology on war and how changes traditional attitudes towards
In Flanders Fields
John McCrae, May 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
• Poem was used as propaganda tool by Canadian govn. to recruit soldiers
• How does this poem speak to attitudes towards memory, our responsibilities, and
Memory- always remember (shall not sleep), poppies are weeds and hard to remove
which resembles how soldiers and war are hard to remove from our memory,
Our responsibilities- last stanza, our fight
Death- honouring the dead and remembering them, the dead are speaking to us,
death is viewed as sleeping (not morbid at all), little violence
Poem speaks to stability, a sanctioned just cause, must continue to keep on this
sanctioned cause and if not we should feel guilt and soldiers will be forgotten
Poem is iambic, balanced rhyme scheme, organized, which is ironic because he is
writing about war. Form of poem contradicts concept of poem
Siegfried Sassoon, March 1919
• Much more morbid and violent
• Views on war started to change after 1915 when McCrae wrote his poem
• Became more bitter
• In Generals Die in Bed, Charles Harrison deconstructs values around heroism, values,
and discipline to show everyday experience of war that is nothing like world of war
that McCrae created in his poem but more so like the war and way of like that
Sassoon created through his poem.
To have a war must have:
1. a sanctioned just cause
2. an enemy, if you don’t have one create one
3. unending supply of 16-25 yr old men
• Generals die in bed- think about what Harrison says/thinks about concept of the
Generals Die in Bed • In first four paragraphs of novel Harrison disabuses notion of soldiers as heroes,
challenges concepts of romantic heroism (romanticized view of heroism), nobility,
divine honour, social hierarchy, rational logic, cause and effect.
Visiting prostitutes in Montreal
Night’s carousal down the line- suggests that the soldiers aren’t heroes and
associates prostitution down the line in Montreal with the trench line in war
• Book received mixture of awful and great reviews
Reviewers who fought in the war and looked at it as a history book, as
opposed to literature, were appalled by this novel and saw it as
misconception of war.
• Harrison breaks the rules of traditional depiction and view of war, which caused
• Anderson is disrespected and paid no attention to when he speaks up about the
soldiers sleeping with prostitutes and sinning. Shows disrespect and carelessness
they have towards religion or God while at war. He says how God did not make their
bodies to sleep around which is ironic because he is saying God is okay with their
bodies being blown apart at the front line.
• The train ride, travelling, and training between Chapter 1-2