“I shall not easily forget those long winter nights in the front line. Darkness fell about four in the afternoon and dawn was not until eight next morning. These sixteen hours of blackness were broken by gun flashes, the gleam of star shells and punctuated by the scream of a shell or the sudden heart-stopping rattle of a machine-gun. The long hours crept by with leaden feet and sometimes it seemed as if time itself was dead.”
F. Noakes, in ‘The Distant Drum’
The 1st World War was above all a human experience for the people of the countries involved that has left an everlasting mark. As we investigate the development and end of this war, we will also take a peek into the human perspective of the war. What was life like at the trenches? What were the expectations of war? What did reality turn out to be like in the end? What is “heroic” when living inside a trench?
For this work, you’ve been given extracts from a famous play on WW1 called “Journey’s End”.
As you read your extracts, consider the following questions:
- Who are the characters in your extract?
- What is the situation in your extract?
- What are the words and/or phrases that tell you the scene is from the war?
- What feelings does this extract transmit?
- What did you learn from this extract about the nature of war?