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Posted on April 21st, 2012, by

Opening descriptions set the tone of the entire short-story. The author describes the body of the killed soldier, with the “face chalk-blue”¯ and “gleaming eyes stared at the sky”¯. In such a way, the author contrasts the signs of death that can be traced in face of the soldier and signs of life which are mirrored in the eyes of the soldier. After that the author draws the attention of the audience to the gloomy environment, in which the body of a soldier seems to be as natural as grass in a field. There is “windy sounds of bullets, and on the top of the hill”¦ infantry was firing measure volleys”¯. The ongoing battle implies new deaths and the author describes the clothes of the killed soldier to show that death is close and it causes fear of ordinary soldiers: “the first button was brick-red with drying blood, and he did not seem to dare touch it”¯.

Dialogues are also very important in the short-story. For instance, when the adjutant asks whether anyone knows service, this means that people still preserved their basic values and traditions since they want to bury the killed soldier according to traditions.

However, they “tumble hum in”¯ the shallow grave that shows that death is routine during war and traditions are nothing since the adjutant says these words “humorously”¯. This is an important action because soldiers cannot bury their comrade in a traditional way. Another important action is the hesitation of Lean before he flung his first shovel into the grave and when he did it. The simple movement proves to be a serious challenge since it contradicts to moral and ethical norms of the character.

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