Comradeship in James Hanley's "The German Prisoner", Ernest Hemingway's "Farewell to Arms", "Not So Quiet", "All Quiet on the Western Front", and Pat Baker's "Regeneration"
For many soldiers and volunteers, life on the fronts during the war means danger, and there are few if any distractions from its horrors. Each comradeship serves as a divergence from the daily atrocities and makes life tolerable. Yet, the same bonds that most World War literature romantically portrays can be equally negative. James Hanley’s “The German Prisoner”, shows the horrifying results of such alliances, while “Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemmingway reveal that occasionally, some individuals like Lieutenant Henri seek solidarity outside the combat zone. Smithy of “Not So Quiet” and Paul Baumer in “All Quiet on the Western Front” demonstrate the importance and advantages of comradeship while giving credence to the romance of these connections. Pat Barker’s “Regeneration” depicts Siegfried Sassoon, as an officer who places comradeship and honor above his own personal anti war convictions. Regardless of the consequences, each demonstrates not only the different results of comradeship but also its power and level of importance to each character in the abovementioned writings.
James Hanley provides an uncommon perspective of comradeship that contrasts the usual romantic representations by other World War 1 writers. Elston is from Manchester, England, a poor industrial city and O’Garra is from the impoverished town of Dublin, Ireland (48). Both men enlist in the service to escape their poverty and squalid environments. O’Garro is physically repulsive and the more aggressive of the two but loathes Elston who contrasts him in disposition and physical appearance (48). Yet, their similarities of rank and background are enough to encourage a comradeship that yields deadly results. The strongest instance of this camaraderie occurs as they grasp each other’s hand in the blinding fog. O’Garra, the “…Irishman…hung on desperately to the Manchester man” and according to him, “…for some unknown reason…he dreaded losing contact…” finding ‘the sudden desire for…” his partner’s “…company overwhelming…” (59) but also inexplicable. This signifies the beginning of a bond that strengthens as their problems increase. They then encounter a German soldier who is also lost in the fog. An important incident, as it supplies the scapegoat they need to transfer their frustrations. After abruptly rejecting the prisoner’s request for mutual comradeship, they strengthen theirs, and substitute him as the cause for their misfortunes (75). Their comradeship facilitates violence and the brutal acts of sodomy and murder against the prisoner (76). James Hanley presents an atypical effect of comradeship and disproves the notion that these alliances are always positive.
Meanwhile in “Farewell to Arms” the usual comradeship found at the front is significantly lacking. Instead,...