Introduction to the novel ‘Birdsong’

To begin with, ‘Birdsong’ introduces Amiens, France in 1910 his business company sends him to work with Rene Azaire at his textile factory, he stays with Azaire and his family, his wife Isabelle and his two children Lisette and Gregoire, there is detail to the arrangements of how they live, the life before Isabelle and also Isabelle’s life with her struggles at home. The Novel then changes time frame to France 1916 – the middle of World War 1. He is a lieutenant in the British Army and we understand the changes the war causes and the newly found freindships between Stephen and other soldiers: Jack Firebrace, Michael Wier.

Throughout the first section of the novel we can see the changes that occur due to disruptions within relationships such as Isabelle leaving Azaire and his children, also the fear and loneliness that is present due to the onset of the war which significantly changes the attitudes and feelings not only of Stephen but also of the other men who are significant to the changes present in Stephen and how their understanding and sometimes contrast in mindset opens the mind of Stephen and he begins to remains past times with Isabelle and the challenging changes not only physically but also mentally and emotionally that have caused Stephen and Isabelle to consequently change.

causes and consequences of World war One

Causes
On 28 June 1914, a Serbian shot an Austrian. Within six weeks, many of the countries of Europe had become involved in a war that was to cause the deaths of 10 million soldiers, but was the assassination the only cause of war?
Four underlying causes of war

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand signalled the rapid slide into world war, but this wasn’t the only cause. There were underlying causes in the run-up to the First World War.
In the 1930s, historians argued that there were four underlying long-term causes of the First World War:
Nationalism – the belief that your country is better than others. This made nations assertive and aggressive.
Imperialism – the desire to conquer colonies, especially in Africa. This brought the powers into conflict – Germany wanted an empire. France and Britain already had empires.
Militarism (Arms Race) – the attempt to build up a strong army and navy gave nations the means and will to make war.
Alliances – in 1882, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy formed the Triple Alliance. This alarmed, France, Britain and Russia. By 1907, they had all joined the Triple Entente. Europe was divided into two armed camps, to help each other if there was a war.
(http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/history/mwh/ir1/underlyingcausesrev1.shtml – BBC bitesize History causes of the war)

 

Consequences

there were many consequences of World War One that greatly impacted not only the lives of people involved by also of the mass destruction on buildings and infrastructure but also economically and geographically with changes that affected the future of Europe and the World. Through this graph it can be seen as an estimate of the cost of War globally. (information from spartacus education)

Allied Powers

Cost in Dollars in 1914-18

United States

22,625,253,000

Great Britain

35,334,012,000

France

24,265,583,000

Russia

22,293,950,000

Italy

12,413,998,000

Belgium

1,154,468,000

Romania

1,600,000,000

Japan

40,000,000

Serbia

399,400,000

Greece

270,000,000

Canada

1,665,576,000

Australia

1,423,208,000

New Zealand

378,750,000

India

601,279,000

South Africa

300,000,000

British Colonies

125,000,000

Others

500,000,000

Total of all Costs

125,690,477,000

Central Powers

Cost in Dollars in 1914-18

Germany

37,775,000,000

Austria-Hungary

20,622,960,000

Turkey

1,430,000,000

Bulgaria

815,200,000

Total of all Costs

60,643,160,000

An Introduction to Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’

Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’ was first published in 1993 and depicts essentially the life of a man named Stephen Wraysford who becomes involved in an affair with Isabelle who is unhappily married. The novel depicts the seemingly short lived affair between Isabelle and Stephen and when World War One begins there are many changes that occur due to the extreme destruction caused by War and the involvement and emotions of many characters around Stephen particularly the comradeship between himself and soldiers. The novel also significantly depicts the circumstances and somewhat hostility of France in 1910 and the struggles for many people. The novel specifies the time changes from a past of War and changing circumstances to a modern discovery of past revelations.