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Title- Interpretations of War Theme in English Literature and Human Culture

Basappa Y. Bangari

Research Scholar

Department of Studies and Research in English

Tumkur University

Tumakuru, Karnataka, India


This research paper tried to explore the interpretations of war themes and impact of the war in English literature and human culture. There is a known truth that in one or the other place in these world crises, conflicts and wars are seen. Nowadays we do witness this with the help of mass media and social networks. War do brings bad omen and loss of resources including human culture. To revive from the trauma of war it takes a long time to revive and settle again into the routine life. Both first and second World Wars impressed among the wide mass and transferring the memories in literature. Paul Fussell puts it, "Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected. Every War constitutes an irony of situation because its means are so melodramatically disproportionate to its ends." Writers like George Orwell and Rupert Brook and many others did put their views as well as the real impact of the war in the form of a novel, play, poem and other forms of literature.

Keywords War, Literature, Human Culture, Rivalry, England, Writers 


The Great War not just in a general sense influenced the course of present-day history remotely with, its extent of battling, the volume of killings and the size of obliteration, yet it additionally influenced man's point of view. Therefore Paul Fussel puts it, "Every war is ironic because every war is worse than expected. Every War constitutes an irony of situation because its means are so melodramatically disproportionate to its ends." The active willingness was communicated by the English poet Rupert Brook when he composed, “ If I should die think only this of me, That there's some corner of a foreign field, That is forever England, There should be In that rich earth, a richer dust concealed,  A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware.”(Edward Marsh)

This unreasonable motorization sounded the last post for the country England. It flagged the fall of English agribusiness in 1875. The declaration of the 'Doctrine of Free Trade' propounded that on the off chance that one industry, for example horticulture, went under in free rivalry, others would pick up proportionately well. In any case, it couldn't be in this way, for the rot of agribusiness symbolized the rot and disintegrating of a set up arrange. G.M. Trevelyan stated his views."The men of theory failed to perceive that agriculture is not merely one industry among many, but it is a way of life, unique and irreplaceable in its human and spiritual values." Till the nineteenth century, the prior exiled person normally separated perpetually from the people he abandoned. Little was ever known about him. “A close proximity was established between the emigrant and his people at home, through the 'Postage stamp’ in Queen Victoria's reign. Often he would return on a visit, with money in his pocket and tales of new lands of equality and self-help, with a little contempt for the old ways at home. In this quest to better himself, the middle and the lower classes came to know quite as much about the Empire as their 'betters’ and rather more than their 'betters’. So the professional and upper classes also went out to careers all over the world to govern and trade and shoot big game in Africa and India.” (Trevelyan)

The privileged of birth and legacy was being supplanted by one of riches and financial influence. In the expressions of Ramsay Macdonalds, “The age of Financier’ had come and expressed the belief that 'such people' (they included the scum’s of the earth which possessed itself of gold in the gutters of Johannesburg marketplace) did not command the moral respect which 12 tones down class hatred.”(Boris Ford) Crime and sex, if there should arise an occurrence of ladies, was as intuitive as to a man It in this manner changed the conventional view about marriage which just engendered the organization of reproducing. A. C. Ward remarked as, “Love is an art with subtle principles to be mastered not a casual affair into which any clodhopper and featherbrain can blunder with ignorance and success. For the physical love to be rightly ordered and fully developed, important mental and spiritual adjustments are indispensable” Along these lines, the plain man, straightforwardly or by implication, was induced by the 'soul of the age' to receive another ideology, as recorded by A.C. Wards I do trust in the vulnerability of all things and that everything is conceivable, not all that much.  “I believe in myself as the closest manifestation-however irrational, imperfect, unsatisfactory-of reality. I believe that life is for free speculation and experiment, world without end.” (A. C. Ward)

Let us consider a thing that hypnotized by Britain's idea of the 'welfare state', in light of the idea of 'freedom, fairness and brotherhood', the general population of the world sought England for initiative to worry about the white man's concern. A. J. P. Taylor commented. “Until August 1914, a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state beyond the Post Office and the policeman. He could like where he liked and as he liked. He could travel abroad or leave his country forever without a passport or any sort of official permission.” Further A.J.P. Taylor opined in other way."Literature, according to historical convention reflects contemporary life and reveals the spirit." In this connection B. Evans regretted about the negative part of these social commented. "One of the extraordinary phenomena is that both Wells and Shaw lived on throughout the inter-war period and kept themselves aware of the changing shape of the times." It might have been done 1930's those extensive prevalent audiences, to those initially time, were primed should reexamine those substances from claiming 1914-1918 war as a subject for fiction. It got to be conceivable due to this. A.P.J. Taylor commented. "Perhaps English people were dreaming less. Perhaps they were trying to catch up with what was going on around them. More probably, the writers changed and not the readers." Characterizing the nature of an aggregation which the writer looks should interpret under art, Elizabeth Drew stated his opinion. “Life never builds itself into the convenient symmetry of a plot. Life is the quality of the immediate present as we live it from moment to moment. Experience is made from the silt of innumerable instants of consciousness, fusing the present with the memories of the past, blending thought and action and sensation.”


Almost world is exposed to English literature and due to literary forms in one or the other forms English culture and human nature imitated by folks who are living in distant places. England tried to revive agribusiness and develop industries. Effects of war and post war trauma appeared in literature and humanitarian around the globe felt that not to expect war anywhere. English writers changed their style of writing and presentation techniques in order to reach their readers spread across the world. Any way the theme of war reflected in literature and still providing experiences to the readers as if they are living in that period. Many things could learn through literature and most probably the real meaning of ‘peace’ and non violence. With literature human culture grows in a right direction.


Ward, A.C. The Nineteen-Twenties Literature and Ideas in The Post War Decade. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd, 1937. pp. 201, 203

Taylor, A.J.P. English History 1914-1945. London: Penguin, Paperbacks, 1975. p.25, 236, 390

Evans, B. English Literature between the Wars. London: Methuen Co. & Ltd. p2

Ford, Boris. The Pelican Guide to English Literature (the Modern Age). Middlesex: Penguin, 1970. p. 29.

Edward Marsh. The Collected Poems of Rupert Brook, London: Sidghwick and Jackson Ltd, 1943.

Elizabeth Drew. The Novel, A Modern Guide to Fifteen English Master Pieces. New York: Dells & Co, 1963. p.17

Trevelyan, G. M. English Social History. London: Lowe and Drydane Limited, 1958. p.554

Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. London: Oxford University Press, 1975. p.7