Plot summary[ edit ] Death of a Hero is the story of a young English artist named George Winterbourne who enlists in the army at the beginning of World War I. The book is narrated by an unnamed first-person narrator who claims to have known and served with the main character. It is divided into three parts. After a disagreement with his parents, he relocates to London to become an artist and live a socialite lifestyle.
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Shelves: the-lost-generation Most World War 1 literature in popular culture seems to begin and end with All Quiet on the Western Front, which I hesitate to refer to as "overrated. In any instance I think then that Richard Aldington ought to be just as widely read as Remarque and Ill explain why.
Remarque obviously wants the reader to imagine themselves within the same situation. Remarque goes for empathy. The problem is that where Remarque has his group of characters go from close friends doing very unmilitary things together: chasing girls, hanging around town, so on and so forth, there is a time before when getting together with a group of your closest friends to fight and kill other groups of close friends was not even a remote thought.
He has few close friends, he has romantic partners sure enough, but he is not really attached to people. He easily acquires and loses many people with only passing notice.
His father is a bit of a Quixote character who simply exists on a separate plane of existence from his son, while his mother rather likes the consecutive ideas of: a son; a son in the army serving his country; and a dead son having served his country. That relationship cuts to the heart of the book, and the difference between Remarque and Aldington. Remarque would fully acknowledge that this group of youth he portrays are used as tools, but his focus is on the breaks between individuals that this war causes, the loss of life as national tragedy, that is his focus.
Aldington is not interested in this. His focus is that on how the individual is used, how the individual progresses from body to corpse, and corpse to memory. George was not important for any social reasons, George was important because he was a soldier pointing his gun in the correct direction. His death is important because it goes back to and help props up that authority which sent him there in the first place.
You can see this with the banality of the corpses in the final scenes-they are at best obstacles in ones path whether they are French or German is immaterial. It is a numbers crunch. Again, this is something that Remarque would no doubt totally agree with, but since his focus is elsewhere it is not fleshed out nearly so well.
Death of a Hero
Both of his parents wrote and published books, and the home held a large library of European and classical literature. His father died of heart problems at aged Supported by a small allowance from his parents, he worked as a sports journalist, started publishing poetry in British journals and gravitated towards literary circles that included poets William Butler Yeats and Walter de la Mare. At the time he is described as a "tall and broad-shouldered, with a fine forehead, thick longish hair of the indefinite colour blond hair turns to in adolescence, very bright blue eyes, too small a nose and a determined mouth. On their return to London in the summer they moved into separate flats in Churchwalk, Kensington , in West London. In the presence of Pound and the Doolittle family, over from America for the summer, the couple married marriage — They moved to 5 Holland Place Chambers into a flat of their own, although Pound soon moved in across the hall.
But he liked the soldiers, the War soldiers, not as soldiers but as men. He respected them. He was with them. With them, because they were men with fine qualities, because they had endured great hardships and dangers with simplicity, because they had parried those hardships and dangers not by hating the men who were supposed to be their enemies, but by developing a comradeship among themselves.