The Life of a World War II German Soldier

Bethany Herold

Professor Greshka German-Stuart

HIS 102 C11

28 November 2014

The Life of a World War II German Soldier

Küstrin, Germany – July 1st, 1939

My name is Franz Juschkat, and I am 23 years old. A few days ago I was called up for service by an individual letter sent to me, requiring me to join Wehrmacht, the German army. I have since been placed in the branch Heer, and so far I have only been attending occasional training and exercises. Since Hitler came to power back in January of 1933, he has been creating a more unified nation. Back then, I too was swept up in the propaganda and thoughts of war, much like all my peers. But now, with war verging on the horizon, and my horizon at that, I am unsure as how to feel just yet. I do not know that I would have gone willing, and now the Adolf Hitler has reinforced conscription, it appears I do not have a choice. I hope we this will all be over quickly, and that we can restore pride to Germany as promised. I have heard rumors filter through our barracks, claiming that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin have agreed not to invade each other’s borders. If this is true, it appears that our first destination will be Poland. I feel damp and cold as my bunk creaks underneath me, and sense the looming winter weather coming near. But perhaps this time, it is something more. I must go now and write letters to my family, and my betrothed, Ana. I want to let her know that this should all be over rather quickly, and that we can still plan to have the wedding late this year.

Majdan Tatarski, Poland – October 6th, 1939

I cannot believe that it has been weeks since we first invaded Poland. I can still hear the shots ringing out, with devastating cries to follow. I feel my feet stick to the earth below me, brought upon by the slowly drying blood of thousands. And I as I sit here at camp, the stench of spent ammunition and death is never ending. Our war became more involved with the joining of both Britain and France on the Allied side on September 3rd. As for our invasion, the Polish people put up what fight they could, but they were still defeated in a matter of weeks. They finally surrendered on September 27th in Warsaw. I am currently camped at Majdan Tatarski in Poland. Like the others, I was exhilarated with the seemingly flawless ease with which we captured Poland. If we continue to be successful, I pray that this war will come to a close much more quickly than we had even thought. My love for my country can only carry me so far, and I long to return home to my family and Ana. I was recently informed that we will be keeping many prisoners here in camps soon enough, particularly those of Jewish faith and descent. It serves them right I suppose. They cannot help being an inferior race, but they certainly do not need to cling so tightly to a hokey religion. I have received orders to march on to one of the Allied countries tomorrow. I must rest now, for we leave at dawn.

Moscow, Russia – September 24th, 1941

I’m sorry I have not written in quite some time. Much has gone on since my last journal entry. First off, many of our soldiers marched off to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. Our Blitzkrieg overwhelmed them. I myself was sent to Belgium, and though it was much more strenuous than Poland, we succeeded still. We then marched towards Paris to attempt to take a vital Allied city. We ultimately captured Paris, and France surrendered to the Nazis. This was monumental for us, and I’m sure Hitler was very proud. We then sought to march on Britain itself. There was, I believe, a three-month battle fought in the skies over Britain. There were many destructive bombing raids on London and other cities. However, England finally prevailed, and towards the end of October of 1940, we were given our first defeat. We have since postponed our plans to invade Britain. Although the Americans have yet to join the war, their president, Roosevelt, sides with our enemies. He recently even froze our German assets in his country. Our most recent conquest took place here in Moscow. Operation Barbarossa was fought on land through infantry attacks and artillery bombardments, and also in the air with bombing raids. I have spent many a night without sleep, and our rations are constantly thinning. Being infantry, I have watched countless brothers around me fall. Many were lost in battle, but many have also perished due to weather conditions and lack of supplies. I am beginning to lose faith in the conquest. Is this truly bringing Germany pride? I could be executed for thinking such things, but my heart does not lie. We had planned to capture this city within four months of beginning battle, but it is no longer looking like success favors us. I do not believe we will be able to go on as planned. As for me, I have just received orders to return to Poland. It appears that one of our camps there is in need of men to help to contain the unruly Jews. I have no desire to go back, but no voice to oppose. As commanded, I have packed my bags and will begin the journey back tomorrow.

Majdanek, Poland – February 18th, 1942

Since I have last written, I have been subject to some of the worst months I believe I shall ever experience in my life. It did not take long for me to realize that I had been sent to both a concentration and extermination camp. Now, what must be done for Germany’s success must be done. But I had no initial desire to take place in the slaughters. It was one thing to shoot another armed man, but something unearthly different to take the lives of the unarmed, starving, weak, and tortured. We force the prisoners to work the Steyr-Daimler-Puch weapons and ammunition factory. It is hard work for a healthy man, much less a dying and weak people. They receive little sleep, hardly any food, and work from dusk till dawn. Many other soldiers partake in the physical torturing, abuse, and rape of these people. I cannot hardly bear to even watch such things. I am a man, not a monster. But I also allow this to happen day in and day out. I force the Jews to sort the property and valuables taken from the murder victims, their kin, located at other camps. I have sent many a baby to its death, knowing the mother has only weeks left to survive. And when commanded, I even line these poor people up along the barbed wire fence, and pull the trigger when told. Even through it all, they seem to look on me, and the rest of us, with only pity and grace. So perhaps I am as monstrous as the rest. I do not see or feel all the things Hitler once promised us prior to the war. And I am beginning to realize that it might not ever come. I have no honor now, only guilt and nightmares to keep me company. I cannot forget these events now, no matter where life takes me.

Salerno, Italy – September 18th, 1943

Please forgive my absence. I put away the pen and paper for quite sometime, unable to write any longer about the events that transpired at Majdanek. I have since received a small measure of grace, and was finally given leave of that hell on earth. Now, I must catch you up on the times. To begin, the American presence is continually growing stronger in Europe. Back in the August of 1942, we received word that our army once again had tried to invade Russia. This time we had attacked Stalingrad, and it went on for six months. Although there were many lives lost on both sides, we ultimately accepted defeat once again. Shortly after, a massacre of many Jews began at Auschwitz. I have only heard terribly stories surrounding that place, and am grateful that I was not forced to take part in it. Do to our growing losses, I was finally called back to the front. Battle seemed like a blessing, as I could not foresee staying any longer in that death camp. Upon arriving in Italy, the Allies had successfully placed strongholds in key areas. We put up a good fight, but in time lost our land. On September 16th, we officially drew back, a defeat none of us were counting on. Today as we march back, untold by our superiors as to what our next move will be, our hearts are heavy with all but the smallest glimmer of hope. I will write again once I receive note of what our plans are next.

Anzio, Italy – May 18th, 1944

We have officially lost Italy. The Allies continued to advance, finally landing at Anzio, in central Italy, in January of 1944. It was an unchanging campaign. We attempted to counter-attack in February. Throughout this fighting, and particularly after Allied bombing, we saw the devastation of the medieval monastery at Monte Cassino. Just days ago we began our retreat from Anzio. Rome will be liberated soon enough by the Allied forces. Italy seems somewhat barren as we leave, drained by the destruction that only war can bring. I feel so numb to it all now. The sunsets do not seem so marvelous, nor the air so sweet. I have not the time to write any more, but I will look for an opportunity soon enough.

The Ardennes, France – December 24th, 1944.

We have lost more land and bases than I can count. Back in June of 1944, thousands of Allied troops landed along our fortified French coastline, and fighting began on the beaches of Normandy. The landings caught us by surprise, and due to the sheers numbers of the Allies, we were unable to counter-attack with the necessary numbers, speed, and strength. We fought the best we could, and tried to leave many traps, but ultimately they took over the French port city of Cherbourg. Paris followed shortly after in August of 1944. During all this, the other half of our army was being attacked by the Russians. It was hostility on all sides, and the once winnable war was beginning to look hopeless. Our faith has been renewed though, even if it is ever so faint. The Ardennes, in France, has become the site for our counteroffensive. Hitler has sent out hundreds of thousands of troops out for this battle. American numbers are greatly dwindling, and they are our primary targets. We have even begun to advance in to Allied lines, pushing into their defenses. We are continuing to lose our own men though, and our armored forces seem like they are starting to deplete. Regardless, we are told to continue no matter what, and to hold them off from Germany for as long as possible. I must go now, for I hear gunfire drawing near.

Berlin, Germany – May 7th, 1945

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you, that as of today, General Dwight Eisenhower has officially accepted Germany’s surrender. Although we had gained many American causalities back in January of this year, we lost our hold in The Ardennes. It was only a few months before the Allied Forces pushed us further and further back, eventually climaxing with the American forces crossing the Rhine River and pushing us back into Germany. Just a month or so later the Soviets made their way into Berlin, causing Hitler to take shelter in a bunker. I have heard many a tale now as to his death, but it sounds as though he poisoned his mistress and then shot himself to avoid his pending doom. I know not what will happen to us now, and I feel I will deserve whatever is dealt to me. They will be rounding us up soon, and I cannot help but think that this was all for not. The country I loved and was proud to fight for has now made a permanent stain in history. If we turn this around, I doubt it will be in my lifetime. In case all goes south, I wish my family well, and hope my sweet Ana has found a better man to care for her. I vow to now spend the remainder of my days attempting to cleanse my soul for the afterlife. If anyone finds this journal, I pray that it would be used to change the course of history in the future. Bloodshed like this, so blind and selfish, should not ever be shed on such great a scale again.

Works Cited

Dahlkamp, Jürgen. “A Son’s Quest for Truth: The Last Battle of a German WWII Veteran” SPIEGEL ONLINE. Spiegel International, 29 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

“Interview With World War II German Officer Siegfried Knappe.” History Net: Where History Comes Alive. World War II Magazine, 12 July 2006. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.

Kishlansky, Mark A., Patrick J. Geary, and Patricia O’Brien. Civilization in the West. 7th ed. combined. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2008. Print.

“World War 2: A Day in the Life of a German Soldier.” Guided History. Boston University Blogs, 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

“World War II: Timeline.” United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 20 June 2014. Web. 29 Nov. 2014.

Lines Written in Early Spring and Kubla Khan

Bethany Herold

Professor Peter Cassidy

LIT 222 C00

7 February 2015

Lines Written in Early Spring and Kubla Khan

William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were not only peers of the Romantic period, they were also friends and poets that worked on mutual projects. Although they had some similarities, Wordsworth drew most from nature while Coleridge expressed best his since of imagination. In Lines Written in Early Spring, Wordsworth focuses on direct and simple imagery to convey his roller-coaster of feelings in regards to the never-ending conquests of man, while through Kubla Khan, Coleridge finds more complicated approaches to express creation and bounds of imagination that were so much more complex in his eyes. Throughout these two poems, though different in their approach, Wordsworth and Coleridge teach us the importance of drawing inspiration for literature on a profound source, whether it’s nature or imagination.

Written by William Wordsworth in 1798, Lines Written in Early Spring utilized nature induced dialogue to create a simple poetic diction. As he witnessed the French Revolution, Wordsworth seemed to express a greatly disgruntled attitude because of the mayhem, loss, and materialistic desires of civilization, all brought upon by war. He seemed especially disheartened by that fact that it distanced people from more simple beginnings. He explains this in several times throughout the poem, heartbroken by “what man has made of man.” It is discussed how the flowers, the periwinkle, the birds and trees, all seem to live in harmony. They are happy with their world and the part they play in it. Humans, on the other hand, never seem to be satisfied with what is, and because of this we have “reason to lament.” In a time of war and destruction, Wordsworth is fixated on the happiness of the forest creatures. Their joy and lack of care leaves something to be wanted in his life, and he finds it refreshing that the source of joy isn’t something complicated to be discovered. He goes on, explaining that “their thoughts I cannot measure,” which is in great contrast to the general desire of mankind to discover, categorize, and measure things. This lends itself to the heart of Wordsworth’s message: the creatures do not need to know why life is good and why they are happy, they simply know that they are happy, and live peacefully in that state of mind. By appealing to one’s natural instincts, Wordsworth invites people back to their roots by viewing the world through naturalistic and romantic eyes.

Kubla Khan was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1816, and was penned shortly after an opium laced dream. Coleridge described his inspiration as drawn from an actual vision, and relied thoroughly on imagery in this poem so that he could paint the perfect picture of Xanadu to unlock the reader’s imagination. The dark and vivid setting was all of his own mind, and in it he unravels a story that leads to many possible paths of interpretation. It centers around an evil Mongol ruler, Kubla Khan, who seems to be void of good intentions due to the “ancestral voices prophesying war!” Coleridge evokes a creative sense in the poem, focusing heavily on biological creation in nature, which seems to reflect the creative attitude of the author. The water source, ALPH, is very similar to the word alpha, which in the Greek alphabet, signifies the beginning. Water is also typically a symbol of life. Then, starting around line fifteen, it would appear that Coleridge is signifying reproduction through vague and obscure metaphors. Without getting too graphic, it would seem the act of human procreation, specifically a male’s experience, is being described with phrases such as “it flung up momently the sacred river” and “burst huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail.” Still, war and destruction is also a commonplace in this work, and a dark tone encompasses every twist and turn Coleridge takes the reader on. He had previously witnessed and lectured on the French Revolution, and there’s little doubt that there were still traces of that experience in his work reflected in Kubla Khan.

Wordsworth and Coleridge began their poetic journey on a similar path, and even comprised a collection of work together called Lyrical Ballads. They both witnessed the wonders and horrors of the French Revolution, and its effect on them echoed in their works. Theoretical ideology was also woven into both poets’ lives and work. Wordsworth sought to understand how and why man differed from other species, while Coleridge delved into creation and expanding the world in one’s own mind. The contrast is seen in the different sources each author draws from. Wordsworth used real to life imagery found primarily in nature. He often spoke of known creatures and described recognizable places. Coleridge, however, was inspired by his imagination as his first, and often only, source. He reveled in the worlds he created in his mind, and was very diligent to describe each and every detail to his reader. It could be deduced then, that the authors found their escapes from the chaos of life in two very different places. Wordsworth took refuge in nature, and Coleridge in his own mind. While their similarities are abundant, these two distinct difference create a great contrast in tone of their works, and take their readers down very different paths. Regardless of how one personally interprets their various works, these poems have survived over two-hundred years of analysis, and both ring true to this day. That in essence, is the heart of sublime literature.

POS 105

Module 1 Essay

Bethany Herold

Political Science 105

Professor Chad Smith

Introduction

At the core of any ideology is the goal to better improve a government and the over-all quality of living for a given nation. Some of the most commonly accepted ideologies in the world today are marxist socialism, social democracy, and modern conservatism. Although they have all varied somewhat from their initial goals, all of these ideologies have gained acceptance in many countries, and are the source for major political decision making. By delving into the origins and principles of the above mentioned ideologies, one can begin to deduce which has been proven to be most successful historically.

Marxist Socialism

Karl Marx himself is the primary origin for the marxist socialism ideologists, and in 1848, he wrote a document called The Communist Manifesto which described his ideas for a Utopian government. (Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., & Jones, W., 2014, pg. 40). This Utopia would be made possible, in Marx’s eyes, through every aspect of life being communally and socially owned. With a government run in this manner, all citizens receive equal portions of goods, land, and benefits, regardless of how much each person contributed. It is essentially the concept of a classless society, where every one reigns equal. There is also no room for profit, as all financial gain is thrown into the proverbial pile for everyone to partake in. To take it a step further, marxist socialists seek to reach a place where there is also no need for law enforcement, or really a government for that matter. The argument is that if people are not vying for monetary gain and power, all statuses are removed, and there is not a stair-step to a hierarchy, people will not be violent and ill-willed. It is the segregation, marxists argue, that causes this strife, and with equality and lack of emphasis on the individual, there will be peace.

Social Democracy

Social democracy began as a sub-division of Marxism. It came about because the German Social Democrats, shortly following Marx, realized that they could turn the government around without drastic change or revolution. In a nutshell, social democrats have “abandoned state-ownership of industry.” (Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., & Jones, W., 2014, pg. 41). This is also known as a welfare state. It is largely successful at providing a stable economy and good jobs for citizens. The government is also required to provide for many daily needs such as health care, food, and housing, to even out any economic inequalities. Education is held at the highest importance, and social democrats aim for a free and exceptional education system. With a thriving economy and citizens well cared for, it would seem like there are no faults to this ideological approach. However, in order to operate a country like this, taxes are extremely high and can reach a point where financial freedom is all but lost.

Modern Conservatism

According to the text, the idea of modern conservatism started initially with Adam Smith and “his doctrine of minimal government.” (Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., & Jones, W., 2014, pg. 39). It is rooted in liberalism, in which the founding fathers of this ideology felt that when the government got involved with capital, businesses, and profit, things went awry. A key aspect of this system is the idea of a free and self-regulating market. Government ordinance is deemed unnecessary, and it is expected that the markets will ultimately right any wrong through supply and demand, all by the discretion of the distributor. For example, there might be a business man that specializes in a particular good. If the demand for his goods increases, he simply increases production and prices accordingly. When the demand decreases, then production and pricing are also lowered. Aside from a free market and lack of government involvement, modern conservatism often relies heavily on traditions. Many modern conservatives have a religious or Christian background, and derive much of their decision making from ideas that worked in the past. In America today, modern conservatism is often associated with the right to bear arms, private schools, pro-life campaigns, same-sex marriage, and anti-drug laws. Modern conservatives also believe in individuals working for their own benefits, as well as a private life without too much government interference.

Conclusion

Each of these ideologies have honorable merits and generally good intentions. However, history has shown that abuse of these ideologies can lead to lack of legitimacy, authority, and sovereignty within a government. The initial intent of marxist socialism, for example, was to make people completely equal and have the country be void of law enforcement. However, in the case of North Korea, instead of the government disappearing, it has become the driving source of control in the nation. People there are equals, but they also have no individual rights and much of their daily lives are controlled and monitored. In the case of social democracy, countries such as Sweden have prospered exceptionally in the economic field. The people that reside there are well cared for, and there is little poverty, if any. However, taxation is, to put it mildly, excessive to the point that citizens may eventually have little to no financial freedom. Finally, modern conservatives are seen frequently in countries like America. Their traditional ways have proven successful in historic America, and some traits are still amiable today, such as freedom of the individual and a firm law system. On the other hand, modern conservatism is generally opposed to change, whether political or personal, and strives for an economy with out the government to monitor possibly unfair economic markets. There are pros and cons to all of these ideologies, and each should be taken with a grain of salt. But history has shown that people are happiest when the have general freedom and self-expression, and modern conservatism allows for this more often than marxist socialism and social democracy.

References

Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., & Jones, W. (2014). Political science: An Introduction (13th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Nationalism

Nationalism was an ideology that interested me in our textbook, primarily because it’s one shared by nearly everyone in our world. It is a belief system where a given individual has a deep connection with their nation. It differs from, say patriotism (which many often confuse it with), because it resonates with a passion for one’s state or country based on a love for a homeland, as opposed to a love for that country’s particular actions. Nationalism’s origins can be said to relate to our innate desire to relate to the grouping that we were placed within upon birth. It’s a want to connect to place, and to have somewhere that one fits in and feels accepted. This ideology relies heavily upon symbols as well, such us state or nation flags, anthems, and holidays. It’s also a way for people with different ideologies within a given state or country to feel unity. For example, in America we have conservatives, libertarians, democrats, feminists and so on. But most people in our nation feel a since of pride and identification in being American. However, nationalism is also something that can be abused, and also taken too seriously. Nationalism can create an illusion that their country, race, religion(s), and way of life, are all superior to everyone else. Ideas like this can lead to nations massacring other nations that are deemed inferior, much like the case with the Nazis of WWII. That, in a nutshell, is nationalism.

The article I chose to analyze is called “Putin’s Popularity Rooted in Nationalism.” It was written by Daniel Schearf, and was published in Voice of America News. It focuses on Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, and as the title suggests, it explains how nationalism is a powerful tool to gain the support of a nation. Schearf begins the article by explaining that although Russia’s economy is still in a state of decline, Putin’s popularity is regaining speed. The people of Russia feel a sense of pride, because “by standing up to the West, he has restored Russia’s status on the world stage.” (Schearf, 2014). Anti-Western regime is what drives a lot of the nationalism in Russia, and they believe they are superior. This is often the most common problem with nationalism though. This article illustrates that whether good or bad is intended, nationalism is a nearly unbeatable ideology in its capability to win over the majority of a given nation or state.

Schearf, D. (2014, November 1). Putin’s Popularity Rooted in Nationalism. Retrieved February 12, 2015, from Voice of America News. Web. http://www.voanews.com/content/analysts-say-putins-popularity-is-rooted-in-nationalism/2504876.html

Israel

Israel has been around for literally thousands of years, which puts their origins in roughly 15th century B.C. It is believed the nation originally formed after the Twelve Tribes of Jacob were formed, which created the Israeli lineage. The country became as it is known today on May 14, 1948, when “David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. U.S. President Harry S. Truman recognized the new nation on the same day.” (Creation of Israel, 2015).

Back in 1947, the United Nations voted for a Partition Plan which created the State of Israel. This led to the British loosening their grip on Palestine, and eventually the Arab-Israeli War began. After Israel became a state in 1948, Palestine was divided between Egypt and Transjordan. Cease-fire agreements were eventually set in place to stop the fighting, and Prime Minister David Ben Gurion agreed to put into place a divided Israel. This lead to several quarters including Christian, Muslim/Arab, and a Jewish quarter. Jews scattered by WWII were allowed to immigrate to their historic homeland,

Israel in itself is essentially one nation: 80% are the Israeli people, with only a small percentage of Arabs occupying a quarter. It it considered to be a democratic state, and the core of the government is “rooted in the following liberal principles and institutions.” (Israel Government & Politics: How Does the Israeli Government Work, 2015). The government in Israel is also very much intertwined with their religious beliefs. In fact, it could be said that religion is their government, as everything Israel does is based and reasoned from the mutual beliefs of her people. The nation of Israel may not be considered a power house in comparison to other nation states, but it is one of the most successful nations in having a people unified in political beliefs. For one, the Israeli people fully believe in the legitimacy of their government. Their lives are based around the Bible and/or Torah, and it is something they would die for. Their government reflects these ideologies, and so the people do not doubt Israel’s rule. Next, the people believe in the sovereignty of Israeli rule. The see God above their government, and base the foundations of their government on the Holy Bible, or God’s Word, and therefore the rule of the nation is undoubted in their eyes. Finally, political leaders are also often spiritual leaders. This gives these high ranking people an undeniable of authority, because they abide by the nation’s ideologies. It is also important to note that Israel is known to treat all its inhabitants equally, even those who do not abide by the religious belief system. Israel has some religious rules that are expected of the national as a whole, but there are not large penalties for those who do not abide by them. Over all, Israel is a peaceful nation that has gained political and governmental respect from its occupants. Israel’s problems lie outside its borders, not within.

Creation of Israel, 1948 – 1945–1952 – Milestones – Office of the Historian. (2015). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/creation-israel

___ Israel. (n.d.). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/israel.htm

Israel Government & Politics: How Does the Israeli Government Work? (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 5, 2015, from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Politics/how_govt_works.html

Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, & Jones. “Political Science an Introduction”. 13th Edition. Pearson eText. © 2014.

“On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year”

This week I wanted to look deeper into On This Day I Complete My Thirty-Sixth Year by Lord Byron. It’s important to note that this particular poem was the final entry in Lord Byron’s journal before he died, and that it was written in Greece on his thirty-sixth birthday. (Damrosch and Dettmar, pg. 862). To me, this poem carries a theme of emotion over logic, with a specific emphasis on love and feelings surrounding death. As you may recall in our readings, and please forgive me for emphasizing so much on context (I think it’s crucial for this poem), Byron had a train wrecked marriage, and a whole skew of lovers and interests, that left him hollow. Where we pick up, Byron has sought out battle in Greece as a means to mask his general confusion about love and all the emotions that accompany it. He has seemed to reach a dead end with his short-lived love affairs, and is wrought with the realization that he will never find a true love. This is made evident by lines three and four: “Yet though I cannot be beloved, Still let me love.” He is aware of his looming death, “my days are in the yellow leaf,” and is filled with sadness at that though of passing alone.  So much of Byron’s work is emotion over logic, and a whole line in this poem is solely dedicated to emotions: “the hope, the fear, the jealous care.” These emotions are means to his end, but also give him hope in a glorious death. After spending the first half of the poem mourning for himself and his lost chance at true love, Byron recuperates in the second half. It is here that he gets emotionally caught up in the war related glory of the Greek men he is fighting with, and he becomes infatuated with the idea of dying an honorable death in battle: “awake my spirit”. By the end of the poem Byron has fully accepted, and is even excited about, death: “seek out-less often sought than found, Soldier’s Grave-for thee best.” This shows the Byron has fully embraced emotion over logic, because the logical brain does not desire death at the age of thirty-six. Byron runs to it with open arms, replacing his longing for love with the desire to be honored in his passing.

This poem differs from my previous one, which was The Tyger by William Blake, in one very key aspect. Put simply, Byron tends to focus on emotion over logic, while Blake’s favorite concept is imagination. Blake tries to take his readers into his world though vivid imagery and hints of exoticism. Byron, on the other hand, seems to view everything through emotional eyes. I feel that in his last poem, it was more of him trying to sort all his feelings out in words (his comfort), as opposed to seeking affirmation from readers. It is beautiful poetry, but it also has this raw factor; it’s like you can see into his soul. I love writing because I feel it’s the most thorough medium to express yourself through, at least in my opinion. Byron captured an essential theme of the romantic period by leaving logic for emotion. I understand where he is coming from though. Logic seems to be ever changing, and it’s often hard to relate to the logic of another. But emotions are something we all have in common, and it’s something that will be relatable for centuries to come.

Damrosch, David, and Kevin Dettmar. “George Gordon, Lord Byron.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Fifth ed. Vol. 2A. New York: Longman, 2012. 862. Print.

Walton’s Letters

I believe Mary Shelley purposely used a method called “epistolary form” to begin her novel. We see it reflected through journal entries, and this is where we get to know Walton as he corresponds with his sister over several months. From what I know, writers use this approach to bring more realism to their work. This especially helpful when reading a story that is non-traditional, such as Frankenstein. It’s a great transitional approach to the adventure we will embark on.

I also found Walton to be very reminiscent of a young Victor. In the letters, Walton expresses that Victor sees himself in Walton, and that is part of the reason he decides to share his story. I think Walton is used as a tool to give the readers more depth as to what Victor has learned over the years, and this is expressed very well in the final letter. Victor sees so much of himself in Walton that he admires, but he is also fearful, and does not seem to want to watch another go down the same path. The parallels between them seem endless; for example, they both have an exploring side and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.

I love the approach Shelley used to introduce us to her story. Walton, in my opinion, is a relatively easy character to connect with. I appreciate his passion for life and his persevering spirit; both qualities I see in myself. He also has a undeniable bond with his sibling, a relationship that many people can relate to. My brothers are my best friends, and much like Walton, I can picture myself writing them about my crazy dreams and pursuits. As I became attached to Walton, it made the transition to Victor seamless. Without the connection between the two characters, Victor would have seemed more rough and unapproachable. So for me, the narrator was key to bringing me into the story. As I start the first chapter, I will be more intently concerned about Victor and his well-being, all because of the initial connection I felt to Walton.

As far as connecting with narrators in general, it varies quite a bit. I’d say more often than not, I find some way to connect with narrators. Though there are exceptions, narrators tend to be very honest and decipherable from the start. You feel as though you are a close friend, one lucky enough to behold the every detail of a story. I think this transparency is what makes them so likable to me, and it is what makes them easier to connect with.

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. Charlottesville, Va.: U of Virginia Library, 1996. Print.