Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Journey to the End of the Night

Louis-Ferdinand Celine

Louis-Ferdinand Celine was a French novelist,pamphleteer, and physician who lived from May 1894 - July 1961. He wrote numerous works of literature that are still read today. Journey to the End of the Night was his first novel written in 1932. This novel was a semi-autobiographical work.

From the excerpt I read, it is clear that he was shocked at what was going on during the years of World War I. It was also evident that the main character never experienced war. He considered himself a "virgin" to war. He didn't feel comfortable in the war zone and regretted not committing a crime because he felt that being in jail would've ensured his safety.He said, "You come out of jail alive, out of a war you don't!" In the excerpt, he was describing the fight between his country, France and the enemy Germany during WWI. He was confused as to why the two countries were even at war to begin with. This is probably a thought that many of the soldiers of France were thinking. He knew how to speak German and even attended school in their country. The reason of being at war with Germany was a question he did not know the answer too. This man was afraid and was questioning his manly-hood. He states, " Could I, I thought, be the last coward on earth." The reason he is saying this is because the environment around him was so hectic; It was complete madness around him with constant gunfire and explosions, it drove some people crazy.

"Those unknown soldiers missed us every time, but they spun a thousand deaths around us, so close they seemed to clothe us. I was afraid to move." (Celine p.8-9)

The new machine gun that the German forces used against their enemies.
- This quote seemed important to discuss because it describes how scared he was throughout his time in battle. Even though he didn't get killed, he witnessed a lot of deaths around him and it changed his psyche.

"And so he stood on the embankment, stiff as a board, swaying, the sweat running down his chin strap; his jaws were trembling so hard that little abortive cries kept coming out of him, like a puppy dreaming. You couldn't make out whether he wanted to speak to us or whether he was crying." (Celine p. 11)

- This was a significant quote in the reading because it describes the fear and emotions that a cavalryman felt after seeing his Sergeant be killed. I also like this quote because it shows how hard it must have been mentally for these men.

                                                                WWI video of Trench Warfare

Including the millions of people who died there also was a massive number of casualties that were forever affected from this devastation in history.

This is a video of people with"shell shock" which is a result of being in war. The content of this video are disturbing and sad.

Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Journey to the End of the Night. Published 1932.


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