A Town Like Alice

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In the novel A Town Like Alice an enduring love gets it’s foundation during WWII when Jean and Joe develop the beginning of their relationship based on needs. Needs that are manifested during the horrific times they endured as prisoners of war. During a time of isolation and degradation the barriers of social status were obliterated and they found comfort in each other as well as a momentary escape from the misery of being prisoners of war. The connection Jean and Joe formed in Malaysia, during WWII, set the foundation for an undying and enduring love that lasted a lifetime. Jean and Joe later crossed continents in order to reunite with one another. “‘Dear Joe. Of course I’m in love with you. What do you think I came to Australia for?’” (248). They had found a bond in the war based on need, a need for companionship and understanding, and in that need they later discovered an enduring love that could never die.

In the novel The English Patient war temporarily eliminated the stigma attached with dark skin and allowed for another love based on mutual needs to blossom. “His only human and personal contact was this enemy who had made the bomb and departed…” (105). Kip’s connection with Hana allowed him to connect with humanity again. The love he discovered with Hana filled a need of Kip’s to never be weak. “He refused to believe in his own weakness, and with her he had not found a weakness to fit himself against” (114). The English Patient also substantiates the fact that love during war gives a reason to hope in often hopeless times.

In the novel Return of the Soldier rather than unite lovers war seemed to separate a love that was meant to be between Chris and Margaret. Chris and Margaret were truly in love but war, although tempor...

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...ould run down his cheeks, which was to her the most dreadful thing of all, to see a man like Septimus, who had fought, who was brave, crying” (137). His shell shock is exacerbated by the fact the medical field didn’t fully understand or acknowledge the seriousness of shell shock during that time. Neither his family nor his doctors had any idea what he was dealing with or how to help him. War and his mental illness were the cause of Septimus feeling separate from life. Separate mentally and emotionally. Septimus felt trapped, although he did not want to die he felt that there was no way to escape besides death. “’I’ll give it you!’ he cried, and flung himself vigorously, violently down on to Mrs. Filmer’s area railings” (146).

Atonement and Mrs. Dalloway show that war is an unimaginable horror but it also shows that the human condition has unimaginable strengths.

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