Glamorization of War in Crane's Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind, Le Guin's The Ones Who Wal
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Glamorization of War in Crane's Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind, Le Guin's The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Lovelace's To Lucasta, Going to the Wars and Owen's Dulce Et Decorum Est
I dream sometimes about war. And the fear that follows the war drums. I dreamt once of my junior high teacher, a stocky woman with a passion for the middle ages, whipping me and my friends into an army with swords and shields, and then screaming that if we retreat even one step, we'll lose. If we lose, we die. So I took the burning line of the sword and stood in the mud waiting for war. I feared death, though not so much the end of life as the violence that would precede it. I feared whatever was waiting in the darkness beyond me. And then my dream shifted and my friends and I were swinging broomsticks in our upstairs study, facing nothing more threatening than one another. I don't understand my dreams. And I don't understand war. My only link to the repeated blood-baths of the early twentieth century are books and dreams. I wish I could say they ended neatly; that the characters, when the books closed, folded up their lives and went away and that the phantoms dispersed when I woke up. They don't.
War doesn't end neatly either. The Imperial War Museum in London stands as an enormous monument to wars the British people can't forget. War has fed into what Jung would call their collective unconscious until it's as much apart of them as the lungs they draw breath with. I walked down a wide passageway in the basement of the Museum, a dim red light illuminating my way. Huge slabs of tan mat hung on the staggered walls. The spread of mat was broken only by the deafening silence of words: "Only the dead find an end to war." "War demands violence. Anything mediocre is foolhardy."
The violence caught me off-guard, bringing a surge of rage-filled bile to my mouth. War demands violence. Demands. Violence. A young man from my quiet neighborhood was killed in a New York subway station trying to protect his mother.