Robert Graves's Goodbye To All That By Robert Graves

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Robert Graves wrote Goodbye to All That, an autobiographical war memoir, staring with a brief introduction to his life, continuing to World War One, and finishing shortly thereafter. Graves voices numerous opinions on various subject matter continually throughout the memoir, however, for certain subjects he tends to contradict himself, between his musings, thoughts and actions. This essay will explore how Graves view on class and social status varied throughout his memoir, and how this pertained to his life. Graves’ view of class and status had been contrived through his early family life. His mother came from a family of doctors, as well as she gained a wealthy inheritance from caring for an elderly lady. His father, a writer with a historical…show more content…
With regards to status, he married a young lady named Nancy towards the end of the war. She was an active feminist, and warned Graves about this, but he did not mind as she shared his crude belief of religion, that it is “all rot.” Thus the two entered an unusual marriage. At their wedding reception Nancy changed into “breeches and smock” which caused distress to Graves’ mother, though he makes no note that it had bothered him. Nancy even kept her last name Nicholson “refusing to be called Mrs. Graves.” This, coupled with the fact that her and Graves would not baptize their daughter, refused to go to church, and joined a literate birth control society, perturbed his family. These acts gave Nancy her freedom as a woman, as well as led Graves into a more modern, liberal, way of life. Graves does not hint at any grievances with these decisions either, other than falling out of love with Nancy, suggesting his view on status changed, or he always held a different view on gender. With regards to his class there are a few notable instances Graves’ mentions. His marriage to Nancy was not welcomed by his comrades, because she was very young, but also because “there was Negro blood in the Nicholson family” but Graves thought this to be a very callous remark. This may have been a bad thing to tell somebody at the time, but it still did not stop him from having relations with Nancy insinuating it was not a big deal. Another example with regards to his class is he and Nancy tended to their home themselves and raised their kids with no help. Duties were shared and their kids were sheltered of the horrors of their own childhoods, such as “formal religion, class snobbery, political prejudice, and mystifying fairy stories of the facts of sex.” Graves avoided raising his into the class he grew up into, and did it while being

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