Escapism during War
When soldiers head to war, their main responsibilities include fighting the enemy and also ensuring maximum defense for the benefit of the country's sovereignty. However, as they go for the battle, they meet various experiences and interactions which change their social aspect of their lifestyles. They meet new people, learn new social issues and behave according to the conditions they face. Some of the major experiences they have includes love and romance, sexuality in terms of rape and prostitution, the use of drugs such as alcohols. In other words, the horrors of the war mean soldiers need to find means of escaping with whatever freedom they have left. The discussions concerning these themes are based on the book, "A Farewell to Arms" by Ernest Hemingway.
Theme of Sexuality
The theme of sexuality among soldiers and members of the armed forces is prominent especially when they go for war. The people are involved in various sexual activities that sometimes are deemed unethical. Sexuality in these defense officials has been associated to their way of relieving themselves from the action of war. Sexuality is divided into two major elements in this discussion – prostitutions and rape. There are various instances where these two issues have been witnessed among soldiers.
When handling prostitution, it is important to note that soldiers decide to take women for sex and pay them using different means. During their free time, they find the comfort of getting into lodgings and other public places, drinking and partying. One important point is that there is high effects of prostitution to the society. The society becomes affected by the ladies engaging in these acts even after the soldiers have gone.
This feature is confirmed by Suki, where soldiers from the United States of America, other European countries and also from Iraq were involved in prostitution during the war in the country. The lasting effect is that prostitution has become a major issue still taking place in Iraq. From the description, the character and behavior of women in the society is directed towards getting more money from immoral activities. There is a chance that the soldiers were the first to bring about prostitution, and this was because they gave the women more money in terms of dollars and other foreign currencies.
Previously, before the Iraq war, women were not allowed either by country's laws or regulations associated with religion. The accusations leveled against soldiers about sending girls and women for prostitution has been considered as rape by Suki. Suki acknowledges that most of the ladies who get involved in prostitution are physically and psychologically affected, because they do not do this out of will, but they are forced to by the unavoidable circumstances Suki. Womanhood has been abused by sexists who feel that women are sex objects and therefore they take advantage of that.
In some occasions these women taking part in prostitution do so for the sake of survival Suki. In other words, the women tend to protect their family by having sex with the soldiers to avoid intimidation or torture. Soldiers use the bait of claiming that the suspects are members of that family Suki. The whole process therefore means that many women engage in sex not because they want to, but rather because they are forced to do so. Therefore, the decision by soldiers to pay for prostitutes or use intimidation methods to have sex with them is due to their character of using sex as an escapism in war.
The second element of sexuality – rape – is another common issue when it comes to soldiers. During the war period, many soldiers torture their victims through sexual assault, most probably raping them. Accounts of rape have been recounted in various discussions concerning armed forces. A good example concerns the noted instances concerning the Iraqi women being raped by the American and Iraqi soldiers. The situation even involves the soldiers raping the women arrested in prison, and they were gang raped.
The main concern about these acts of rape is that the soldiers go unpunished even after sending reports about the same issue. Many reports tend to cover up the full details about rape within the camps of soldiers although the military and the government considers it a non-issue, as evidences are not always sufficient. Soldiers do not adhere to their strict code of ethics especially when they are handling civilian victims. The civilians are delicate individuals because sometimes they get involved in battles they were not parties to and therefore some lose their lives even in unclear circumstances.
Sexual violence has been considered as a tool of war. Many soldiers are said to rape the victims due to their search for the criminals. However, there are cases where rape is considered a tool for revenge. Mass rape during war time can be explained by different theories. These theories try to analyze the situations that lead to rape during the wars. According to Jonathan (129), there are four different literature theories that can articulate the issues involved in wartime rape. These ideologies include strategic rape theory, the biosocial theory, the feminist theory and the cultural pathology theory.
Most of these theories describe the act of rape during this period as high as compared to the time when there is peace. In some cases, the theories explain that the motives behind the rape could be due to sociological factors including human nature. However, they do not agree that need for sexual satisfaction is one of the major motives for the soldiers or security officers. This proves the point that they indulge in these activities because they want to break the monotony about fighting the enemy. In other words, they may use the means of raping the civilians as the weapon for torture and destruction.
On the same level of discussion, biosocial theory tends to defend the sexual desire as a cause of rape by soldiers, although other theories are disputing that. Considering the idea presented by this theory, it is important to acknowledge the idea that the soldiers have the capacity of being with other women if sexual desire is an issue. Therefore, they do not commit these crimes during the time when there is peace in the region. This shows that soldiers become in a state of psychologically affected by the main aim in the war and they divert their efforts towards engaging in activities that affect their moral standards
The case presented by Suki is a strong issue regarding the allegations regarding American soldiers holding women in Iraq into custody of brothels and forcefully having sex with them Suki. The idea is that they could also commit such an atrocious act to the girls on the street. The controversial point is that the soldiers ted to commit such mistakes until the victims fail to survive, among them being teenagers. Rape cases that led to victims' death have risen drastically, with many people not discussing it during the past when there was war in areas such as Iraq Suki. However, this creates the debate on the line differentiating between rape and prostitution.
Theme of Love and Romance
Love is a dominant theme when it comes to war times. It exists in a diversity of complexity as it touches on very many instances that have been made complex due to the prevailing war. The lovers mostly affected by this complexity are the soldiers who leave their loved ones behind to go to the battle fronts, the lovers who meet during the war but have to play safe so as to survive or face difficult dilemmas in order to continue burning the flames of their love in a wild storm
The soldiers have to possess the will to go to battles even if they fear uncertainties may come their way. They tend to fear for the unfortunate instances like death facing their loved ones, suffering due to psychological torture or even them encountering death and imagining how their loved ones would survive after they have gone to war or even died in the process of war. The loved ones who are left behind for example wives undergo difficult situations such as single parenthood, loneliness widowhood and many more.
Some soldiers also find themselves in love triangles which make them make very difficult and risky decisions that they end up aborting their mission and escape to avoid being compelled. They also tend to change their lifestyles as soldiers after they find themselves in love during war. Some soldiers end up killing one another due to the love affairs in the battles.
The theme of love works on the positive side of the lifestyle of a soldier. The soldiers who fall in love during war times always use the situation as a motivating factor. The power of love during these hardship moments gives them hope of succeeding in the war and having a happy life after the war ends. The situation also gives the loved ones who are left behind the strength to wait for the safe return of their lovers from the war zones. These are the situations of complexity the theme of love puts some soldiers in when they go to war.
An example of the situations described above whereby soldiers do their best to survive for the sake of love is the case study derived from Hemingways works of art summarized below. Fredrick Henry is a young man, American of origin, who served as an ambulance driver with the Italian army during the World War. in his encounters he happens to meet Catherine Barkely, a young beautiful nurse of English origin. He first saw her near the front between Austria-Hungary and Italy but did not make seduction approaches to her. Fate has it that Henry injures his leg and is taken for treatment at the hospital where Catherine performs her profession. Henry learns that Catherine has come to work in the American hospital based in Milan from another nurse called Miss Gage who takes care of him since he came to the hospital.
The two fall in love deeply such that Catherine risks her profession to spend nights in the hospital with Henry. Catherine takes good care of Henry during his recovery time after the operation. They also spend quality times in Milan. In the process of Henry's return to the warfront, he happens to be arrested by the battle police. He knew from this instance that he was going to die and escapes for safety by running and swimming across the river. He arrives at Stresa by train and re-unites with his lover Catherine who was pregnant at the time with Henry's child.
They forget about the war by moving to Switzerland with the help of an Italian bartender. Catherine dies in the period of delivery due to hemorrhage resulting after a caesarean session. The child also dies in the process. Henry lives a devastated man as he loses most important part of his life just when he had began to live as a free man due to his fatigue with fighting a war where fellow soldiers kill one another.
From the above summary of a part of the story in A Farewell to Arms which describes love in times of war we find that many soldiers find themselves in similar scenarios. Catherine becomes the source of determination for Henry. Henry becomes motivated when he meets Catherine and falls in love. This is due to the treatment that Catherine subjected him to.
Love makes Catherine to risk losing her profession as a nurse by spending time at night with a patient when it is not her duty time. In their concealed affair, Catherine used to spend several nights beside Henry. Love enables Henry and Catherine to have a quality time when in real sense they were in the middle of war. This depicts the escapism ideology as the two had developed an attitude against the war as they are recorded to have been spending a lot of time in Milan enjoying and little incidences are told of how the two are involved in the war experiences. Love gives Henry confidence to quit the war and escape. He knows that if he goes with the police on the incidence of his arrest he was going to die and being that he had someone in his life to live for, he decides to escape in a risky attempt and meets Catherine at Stresa.
In the theme of love that makes Henry escape to live a life he desired, that is spending good time with Catherine, we see that the incidence of Catherine's death and the death of their child is too much for Henry to bear that he even fears to see the body of Catherine in the hospital.
The theme of love is also recorded in the work Falling In Love There is an imagery device of literature used to link the boy at the park bench and the boy in the desert. The boy at the park bench is experiencing love portions with a girl he later says that he desires the past time they enjoyed being together to come again . During that time there is war in America. The boy in the desert described by the persona refers to the soldiers who were at the war front.
The escapism ideology brought about by this theme is that the boy at the park bench seems to be enjoying love moments with his girl at the park in the verge of war. The love they experience is used to describe the destruction of attention to suffering brought about by the insanity of the ongoing war. They tend to escape from the real situation of watching people die and blood being shed on the television by going to the park, a place that seems lonely due to scampering to safety of some people who fear war. The boy at the park bench wishes that the boy at the desert should have met a girl like the one that lay next to him at the park. He feels sorry for the boy in the desert as he describes the scorching heat conditions experienced in the desert when the boy at the desert wakes up to be extreme. From the above context of the theme, it is concretely evident that love can give somebody at war the will to survive and gain consolation and courage in times of war.
Theme of alcohol and drug abuse
The use of drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and even bhang has been associated to the soldiers who are at war. Many soldiers engage in such activities depending on the situations they are found in. These actions may be regarded as inappropriate to them because they need to be sober at all times in the battle field. In the book "A Farewell to Arms", there are various instances where soldiers are dejected about the war and therefore they indulge in drugs. One particular personality describing this case is Rinaldi, a soldier who loved partying and drinking.
In one instance, he describes the war as terrible and then believes that alcohol will sooth him. He says, "We'll … get drunk and be cheerful… then we'll feel fine". He then goes for two glasses and a bottle of Australian cognac. This shows that the war was depressing to soldiers, and they wish to finalize on their mission and return to their families. The partying was so common among the soldiers who raved with each other and also included civilians. What becomes interesting in this book is that even the priest is involved in the drinking spree.
Getting drunk was one of the ways the soldiers used to find relief of payment. To the narrator of the book A Farewell to Arms, even the Major General got involved in the drinking spree. He asked the narrator and two others to join him in drinking rum and they all felt it was okay. The compromise of the Major General proves the point that the soldiers were not surprised about the issue of drinking alcohol in relations to their security responsibilities at the battle field. Alcohol was therefore utilized as a source of power.
Still on this discussion, it is crucial to comprehend that drugs change the thinking capabilities of the users, and therefore the soldiers were highly affected by the decision to drink and take other drugs. They therefore indulge in other activities that are considered immoral, including prostitution and eve rape. Looting is also an effect of the soldiers who take drugs. Most forces go for war without enough money, and therefore to satisfy their need for these drugs, they resort on looting and corrupt deals.
Alcohol is sometimes used by the soldiers to celebrate victory. Henry became sick and was suffering from jaundice. He was under medical care and Miss Van Campen was concerned with his health. However, at one point she realized that there were numerous alcoholic bottles which were empty, signifying that the soldiers and other persons related to war were taking alcoholic drinks. She became angry with Henry for drinking was the causative agent for jaundice. The bottles had previously contained drinks such as vermouths, marsala, capri, chianti and cognac. The diversity of the types of drinks proved the point that they must have had some celebrations or a partying event.
Soldiers also have a culture of honoring their fallen compatriots by taking rounds of alcohol. After a war has ended, the number of perished soldiers is established. Fellow soldiers converge at some base and use different methods to celebrate their fallen compatriots. Some always mention the surnames of the perished soldiers and make a toast towards honoring their acts of bravery in achieving victory.
War is bad. I think that we all can write war is destructive essay without even doing much research. But let's not forget, that there are various actions which are committed by soldiers during war that makes them take a break from the feeling of war. They tend to drift away from the main objective of the war into other social activities which later affects them. Some of these actions are described in form of themes, including love & romance, prostitution and rape and also alcoholism & drugs. During the war period, they are involved in sociological behaviors that are usually considered immoral. The long lasting effects of their actions include trauma and poor lifestyle management for the victims. The issues have been discussed based on the book, "A Farewell to Arms".