I came across this tweet the other day, and it just felt so connected to what we’re talking about in class right now that I had to share it with you all. I looked around a little, and it seems like the tweet/article is referencing this information (scroll to Possible Considerations for African American or Black Volunteers). It’s crazy that many of the discussions we have regarding WWI are still relevant and being discussed today–the author of the tweet (and many others in the replies) are expressing the same kind of sentiment that Roscoe does in Daly’s novel.
Chapter XI marks a distinct shift in the novel. Suddenly, without warning, we find ourselves in the trenches. This is the first actual description of the war that we’ve seen in the novel, and it takes place over halfway through it. I find this to be a really interesting choice that Daly is making, and I have a few questions about it. Why does Daly choose to begin his descriptions of combat so abruptly–do you feel like he’s making a greater commentary about war itself, or is it simply a narrative tactic? How is the war functioning differently in this novel than in the previous novels we’ve read? What insights about the war do we gain by spending so much of the novel physically separate from it?
Daly’s novel is described as having two major conflicts: the tangible, corporeal combat of the war, and the mental/emotional combat of racism. By the end of the novel, do you feel like these two conflicts are equal in their magnitude, or does one feel more significant? Are the scars of one more painful than the other? What seems more impactful to Montie?
When Casper is injured and Montie begins to help him, he states that “war isn’t the only hell that [he’s] been through lately” (69). How do you read this? What is the “other hell” that Casper is referencing?
The last few lines of the novel were some of the most impactful to me. In the final scene, we are presented with Casper and Montie, “two bodies slumped as one,” entangled and side by side in their death. How do you read this? What are the implications of this ending, and what do they tell us about the relationship between war and race? Does race really matter in no-man’s land?