The Forbidden Zone Time Line

One element of The Forbidden Zone that really stuck out to me was Borden’s realization that trying to write in chronological order would be a lie and take away from the impact of World War I which caused great confusion. To me, this fragmented writing style seemed more authentic than that of Remarque’s or Smith’s despite The Forbidden Zone being a much less popular book than All Quiet on the Western Front and Not So Quiet. I was just wondering what everyone else’s view on this was and if you enjoyed reading this style of writing more than a more traditional writing like All Quiet? Also, do you think if these books were all released now, The Forbidden Zone would be the top-seller?

Aidan’s Reading Questions for March 17

  1. Earlier on in the book Borden associates death with an “Angel” (p.40) and life with a “sick animal” (p. 40). One can assume she is implying that death is not the enemy, rather life itself is especially during a time filled with suffering and sorrow. However, a dramatic shift on her outlook on life can be observed in the short story titled Blind where she now refers to death as the enemy. “It is we (nurses and surgeons) who are doing the fighting now, with their real enemies (death)” (p. 97). What do you think caused this dramatic shift between life as the enemy to death as the enemy? Was there a specific moment where she realized she no longer saw life as the enemy? Do you think it was unfair for her to view life as the enemy earlier in the book as a nurse trying to save peoples’ lives?
  2. In the story The Priest and The Rabbi, a bed ridden soldier describes a moment in no man’s land between a dying soldier, a priest, and a rabbi. In this moment the priest is shot while holding up a crucifix to the dying soldier. The rabbi sees this and takes over for the priest so the last thing the soldier sees when he dies is the crucifix. Despite not being Catholic and crosses being a negative symbol to Jewish people, the rabbi still holds the cross for the dying soldier. Why would the rabbi do that? What might this imply about religion during wartime? Are religious ideals and traditions thrown out the window during wartime? How does this relate to the priest in A Farewell to Arms being disregarded and made fun of?
  3. In the preface, Borden attributes her fragmented style of writing to the war as it causes great confusion. She is visibly seen embodying this idea in the fragment Blind as she says, “I was awake now, and I seemed to be breaking to pieces” (p. 103) after lying to the blind man about forgetting about him. Why is Borden impacted much more by the thought of lying to the blind man versus all of the death surrounding her? In other words, why is she broken by this act of lying/forgetting and not by the tens of thousands of soldiers who have died in her camp? Has she become so accustomed to death that it just does not affect her anymore?

Closing of The Beach

Our class section paid particular attention to this short story. One comment that came to my mind after class involved the closing paragraphs. To me, the beach represented a time before the war. The husband and wive are representations of their former selves on the beach and they can “scarcely distinguish” (p. 37) the two objects out at see which are themselves during/after war represented by the war ships. War changes people so much that they cannot even recognize or distinguish their former self even after war is over. Overall, The Beach story is an excellent representation of the horrors of war and how it changes people to the point where they cannot even recognize themselves.

Aidan’s Review of Gallipoli

Directed by Peter Weir and released in 1981, Gallipoli follows the journey of two young Australian men, Archy and Frank, in their quest to do their bit for their country.  The film opens with young Archy Hamilton (18) training with his uncle for the 100-meter run.  Archy is said to be the fastest kid in Western Australia and is going to compete in his first race in a few days. 

The night before the race, Archy’s uncle reads the story of Mowgli from the Jungle Book to Archy’s younger relatives.  Mowgli’s character represents a coming of age story which foreshadows the same loss of innocence Archy is to experience.  This indeed comes true as Archy ends up leaving his uncle after winning the race to join up.  Originally, Archy is rejected from the Light Horse in his hometown (the company Archy is trying to fight with) for being underage.  This is when Archy meets his new mate Frank Dunne who at first provides a stark contrast to Archy’s character as he does not see the point in joining up as it is “England’s war.”  However, after enough societal pressure from Archy and others, Frank decides to join too.  The two travel together to Frank’s hometown of Perth in order to try and join the Light Horse again.  Archy succeeds, but Frank is rejected because he cannot get his horse to move.  The two are eventually reunited in Egypt at training camp as Frank joins up in the infantry.  The two spend weeks there training and building relationships with other comrades such as Snowy, Barney, and Bill.  Soon after, Archy and Dunne’s companies are sent to Gallipoli, a peninsula in Turkey.

Here, the Anzacs (Australians and New Zealanders) and English are fighting to overtake Turkish resistance over the Dardanelles and Bosporus channels which Churchill (English Lord of the Admiralty) thought were vital to supply Russia with ammunitions.  The fighting is brutal and the Turkish soldiers have a much better position.  In a last ditch attempt to overtake the Turkish line, the colonel of the brigade, Colonel Robinson, orders an attack on the Turkish line.  There was supposed to be an artillery strike on the Turkish soldiers and then a rush of infantry.  Because of mistimed communications and the stubbornness of Colonel Robinson, the infantry does not rush out soon enough after the artillery strike so the Turkish opposition have time to regroup and load their machine guns.  As a result, the Anzac men are sent out into a senseless slaughter.  Colonel Robinson was informed that an Anzac flag was seen in one of the Turkish trenches even though this was not true.  He tells Major Barton to keep ordering his infantry over the wall despite major losses.  At the same time, Dunne, has been tasked as a communications runner.  Dunne is aware of all of this and instead advises Barton to go over the colonel’s head.  He complies and Dunne is sent to ask the general of all of the brigades at Gallipoli to reconsider the attack.  However, the only way to do this was to run down to the beach from the trench and ask him in person.  After reaching the general, Dunne is told to tell Barton to stop sending his men, but right before Dunne can make it back, the final line of men including Archy are sent out to their death.  The movie ends with Archy running towards the Turkish trench where he is the last to be cut down.  As he is hit, he leans back which draws parallels to breaking the tape at the end of a 100-meter race, his staple. 

There are many parallels between this movie and the literature we have read and discussed in class.  

For one, the generational divide and power dynamics we discussed in class are evident in this film.  Due to miscommunications between higher powers, the young soldiers including Archy are sent out to die.  This film illustrates a war that was not started by the younger generation, but seems to only have impacts on them.  The senselessness and unfairness of this is a common theme in World War I films and books, but is best represented by the young infantry men being sent to die essentially by their own colonel.    

The acting in this film is also very well done.  Each character plays an important symbolic role, and they all play them to perfection.  Snowy and Archy represent citizens who are all for the war and see it as their duty to their country (similar to the B.F.).  This is exhibited by Archy’s and Snowy’s cheerful attitudes toward the war and Snowy’s line where he says they must do their bit for their country.  Dunne symbolizes a wary citizen not sure if they are for the war, but are eventually convinced to join due to societal pressures.  All of the older men symbolize the older generation who pressured their sons into war and caused them to be known as “the lost generation.” 

The film, while dramatized, is based upon true stories from the battles that occurred at Gallipoli.  However, one major historical inaccuracy can be observed after further research.  In the film, the Battle of Nek (where Archy dies) is said to be a distraction so British forces can land at a nearby destination called Sulva.  This is in fact inaccurate as the battle was actually a distraction for a New Zealand attack on Sari Bair.  While this does not take away from the deep levels of sadness the audience feels after watching the movie, it does lend itself as a potential issue with the film that may lead to some unhappy Brits.     

Overall, Gallipoli can be characterized as a gut-wrenching coming of age film that displays both the highs and lows of war.  The importance of the camaraderie between men is demonstrated throughout the film as it is with books we have read this semester such as All Quiet on the Western Front.  However, the horrors of war stand out more as the film lends itself to the pathos of the audience and creates a lasting feeling of sorrowfulness due to the death of the protagonist. 

Works Cited

Gallipoli, Directed by Peter Weir, Austrlian Film Commisson, 1981.

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, January 19). Gallipoli (1981 film). Wikipedia. Retrieved February 28, 2022, from

Word Count: 1030

I pledge…

Different Perspective

After reading both All Quiet and Not so Quiet it is clear that the soldiers and workers actually participating in the war physically do not want to be there. However, for the first time, we see in Not so Quiet that there are people who see the war as an opportunity. The lower class women like Blimey who Smithy works with towards the end of the novel need the war for food and money. Smithy says, “It’s a jolly good war and they hope it goes on forever” when talking about Blimey and Cheery (p. 218). I was taken aback after reading this section because I had not thought about how from some peoples perspective the war was personally beneficial. The class differences are at the forefront of this novel and the contrast in perspectives toward the war is interesting to think about.

First Impressions

To me, the most powerful section in the first three chapters is the conversation between Edwards and the B.F. regarding the war and why it is being fought. This is where the brainwashing of citizens by politicians and leaders comes to the forefront. The B.F. and Edwards directly contrast on whether or not the war is something worth fighting for. The B.F. is brainwashed by politicians and the church as she says, “We are in the right, aren’t we?…The Church says so dear.” Unlike her fellow ambulance driver, Edwards is able to look past the brainwashing and instead comments, “We came out here puffed out with patriotism. There isn’t one of us who wouldn’t go back tomorrow.” The B.F. represents the brainwashed citizens of the countries at war and Edwards represents the worn out soldiers who know the reality of the war. This section also draws parallels to All Quiet on the Western Front as Paul mentions how this is a war being fought in reality by 30 or so leaders who use their people as pawns. It really points to the insignificance that the leaders regard their people with and just how much power they really have as they are able to brainwash people into killing others just because of their nationalistic affiliation. One part that Smith brings in that Remarque did not is the element of gender and how if women were in control the war would already be over. I thought this was interesting also as it does seem to make sense as I would assume almost all if not all of the world leaders at this time were men. If they were women, perhaps the war never would’ve started. Overall, this section exhibits the ignorance of individuals due to nationalism. The bloody fool or B.F. is the epitome of this ideal and I am curious to see how her mindset will change as the war goes on. Do you think she will continue to stay brainwashed or will she shift her mindset to one similar to Edwards?

Chapter 6

Despite the unimaginable horrors of war being described in minute detail in this chapter, I felt this chapter was easier to read than others due to its story format. I could not take my eyes off of the book because the bombardment and attacks scenes were so well described. For example, “The front is a cage in which we must await fearfully may happen … Over us, Chance hovers… It is this Chance that makes us indifferent.  It is just a matter of chance that I am still alive.” (101). I just wanted to touch on the one part of this chapter that was the most powerful to me as I feel we overlooked it in class. This is the feeling of release that Paul and his company get when they are finally able to attack. Due to the long and grueling bombardment the german soldiers are driven insane. It’s sad to think anything could possibly make one want to take someone else’s life, but war has turned these men into “wild beasts” (113). The feeling of release is the most powerful part of this chapter to me because it truly illustrates just how horrible war really is. Men who previously had never killed before were suddenly driven to the point of insanity where killing other men was satisfying. Do you think anything other than war could drive someone else this insane into the point they turn into wild beasts?