Flashcards in Letter between Edward and Helen Thomas 1917 Deck (40)
"Here I am"
Register is more colloquial and personal
Writing in present tense
Choice of syntax also creates the personal, informal register
"The artillery is like a stormy tide breaking on the shores of the full moon"
Synaesthesic smilies (sounds vs physical element)
Coupled with a metaphor of the shores of the full moon
"white cirrus clouds"
Alliteration, poetic description removes the reality of the place he's in and makes Helen feel secure and at ease
"The pretty village among trees that I first saw two weeks ago is now just ruins among violated stark tree trunks"
"O.P" , "the Bosh", "shells"
Employing semantics of trenches and war without explanation, assuming Helen is familiar with this discourse
"he is going to surprise us"
Personalising the germans as a whole, referring to them as singular
"shone and larks and partridge and magpies and hedgesparrows"
Semantic of nature
"Made love and trench was being made passable for the wounded"
"I am tired but resting."
Short sentence highlighted against previous dramatic description
Thomas’ syntax also creates the personal, informal register with his sentences being simple or compound, usually structured with co-ordinating conjunctions such as “but” and “and”. The use of simple and compound sentences in most of the text and the asyndeton gives a sense of impressionistic note like observations
Uses temporal discourse markers to divide and highlight his non-chronological structure
"You should have seen Horton and me dodging them"
Choice of collocations such as "you should have seen" mixed with use of second person convey intimacy with his reader
"dodging" is an aggressive verb
"We shall be enormously busy now"
Uses past, present, future tense retrospectively
Both surprising lexical choices- harvested is a biblical metaphor
Pragmatics, language change
Generally informal, particularly his use of colloquial, perhaps vague modifiers and verbs
"All and always yours Edwy"
Valediction is rushed, familiar form of his name
Writes in the form of a prose letter
warm letter salutation
Written as a private letter to his wife (even though his letter might have been opened and censored)
Thomas was a junior officer in WW1 trenches, in one of the highest risk casualty groups
Produced in extraordinary circumstances as he was close to his own death
"moon riding among white cirrus clouds"
Juxtaposition of artillery, balances the sound of artillery and the sights of the trenches
"Farewell and God bless you"
Church was extremely important then
Doesn't need to name or address, she is effectively writing to herself
"Darkness and despair"
"I saw the Spring come sweet heart. Such a Spring of flowers"
Sibilance- soft sound to the introduction of spring
Semantic of nature
"do you remember!"
Exclamative, knows she won't get an answer from him
"touched the moist green grass"
Sensory imagery, reaches to nature to be close to him
Repetition of content which is ironic as she is not content