The Legacies of the Second World War
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“Girls or the Slender Means” tells of a life after war. It was around the year 1945 when the Second World War had just stopped. Many people had lost their belongings and they had to adapt to a new way of living. Things had changed drastically and this particular book, narrates a story about a group of girls who were of about thirty years and below. These girls were living in some remains of hostels that were left and were looking horrible after the explosions in the war. In the story, we are told about the physical outlook and all the new activities in city they lived in. The narrator tells of the ugly outlook of the city after bombings and shootings during the war. These girls now lived a life of survival due to all the destructions and many deaths including most probably those of their relatives i.e. parents and husbands. They had no place to call home and no one to call a parent or husband (Gob, 2008).
As the writer describes the situation in the city where the girls lived, we can see how the place appeared like the ancient ruins with all rooms having their walls ripped off exposing everything from inside including the wall papers and, some had one side of the wall missing and lavatory chains hanging out from the roofs. There is a pace of stunning claim and sober retraction, which recurs throughout the building and in a bad state apart from being a less comfortable place to be in (Ishiguro, 1990).
Apart from the girls, everyone else was also living a life of savaging due to the poverty that had spread all over London after the war. Many people lost jobs and businesses and there ware destructions of many main buildings where businesses contributing to the economy of a country like England would lead to the suffering of a huge number of people. That shows the picture of the city where the girls lived as the writer explained. Because of the destructions during the war, everyone who survived except a few people ended up poor but the majority of them were kind hearted. It, therefore, gives an account on the way people encountered a lot of problems and suffering due to the impacts or war. The girls went through the ordeals because they had to move away from their home to London to look for a means of survival. We are told of their love lives and how they managed to live in the hostels (Ishiguro, 1990).
Muriel sparks story on the “Girls of the slender means” takes us back to the time after the world war two because, it shows the life lived by these particular girl. Compared to life of girls of their age in a stable country, it is evident that this city life is abnormal and uncomfortable. If it were not for the war, these girls would not be living such miserable lives. Generally, the story gives a detailed description of the frustrations of the people of Kensington after the World War II. The girls who were once close friends and lived normal lives in a peaceful community now have to look for a means to survive together. Due to the limited resources, which they shared, they quarreled at times and reconciled. They lived with disguised characters and they pretended that they were courageous but in the real sense, they were scared of what awaited them (Pinter, 1991).
The size of their body did not lie very much on their means as in their semi- distinguished notions regarding their lives. Their situation before the war was a much usual and comfortable one where they could mingle, play around in girlish way and then it turned slowly into destruction and death. The past became a time to be missed and cherished, as the future was not promising anymore, as they had expected. The women and other people around the city were also facing the same problems and what they did was going to determine their future. Some of the girls started experiencing tragedies like Joanna Childe’s death and many other calamities that befell the inhabitants around that area (Parkes, 2001).
When we look at “The remains Of the Day” by Shizuo Ishiguro, the situation is that of desperation of a servant of a rich British politician who has so much influence in the country. This is the story telling us all about a butler in the Darlington hall whose name is Stevens. Stevens heads a dozen of servants in the hall and is an extremely loyal servant of Mr. Farraday. He is too loyal to an extent that he does not care about himself and his own life and relatives. He even fell in love with a woman and could not follow his heart because of his job. He did his job to perfection. Stevens admired Mr. Darlington all his life as he worked for him. He realized some of his faults later after the dead of his master and did not feel proud of himself, as he had done in the beginning. He realized he gave his whole life and time to Mr. Darlington, a man who later became responsible to the destruction of his country and even the entire world (Hawthome, 1993).
The Remains or the Day according to Stevens means what next should happen in the remaining years of his life. He feels he accomplished something after working very well at Darlington hall after which he is satisfied and ready to start an even better life (Hochmuth, 2008). It really does not sound like Stevens working years were good or of any satisfaction in anyway. This is because he lost many opportunities in the name of work and it was also wrong to ignore the need of his father to be with him at the time of need. Stevens lost the love of his life to someone else because he had to work. It does not look like there were any achievements for him at all when he found out about that side of the story (Joshua, 2004).
Steven’s interpretations are less glorious as we discover all that he lost and could not achieve for the sake of being a good servant. The real material of this book is Steven’s attempt to put his life together and start all over in pursuit happiness. The factual journey from Darlington hall the countryside in the West, is a story mechanism from dramatizing the more important journey that he makes at the level of consciousness. The writer points out his view by placing all the important achievements in the past, clarifying it only through recollections and assumptions (Fox, 2010).
The text is seen as shaped by the legacies of the Second World War in the sense that, the two stories both have different relationships towards the time after the war. Both stories have occurrences that happened between the years of 1940s and 1950s. This shows they happened at a time just after the Second World War; this is because from the way everything is being narrated, the writer keeps mentioning the World War 2. As seen in the book titled the “girls or the slender means,” the narrator writes a clear perception of the hard times, which people underwent after the WW II. Therefore, it so obvious that the trends unfolding in both the story relate so much with the aftermath of world war two (Ishiguro, 1989).
Focusing on the “girls of the slender means,” we can see that as we read the story, we come across many outcomes of the Second World War. The prominent effect is the destruction of the houses. From the descriptions of the remains of the building there, especially the hostel that girls lived in, it is said that it had turned to some kind of ruins and this gives a perception of the need for freedom. The way the majority of the people existing at the time is that of kind hearted but poor. This portrays the severe economic disaster that is faced in relation to the outcome of the war. The two books generally talk about the broad changes that came about after the World War II, explaining about how the aftermath of the second world ward had affected the lives of the girls in Kensington and they did not appreciate anything that was brought about by the war. Contrary to that story, Stevens’ life also changed after the war, and according to him, it was for the better unlike the girls. Stevens was now working for a different person who was freer to an extent of letting him even drive his car. As much as Stevens was proud about his past life, he also believed that his future was more promising (Spark, 1998).
The girls in the hostels and the people from their neighborhood on the other hand, had no reason to be happy at all. All they knew at that moment after the war was nothing but suffering and time-to-time tragedies they were facing. Therefore, the two books simulate the huge impacts during the post wartime, which came on different ways, with others experiencing promising lifestyles in future and others facing poverty and other forms of frustrations. This shows that after the World War II, there were effects all over the areas affected by war but they came in different forms whereby some people enjoyed the outcome and others really regretted it. “The girls of the slender means” shows how the people in Kensington were not even able to face the future as they dreaded it so much. They lived very miserable lives and they always meditated as they tried to imagine what the future held for them. Their greatest fear was the possibility of a worst future and they felt discouraged and became hopeless. Getting the worst future meant that they might have had to face consequences of poverty, which could be diseases or deaths. Many were stressed up and everyone was just helpless (Edgecombe, 1990).
Going back to “the Remains Of The day,” Stevens seemed more exited to face the life after the war, because he believed that he was now ready to start all over again after being a loyal servant for a good number of years. He knew that he had a chance to live an independent life and maybe he would be lucky and be a boss too, or even marry and have children. Nothing could change his mind about having a good future, as he was sure that a good life awaited him in the future. To him, that aftermath of the war had had a good impact in his life and he felt freer as a man. These two books display the big positive and negative impacts experienced by the end of the World War II, though in two different forms. There are those who at the end of the war brought agony and pain while there are those who experienced freedom and happiness (Ishiguro, 1990).
In conclusion, the two writers have brought out an indication of what the past of a person’s life does not reflect the future. The girls who are currently living in a dilapidated city once lived in good houses and a comfortable, hospitable environment. They had all the good things to enjoy in life and they did not imagine that their future could be ruined at one point. The memories of their good past lives remain to be a dream that may never come true. They just remember it with nostalgia but nothing could be reversed. It was all lost and for them, living was no longer an opportunity to enjoy but a time to worry for the future. On the other hand, Steven’s past live has drastically changed and he has a reason to smile. He gets a better job and his dreams are yet to come true (Ishiguro, 1989).
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