Your Death would be Mine by Martha Hanna is a book that tells a story of two people Paul and Marie Pireaud, a young couple who wrote letters to each other throughout the First World War. The couple through the letters shared their experiences while as Paul fought at the frontline with and Marie staying at home (Darrow, 264). Similarly, the book, The Rite of Spring also shares a story of life during the same war. However, Modris Eiksteins takes a different approach into describing the events of the war. His approach gives descriptions of the devastating effects of the war to life and infrastructure. The two approaches talk about the same war from the point of view of different people. What is clear is that the war ushered a new age, a sense of modernity in Europe and both writers have managed to do so. The opening performance of Le Sacre du printemps a Russian play performed in Paris was the advent of the new age (Eiksteins, p 10). This has been echoed by Martha Hanna in her book where she portrays Paul and Marie desisting from giving their son a rational French name. This signifies the restoration period where sticking to tradition could open up old war wounds.
After the First World War, the destruction of Europe was more than anyone anticipated. The Germans had been defeated, but Europe was on its knees. This is what Modris Eiksteins is describing in his book the. Martha Hanna, on the other hand, is giving a description of the events of war as they took place.
Modris Eiksteins describes the general nature of the war giving detail of the people involved in the war while Martha Hanna is giving the account of war from the point of view of two people in love hoping to survive a terrible war. Where Martha explains how a soldier is killed in combat by a shell, Eiksteins gives a general account of such a situation. Hanna personalizes the whole war, makes it about people. She claims that at the time of war couples were forced to carry out their marriages by means of correspondence (Hanna, p 8). She gives Paul and Marie as an example of these couples. The correspondence between the couple took a long time for the
The battles of Verdun, the Somme and the Neville offensive in 1917 were some of the worst the war experienced (Hanna, p 2). Though Modris Eiksteins mention the battles, he concentrates on talking about the general war and the major personalities involved in the war. Marie, on the other hand, concentrates on the French side of the war. It is essential to know that the French were one of the most affected countries during this war. Their point of view is therefore, important in establishing the course of the war. Therefore, the war accounts present different geographical point of view.
Martha Hanna relies on the letters to disseminate the information relevant to the war. This is a good technique since it allows the reader to relate to the writers and is more inclined to understand the situation at that time. Eiksteins account of the war describes the world in terms of the whole of Europe offering information from across the board. Though informative, the approach fails to offer the connection that is expected with the book. Nonetheless, the insights on the war from the books leave no doubt that the war was part of the world’s horrible history.
Works Cite d
Darrow, Margret. Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul Marie and Paul Pireaud. , Your Death Would Be Mine”. French History and Civilization: Papers from the George Rude? Seminar. Charleston, IL: 20H-France Review Vol. 7 (June 2007), pg 264-267, No. 64. Web. 23 September 2012
Eksteins, Modris. Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age. London: Papermac, 2000. Print.
Hanna, Martha. Your Death Would Be Mine: Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2006. Print.