Beyond the trenches: the impact of women's great war narratives on contemporary women in combat
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KeywordResearch Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::History and philosophy subjects::History subjects::History
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Literature
Women in combat
Women and the military
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AbstractFour narratives from Great War V.A.D.s (Voluntary Aid Detachment): Mary Borden's The Forbidden Zone (1929), Ellen LaMotte's The Backwash of War (1916), Lesley Smith's Four Years Out of Life (1931), and Vera Brittain's Chronicle of Youth (1981) skillfully weave disenchanted and enchanted language to place readers inside the chaotic "second battlefield," unintendedly showing the resilience of the human spirit...These women overcame societal pressure to conform to traditional gender norms and serve their country in a war whose violence still haunts the world. Their bravery in facing death and sharing their experiences enrich the overall knowledge of war and demonstrate ways women improve combat effectiveness and provide a look at what it means to be wholly human in the face of such violence and destruction. Working on broken bodies daily forces one to face their own humanity.
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