Analyse Faulks' presentation if friendships and love affairs in Birdsong, showing which relationships had the greatest impact on your understanding of the novel.

1367 words 6 pages
Analyse Faulks’ presentation of friendships and love affairs in Birdsong, showing which relationships and love affairs had the greatest impact on your understanding of the novel.

One of the most significant relationships, if not the most, is the friendship between Jack Firebrace and the main character, Stephen Wraysford. This is because Jack remains a constant in Stephen’s war life which contrasts with all the other relationships with the men Stephen makes as he suffered the loss of many of them. The first time Jack and Stephen meet is also the first time the reader sees Stephen in the war. Stephen is described as having a ‘cold’ voice which contrast to how compassionate the reader has seen him with Isabelle. This is significant as the
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Stephen’s granddaughter reads the books and fulfils Stephen’s wish to make Jack’s children his by naming her son John, after Jack’s lost boy. Stephen and the Germans bury Jack with the Joseph Levi which symbolises the end of the war and the peace between nations. Two brothers buried together.
Stephen has two significant love affairs throughout Birdsong, one of which is before the war, with Isabelle and the other during, with Jeanne. His relationship with Isabelle was passionate, intense, sexual but short-lived. Isabelle’s desire and love turned into guilt which drove her from him, the relationship had moved too fast too soon with neither of them spending the time to get to know each other. His relationship with Jeanne was calm, no less important and long lasting. Jeanne’s concern and pity over him turned into love as she watched him suffer through the war and from her sister’s rejection. His relationships with Isabelle may seem more important in the novel as it shapes the rest of his life, however I believe that his relationship with Jeanne was equally important if not more so as he is in such a dark place in the war, especially after Weir died, and needed that someone to be patient and understanding with him. Just letting him know that she would wait for him holds so


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