Thursday, April 10, 2008

Men at Arms - post III

Meant to post on this last night but you know how things go. Still it gave me more of a chance to think about the humour deployed in the novel.

There is a passage that is promoted on the back as one of the highlights from a humorous point of view about Guy’s fellow aged officer Apthorpe and his desire to keep his own toilet – the thunder-box.

He argues that it is essential he can use it because of the fears of catching a sexual disease from other soldiers but the Brigadier has the same idea so a game of cat and mouse begins with Apthorpe and Guy moving the thunder box around trying to get it away from the Brigadier. Eventually the thing is blown up and the matter ends there although the legend lives on in the ranks.

The humour is subtle but not laugh out loud. But it does show the desperate need that there was for some levity to lighten the misery as they went through the motions of training to get ready to go and fight in France.

The news coming back from France is not good with the troops running away and the losses mounting. As a result the probationary officers are made permanent and squads are announced and the national service men arrive and it all starts to get very serious.

More tomorrow…

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