Focus Questions on Related Material
Title of the text: When The Wind Blows
Composer: Raymond Briggs
A summary of the text
When The Wind Blows is an anti-nuclear Graphic Novel depicting a retired couple through the preparations for and the aftermath of a nuclear attack on the United Kingdom. The couples’ mannerisms such as the necessity for a cup of tea stereotypically reflect their nationality. Their attitude to the war mirrors their generational experience of being brought up during the air raids of World War II; as they are unable to comprehend any enemy other than the 'Jerries' (Germans), and have a naive confidence that the leaflets issued by the local government can protect them from the inevitable.
Context for the text (history, feminist movements, time period, culture, literary period etc) When the Wind Blows reflects the fear of nuclear warfare and the average persons response to the ‘Bomb’.
Influences upon author
Raymond Briggs was born in London in 1934. His father, was a co-op milkman and his mother was ‘in service’ for over twenty years. The two main characters in the story; James and Hilda Bloggs are closely based on his parents. This is represented for example by Hilda’s clothes representing a uniform, a link to Briggs’s mother being ‘in service’.
Many texts use the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a catalyst for re-evaluation our dominant ways of thinking. To what extent does the text use the dropping of the bomb as focal point in the text and how is it portrayed? What tone is established in the text?
Although the text doesn’t use the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a catalyst for re-evaluation of our dominant ways of thinking it does use the dropping of ficticious bomb by the Russians on the United Kingdom as a vehicle to change the readers perspective on nuclear war. The text revolves around preparing for the imminent attack and the effects of the bomb on the average person. An atmosphere of isolation and the significant fear of the unknown is established in the text.
Explain how the content and concepts in the text demonstrate the composer’s response to the use, or potential use, of the atomic bomb and its effect on the human condition in a post-apocalyptic era. The author has a negative view of the use of nuclear warfare; this notion is depicted in his text through the author educating people on both the effects of the bomb and the effects of being naïve about the damage the bomb can cause. This is reflected in the effects of radiation exposure that the incurred by the Bloggs.
Explain how the text has been shaped by the ideas and values underpinning the text. What choices has the composer made? Why? Consider; form, genre, style, setting, plot, characters, point of view, narrative/dramatic/poetic/visual devices and language.
The ideas and values underpinning the text explore the horrendously destructive effects of nuclear warfare. The story demonstrates how nuclear warfare can effect anyone. The story highlights to the reader how imperative it is to all civilization that nuclear warfare comes to an end. •
Genre: By the story being in the form of a graphic novel, the story is accessible to a broader range of people, therefore allowing numerous people to learn about the effects and dangers of nuclear warfare. •
Style/ Setting: The picturesque, storybook setting of the story and sweet language used between James and Hilda such as: ‘Ducks’ allows the reader to develop a connection to the couple and allows the effects of the bomb to be significant due to disbelief that such disaster could occur in this setting. •
Characters: Compassion, sympathy and worry are developed for James and Hilda on account of their characterisation. The simplemindedness of the pair in their naievity of the effects of the bomb coupled with their old age is endearing to the reader. The characters represent an everyman....
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