Ivor Gurney

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A complicated story

Generalisation 1Ivor Gurney really enjoyed the first world war.| Too simple! True, there is a lot of evidence to show that he was healthier and happier than ever before, but there is also a lot of evidence to show that he found the war disturbing and terrifying. One example is…| Generalisations 2Ivor Gurney hated being in the trenches.| Too simple! True, his poems captured the horror of it, but there were many times when he found happiness that he had never known before. For example…| Generalisation 3Ivor Gurney’s letters and poems can only tell us about Ivor Gurney.| Too simple! True, they are probably most reliable for the attitudes and views of Ivor Gurney, but go back to each of your Steps. Gurney’s letters and poems also tell us about…|

Generalisation 1
Ivor Gurney really enjoyed the First World War:

Although there is a lot of evidence supporting the generalisation, it is not necessarily true; we do not know how he really felt, but it could not have been very different from his home sick soldier friends. Ivor sent many letters to his very good friend: miss Marion Scott; he tries his best to impress her with his courage, when he is in training and is mostly optimistic. Ivor says in one of his letters to Mrs Voynich (his novelist friend): “Well, here I am, soldier of the King! The best thing for me at present. I feel nowhere could I be happier than where I am”. In this quotation, Ivor Gurney is rejoicing that now that he is at war, his mind is distracted from his troubles, fears and depression: he is not happy to be at war, but happy to be getting cured from neurasthenia. When Gurney first joined the unit, he got “such a thrill such as” he had “not had for a long time” but little did he know of the consequences of his acts. When he wrote to Miss Scott on June 16th 1915, Gurney cursed irritatedly the armies ways of teaching and admitted his disgust and regrets: “Take ‘em for a route march, stand ‘em on their heads […]...
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