Overview (Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series)
Gone to Soldiers offers an answer to the question that Albert Einstein asked in a July 30, 1932, letter to Sigmund Freud regarding the topic “Why war?” As the lives of ten major characters are played out against the backdrop of World War II, “man’s inhumanity to man” is revealed in the horrors of prejudice against Jews and women. War, whether against an oppressive society or within oneself, is fought and won only against overwhelming odds.
Dedicated to Marge Piercy’s grandmother, Hannah, Gone to Soldiers memorializes her as a storyteller who has a “gift for making the past walk through the present.” The importance of memory in preserving the lessons of the past makes Jacqueline Lévy-Monot’s mission a religious one as she affirms her identity as a women and as a Jew.
Jacqueline, whose stories are told in the form of a diary, is not the only character in the novel who is a teller of tales. Louise Kahan, the war correspondent, and Abra, in a series of interviews, mark their own quests for identity in the stories they tell. Recounting the experience of her bleak childhood, Louise recalls being raped and having an abortion at the age of fifteen. Later, mired in dull wifehood, she finds it hard to juggle the demands of her daughter and philandering husband. When Louise divorces Oscar and strives to live as a single mother in a war-torn society, she learns that women in that society have no military status, no...
(The entire section is 1780 words.)
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