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This text is Orwell's account of his own time in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, which occurred between 1936 and 1939. This was fascinating in the way that it drew people from all over the world to participate in it as other countries used the war to support either the powers of fascism or democracy. Orwell was one such person who went to Spain to fight on the side of the Republic. Orwell, in this text, does his best to describe the experience of the rank and file soldier, and what is interesting about this text is the way that he both criticises the horrors of war and exposes some of its myths whilst at the same time upholding the fact that some causes are definitely worth fighting for, and even dying for. Note the following quote, in which Orwell describes seeing new fresh soldiers going off to the front line and wounded soldiers returning from the front line passing each other:
It was like an allegorical picture of war; the trainload of fresh men gliding proudly up the line, the maimed men sliding slowly down, and all the while the guns on the open trucks making one's heart leap as guns always do, and reviving that pernicious feeling, so difficult to get rid of, that war is glorious after all.
Orwell in this quote discusses the way in which images of guns are able to give one the feeling that war is all about glory and heroes, but this is belied by the sight of "maimed men" waving to the "fresh men" who will no doubt join the ranks of "maimed men" in a few weeks time. This text therefore is very interesting in its critique of war and the kind of values and ideas that are actually worth dying for.
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