(i) What impression of Walter Schnaffs do you get from reading this passage? The main character in this passage leaves the impression of a intelligent, family oriented and inactive individual. Walter Schnaffs first strikes me as a man who is generally led by his thoughts. Even though there are times when he may be swayed by his emotions his actions are still overruled by his mind. This suggestion is reinforced by the fact that even though he was “passionately fond of” his wife and children and yearned to be back with them he could “banish from his mind” what “dangers that lay before them if he were killed”.
This soldier appears to be family oriented because during his service in the army, he recollects his close affiliations that he has shared with them, such as “affectionate attentions and kisses” that he misses and thinks about “every evening”. He is also “passionately fond of” his children as he prides himself in being their father because of the way the author describes his parenthood, “he is the father of four children”. He does not resemble the typical male stereotype where they tend to have an innate sense that aids them in fighting.
He complains that he “had difficulty marching” and “his knees always felt so weak that he would have collapsed” when the fighting commenced. He does not seem to have a liking for violence and is even uncomfortable when shots ring out, “his hair stood on end when he heard the ping of bullets”. (ii) How does the writer convey Walter Schnaffs’ fear in this extract? Remember to support your answer with evidence from the story. Generally the author plays around the element of uncertainty to convey Walter Schnaff’s trepidation.
Fear is conveyed through the imagery, “heavy burst of fire”, this stimulates an environment that Walter is unable to escape from being shot. The senseless shooting that results in “ killing or wounding a score of ” his fellow men. The author’s comparing two subjects through the use of similes also successfully induce terror “he ran like a tortoise in comparison with the lea Frenchmen, who were … leaping like a herd of goats”.
The repetitive rhetorical questioning that the author uses such as “Who would support them and bring them up? ” and “Where were they? ” reflect what Walter is thinking about. The unanswered questions reveal the unsettled mind of his. When one’s mind that is entertaining wild ideas, it shows the fear that he has because when one is frightened they tend to think of all frightful possible situations.