Date of Degree
European History | History of Gender | Women's History | Women's Studies
First World War, women in war, "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarq, "Testament of Youth" by Vera Brittain
This thesis revolves around Evadne Price’s novel, Not So Quiet… Stepdaughters of War, published in 1930 under the pen name Helen Zenna Smith. The book delves into the inner life of a young female driver in a voluntary ambulance corps in France during World War I. Throughout the novel the reader is witness to the hardships of young women who left their sheltered drawing rooms only to be plunged into the apocalyptic landscape of the Western Front. They were ill informed as to what they were volunteering for and they struggled desperately to cope with the heretofore unimagined carnage. Four themes recur throughout the text: the physical effects of the war on both women and men’s bodies; the gradual deterioration of their mental and emotional states; their new exposure to intimate relationships without any sexual education; and finally their disillusionment with their parents’ generation and the belligerence that was endemic on the home front. By conducting a thorough analysis of Not So Quiet… and comparing it to other accounts produced by women about individual war experiences, this study seeks to contextualize these traumatic experiences and how they helped dismantle the traditional 19th and early 20th century British social mores.
Lightle, Alexandra J., "The Bodies, Minds, Desires and Scorn of Britain's "Stepdaughters of War"" (2016). CUNY Academic Works.