Recent voices through the arts

This hook presents a satirical 2010 article from The Economist that likens the countries involved in the First World War to individual people involved in a brawl. In so doing, it illustrates reasons for the start and escalation of the war in an easily comprehensible, everyday context.

The Economist blog, 20 November 2010. bit.ly/1DsmMBb

The Economist blog, 20 November 2010. bit.ly/1DsmMBb

Context

This satirical piece of writing describes the countries involved in the First World War as individual people involved in a brawl. This method of writing simplifies the complexity of war and reduces the actions of governments to very basic human failings. Metaphors such as this can help people discuss, understand, and come to terms with difficult topics or issues in their community.

The arts are often used to help people discuss, understand, and come to terms with difficult topics or issues in their community. This may be through writing, as in the hook above, or through drama, music, and visual arts, as in the supporting resources. Many people use the arts to communicate alternative perspectives.

Possible discussion questions

  • How do the events in the satirical article above link to the actual events of the war?
  • What is the difference between narratives about the war expressed during wartime, compared with those made public after it? What values and perspectives dominated at different times?
  • How do the methods used to tell stories during war shape the story that is told?
  • What are the similarities and differences in the way people’s experiences are portrayed in two different present-day depictions?
  • How do examples of art, music, and comedy today challenge widely held views of a topic or issue? What role do these examples play in society?
  • How could you use the arts to communicate your perspective on the First World War?
  • What relevance do the experiences of those living during the First World War have for us today?
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