Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Prime Passage: The Ghost Road by Pat Barker

(From a journal entry by the young Billy Prior, just before going into a hopeless battle in 1918 France ... )

"I realize there's another group of words that still mean something. Little words that trip through sentences unregarded: us, them, we, they, here, there. These are the words of power, and long after we're gone, they'll lie about in the language, like the unexploded grenades in these fields, and any one of them'll take your hand off."

1 comment:

  1. "Us, them, we, they" . . . doesn't that say it all. Isn't that what's wrong, for whatever reasons. It's almost as if "us, them, we, they" is what families, communities, nations, religions need to keep themselves feeling good about themselves (at least some, thankfully not all). In war, I would guess, it's obvious how flawed that is; in everyday life, I'm not so sure it's so obvious. Mr. Prior, I would say, saw the foolishness in this in very stark, very real terms, as have too many others. One, two, five hundred years from now, folks will marvel, and perhaps be repulsed, at how primitive we are--how many meet their demise world-wide due to "us, them, we, they?"