Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

When i looked at the list of books we had to read for this class, i knew that Since You Went Away was going to be one of my favorites.  Primarily becuase I dated a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps for 2 years and during that time he spent over a year in Iraq through the course of two deployments.  As a result, we spent much of our young, puppy love relationship corresponding through letters and emails. I have read many other military books including Dream When You Are Feeling Blue and The Long Road Home, and I can safely say this is my favorite genre to read about.  The war brings characteristics out of people that allow you to see further into how they feel and what types of sacrifices people are willing to make for love.  I related much of the correspondence in Since You Went Away to the letters Vera Brittain wrote to Roland.  For example, when Vera Brittain took a job working to help feel closer to Roland, she asked his approval and opinion about it. In Since You Went Away, Polly Crow writes,

“..I’m thinking seriously of going to work in some defense plant there on the swing shift so i can be at home during the day with Bill as he needs me–would like to know what you think of hte idea, if you can write. I’d much rather have an office job but I couldn’t be with Bill whereas I could if I worked at nite which I have decided is the best plan as I can’t save anything by not working and i want to have something for us when you get home so you can enjoy life for a while…”

This is an interesting comment because it displays the ideology of women during world war II and how they had given their lives to their husbands, boyfriends, fiances, etc. that were in the military. ALso, one topic among many women throughout this book was the issue of money and finances. I found a blog of a military girlfriend who was concerned and asking advice from a Military wife who had been married to military man for many years and she also served in the army and was an army daughter. The concerned military girlfriend writes,

“My boyfriend has just been accepted into the army officer program and leaves for training in less than a week. We are not engaged, but do live together and I plan on going with him to where he is assigned on base in Germany. I guess I am wondering how possible this move will be without us being married. Marriage is not out of the question for us but we don’t want to rush it or do it for the wrong reasons. Do military girlfriends have rights and benefits just as spouses do? Is marriage necessary in moving to another country? ”

In response to this, the woman well-versed in military affairs told her that in order to get the benefits of the military including shopping at the commissary and PX you need to have a military I.D. This is only issued when you are married into the military. Even in order to get on the base or post, a military girlfriend would need to be escorted by her boyfriend at all times.  This also takes me back to a previous post i made about why young military couples feel so rushed to jump into marriage. Many of the girls writing to boyfriends in Since you Went Away also commented on how they could not wait for their boyfriend to come home so that they could get married.

These issues hit especially close to home because of my experience with being a military girlfriend. Many people see stickers on young girls cars that say “I Love My Marine” and shrug the details off as being unimportant and involving young kids that know nothing about love.  Through Vera Brittain’s words and also the various women throughout World War II, and myself as proof, I know that the importance of military personnel, both men and women, need to feel the support, encouragement and love from home from families and girlfriends, fiances, and wives. These literary works allow the individuals who have not been effected by a war relationship to experience the feelings shared among lovers during a war.

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