As a cry for agony and indignation, Vera Brittain wrote the Testament of Youth, to remember the death of her loved ones, her fiancé, brother and two close friends. Since memorial, the book has remained an exemplary, and most read books as it moves and educates. Hence her ambitions of becoming established in the London literary scene become true(Brittain). Brittain embraced the notion of war being a gendering activity, as she worked as voluntary aid detachment nurse tending for wounded World War I servicemen. In amidst of work exhaustion, traumatic experience, grief, and nervousness, chaos, and distress of war, an idea filled her thoughts, ‘if the war spared her she would reconstruct ideas in a book,’ the story for us.Luckily she was spared. She had a dream of getting educated and changing the perception about women in society.
The war saw the death of one soldier after the other. The absence of men involved in the war led to changing circumstances that forced women like her to live behind frontlines during the war. They had to engage in hard labor given their household responsibilities. Wartime forced women to engage in masculine activities, they had their uniforms on, ready for both nursing and combats job. Under harsh conditions that they were forced to have the physical strength, resourcefulness, headship, initiative, and execution of directives(Badenhausen). In her book Testament of youth, the words that were potent of the mixture of both loss and antagonism poured out of her as attempts of fictionalizing wartime experience were immaterial.
Although Brittatin is no more to witness this, her narrative has dramatically shaped the consciousness of the present feminist. Brittain arguably blended emotional character with intellectual clarity. First, as a daughter of a paper factory owner who for quite some time struggled to free herself, then as a young woman trying to make sense out of loss and rage of war, all these helped her to build her political beliefs. From the war and wartime experience, Brittain learned that she could not live her life in solitude away from public events. The death of her close relatives, made her to engage in campaigns against apartheid openly, nuclear proliferation and colonialism hence she brought liberation from her wartime experience.
In her Feminist work, Brittain is described as a female pioneer who struggled to build a vibrant life and career in a society that never appreciated educating women. Her memoir begins as she had continually hoped to acquire education against her father resistance. Things got out of hand as women were denied fundamental right like moving out of the house alone, as they were perceived as vulnerable populations who could not exist independently of a man’s presence. As much as she opposed the war, she voluntarily cared for the soldiers as she felt part of them. She started advocating for feminism. According to the tradition, nursing was perceived as feminine occupation, and as she states, it was quite difficult for women to advance and become doctors Interested in gender equity, Brittain worked diligently to influence policies to favor women as well.
Nursing profession gave her an outlet for accepting and coping with the grief after the loss of her relatives and friends. After the death of Roland, her profession gave her a sense of independence, and this prompted her desire to look for great liberty. While tending to wounds ofservicemen, shefurther advocated for pacifism as well. From her experience in war, she struggled to pursue her marriage however she later accepted her traditional role in marriage. Her husband became supportive by allowing her not to choose but have both; this made to have a free life.
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