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The Return of the Soldier

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There was great significance of Kitty's decision to dress as a bride in this extract. She wore the same wedding dress she wore ten years ago on her wedding day. Kitty looked exactly as she did on her wedding day, her hair in the same way. She looked almost 'pure'. She dressed like this to remind her husband, Chris Baldry (who is believed to have shell shock induced amnesia), that she is his wife and that they are married. After Chris came home from the war, he could not remember his wife, or that he was married. This caused complications as he started courting his ex-lover Margaret Grey, even though he was still married. Thus, Kitty felt that if she dressed in her wedding attire of ten years ago, Chris might remember her and that he would in fact then be 'cured'.

The jewellery Kitty wore also had great effect in this extract. She wore her pearls and diamond necklace around her neck. Her right hand was covered with rings and on her right hand, her wedding ring was missing. Kitty did this for a reason. She was fighting for her husband's attention. She wanted him to remember her and in fact then be 'cured'. The bright diamonds against her looked large against her small breasts. This image makes her look vulnerable. All the rings made her appear almost desperate for Chris to remember that he was married to her, Kitty. The significance of the missing wedding ring on her right hand can be seen as an attempt to get remind Chris how she looked on the wedding day, before they got married, and that he remember her by the image she created.

The colours described in this passage, at first, makes the reader almost think of Kitty as very innocent and pure. "...her flesh glowed like a rose..." (West 2009: p.55). The fire creates this colour and can also depict Kitty as passionate. The green curtains change this image. The colour green is usually associated with jealousy and the image of the 'cleft ice' makes her appear jealous and cold. This image is the opposite of the pure image created by the fire. She looked ice cold, but also innocent and pure. The golden glow of her hair because of the candlelight makes Kitty seem almost precious. That she is the 'prize' Chris gets in the end. And also that she is the 'winner' once he is 'cured' and remembers her.


West, R. 1918. The Return of the Soldier. United States: The Century Company. p.55 - 57.



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