A Dream of Armageddon - Apostilas - Comunicação Social_Parte2, Notas de estudo de Literatura. Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC-Minas)


Descrição: Apostilas de Comunicação Social sobre o estudo do Livro "A Dream of Armageddon".
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"I am forgetting everything," he said.
"And they carried guns?"
"Little guns, firing high explosive shells. They fired the guns backwards, out of the base of
the leaf, so to speak, and rammed with the beak. That was the theory, you know, but they
had never been fought. No one could tell exactly what was going to happen. And
meanwhile I suppose it was very fine to go whirling through the air like a flight of young
swallows, swift and easy. I guess the captains tried not to think too clearly what the real
thing would be like. And these flying war machines, you know, were only one sort of the
endless war contrivances that had been invented and had fallen into abeyance during the
long peace. There were all sorts of these things that people were routing out and furbishing
up; infernal things, silly things; things that had never been tried; big engines, terrible
explosives, great guns. You know the silly way of these ingenious sort of men who make
these things; they turn 'em out as beavers build dams, and with no more sense of the rivers
they're going to divert and the lands they're going to flood!
"As we went down the winding stepway to our hotel again, in the twilight, I foresaw it all: I
saw how clearly and inevitably things were driving for war in Evesham's silly, violent
hands, and I had some inkling of what war was bound to be under these new conditions.
And even then, though I knew it was drawing near the limit of my opportunity, I could find
no will to go back."
He sighed.
"That was my last chance.
"We didn't go into the city until the sky was full of stars, so we walked out upon the high
terrace, to and fro, and--she counselled me to go back.
"'My dearest,' she said, and her sweet face looked up to me, 'this is Death. This life you lead
is Death. Go back to them, go back to your duty--'
"She began to weep, saying, between her sobs, and clinging to my arm as she said it, 'Go
back--Go back.'
"Then suddenly she fell mute, and, glancing down at her face, I read in an instant the thing
she had thought to do. It was one of those moments when one sees.
"'No!' I said.
"'No?' she asked, in surprise and I think a little fearful at the answer to her thought.
"'Nothing,' I said, 'shall send me back. Nothing! I have chosen. Love, I have chosen, and the
world must go. Whatever happens I will live this life--I will live for you! It--nothing shall
turn me aside; nothing, my dear one. Even if you died--even if you died--'
"'Yes?' she murmured, softly.
"'Then--I also would die.'
"And before she could speak again I began to talk, talking eloquently--as I could do in that
life--talking to exalt love, to make the life we were living seem heroic and glorious; and the
thing I was deserting something hard and enormously ignoble that it was a fine thing to set
aside. I bent all my mind to throw that glamour upon it, seeking not only to convert her but
myself to that. We talked, and she clung to me, torn too between all that she deemed noble
and all that she knew was sweet. And at last I did make it heroic, made all the thickening
disaster of the world only a sort of glorious setting to our unparalleled love, and we two
poor foolish souls strutted there at last, clad in that splendid delusion, drunken rather with
that glorious delusion, under the still stars.
"And so my moment passed.
"It was my last chance. Even as we went to and fro there, the leaders of the south and east
were gathering their resolve, and the hot answer that shattered Evesham's bluffing for ever,
took shape and waited. And, all over Asia, and the ocean, and the South, the air and the
wires were throbbing with their warnings to prepare --prepare.
"No one living, you know, knew what war was; no one could imagine, with all these new
inventions, what horror war might bring. I believe most people still believed it would be a
matter of bright uniforms and shouting charges and triumphs and flags and bands--in a time
when half the world drew its food supply from regions ten thousand miles away--"
The man with the white face paused. I glanced at him, and his face was intent on the floor
of the carriage. A little railway station, a string of loaded trucks, a signal-box, and the back
of a cottage, shot by the carriage window, and a bridge passed with a clap of noise, echoing
the tumult of the train.
"After that," he said, "I dreamt often. For three weeks of nights that dream was my life. And
the worst of it was there were nights when I could not dream, when I lay tossing on a bed in
this accursed life; and there--somewhere lost to me--things were happening--momentous,
terrible things . . . I lived at nights--my days, my waking days, this life I am living now,
became a faded, far-away dream, a drab setting, the cover of the book."
He thought.
"I could tell you all, tell you every little thing in the dream, but as to what I did in the
daytime--no. I could not tell--I do not remember. My memory--my memory has gone. The
business of life slips from me--"
He leant forward, and pressed his hands upon his eyes. For a long time he said nothing.
"And then?" said I.
"The war burst like a hurricane."
He stared before him at unspeakable things.
"And then?" I urged again.
"One touch of unreality," he said, in the low tone of a man who speaks to himself," and they
would have been nightmares. But they were not nightmares--they were not nightmares.
He was silent for so long that it dawned upon me that there was a danger of losing the rest
of the story. But he went on talking again in the same tone of questioning self-communion.
"What was there to do but flight? I had not thought the war would touch Capri--I had
seemed to see Capri as being out of it all, as the contrast to it all; but two nights after the
whole place was shouting and bawling, every woman almost and every other man wore a
badge--Evesham's badge--and there was no music but a jangling war-song over and over
again, and everywhere men enlisting, and in the dancing halls they were drilling. The whole
island was awhirl with rumours; it was said, again and again, that fighting had begun. I had
not expected this. I had seen so little of the life of pleasure that I had failed to reckon with
this violence of the amateurs. And as for me, I was out of it. I was like the man who might
have prevented the firing of a magazine. The time had gone. I was no one; the vainest
stripling with a badge counted for more than I. The crowd jostled us and bawled in our ears;
that accursed song deafened us; a woman shrieked at my lady because no badge was on her,
and we two went back to our own place again, ruffled and insulted--my lady white and
silent, and I aquiver with rage. So furious was I, I could have quarrelled with her if I could
have found one shade of accusation in her eyes.
"All my magnificence had gone from me. I walked up and down our rock cell, and outside
was the darkling sea and a light to the southward that flared and passed and came again.
"'We must get out of this place,' I said over and over. 'I have made my choice, and I will
have no hand in these troubles. I will have nothing of this war. We have taken our lives out
of all these things. This is no refuge for us. Let us go.'
"And the next day we were already in flight from the war that covered the world.
"And all the rest was Flight--all the rest was Flight."
He mused darkly.
"How much was there of it?"
He made no answer.
"How many days?"
His face was white and drawn and his hands were clenched. He took no heed of my
I tried to draw him back to his story with questions.
"Where did you go?" I said.
"When you left Capri."
"South-west," he said, and glanced at me for a second. "We went in a boat."
"But I should have thought an aeroplane?"
"They had been seized."
I questioned him no more. Presently I thought he was beginning again. He broke out in an
argumentative monotone:
"But why should it be? If, indeed, this battle, this slaughter and stress is life, why have we
this craving for pleasure and beauty? If there is no refuge, if there is no place of peace, and
if all our dreams of quiet places are a folly and a snare, why have we such dreams? Surely it
was no ignoble cravings, no base intentions, had brought us to this; it was Love had isolated
us. Love had come to me with her eyes and robed in her beauty, more glorious than all else
in life, in the very shape and colour of life, and summoned me away. I had silenced all the
voices, I had answered all the questions--I had come to her. And suddenly there was nothing
but War and Death!"
I had an inspiration. " After all," I said, "it could have been only a dream."
"A dream!" he cried, flaming upon me, "a dream--when, even now--"
For the first time he became animated. A faint flush crept into his cheek. He raised his open
hand and clenched it, and dropped it to his knee. He spoke, looking away from me, and for
all the rest of the time he looked away. "We are but phantoms!" he said, "and the phantoms
of phantoms, desires like cloud-shadows and wills of straw that eddy in the wind; the days
pass, use and wont carry us through as a train carries the shadow of its lights--so be it! But
one thing is real and certain, one thing is no dream- stuff, but eternal and enduring. It is the
centre of my life, and all other things about it are subordinate or altogether vain. I loved her,
that woman of a dream. And she and I are dead together!
"A dream! How can it be a dream, when it drenched a living life with unappeasable sorrow,
when it makes all that I have lived for and cared for, worthless and unmeaning?
"Until that very moment when she was killed I believed we had still a chance of getting
away," he said. "All through the night and morning that we sailed across the sea from Capri
to Salerno, we talked of escape. We were full of hope, and it clung about us to the end,
hope for the life together we should lead, out of it all, out of the battle and struggle, the wild
and empty passions, the empty arbitrary 'thou shalt' and 'thou shalt not' of the world. We
were uplifted, as though our quest was a holy thing, as though love for another was a
mission . . . .
"Even when from our boat we saw the fair face of that great rock Capri--already scarred and
gashed by the gun emplacements and hiding-places that were to make it a fastness--we
reckoned nothing of the imminent slaughter, though the fury of preparation hung about in
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Universidade: Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (PUC-Minas)
Subject: Literatura
Upload date: 02/04/2013
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