The Baby and the Bird

Kenneth Berkenstock


Introduction to Writing Across the Media


The Baby and Bird

The onlookers eyes lay glazed in the vision of the speaker. A 7 P.M. class was less than ideal for most of the students attending. Although the speaker and the presentation was quite interesting. The speaker, Dr. David Downing, gave a presentation detailing the accounts of WW1 and the effect the war had on some of the greatest literature ever written. Narnia and Lord of the Rings are considered some of the most cherished literature, but how much is know of the authors.

These great tales begin in the dark, barren lands of Europe and its trenches. Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis would see these unimaginable terrors up front. “Having both been at Oxford, the demand to fight for their country was there” Dr.Downing stated in the presentation.

“ Though neither were actually from the British mainland,” Downing chuckled at this statement. With being transferred to the front lines, the foundation of both books would be laid. When asking a fellow student James Vernon about how he viewed the presentation his response was simple “Downing brings life into a simple presentation, what may be perceived as a simple lecture has a greater means with him speaking.”

Downing touched upon the importance Oxford would play for both these writers. When they returned from the war, each learned of their own intentions of writing about these “fantasies”. The writers would eventually come together and meet at their favorite bar, The Baby and Bird. Their group would eventually expand and included others to look upon the writings and have their own input. Dr. Downing would go on to explain the importance that this would play in shaping each chapter, for the better or the worse. Caleb Clements also a fellow student felt that “What may seem like an uninteresting topic for a bio major still grabbed my attention with great interest.”

One of the key aspects of both stories would be how Christianity was tied into each of the writers stories. Multiple aspects for each writer’s life is deeply entwined with the writings. WW1 would be the push that opened up each authors ideas and truest feelings. With J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, the characters are also perceived as being a band of brothers, just as him and his fellows in the unit were considered. Each character has strengths and weaknesses that were key to making the group complete. With C.S. Lewis the same could be seen with his writings, though there would be an aspect that would be seen with darker emotions. Battles would carry the same erie strategies of WW1, large mass charges towards the enemy lines would be seen in particular battle scenes. The groups would be mercilessly mowed down with no success, just as in WW1.

Ultimately, these findings played a big part in allowing students to have a deeper understanding of what these great stories stored. Often it is thought that key events give true depth to what the author is writing of. The events that are felt or seen are redistributed through the words of an author. This attempt at giving fuller meaning may not always be transferred exactly as wanted. Overall emotions can only be shared so much, it is the skill of the author that is able to capture this moment and pass it.


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