(Passage a significant impact on Paul as

(Passage from life Class by Pat Barker – pages 182-189)  Comment closely on the presentation of war and how it impacts on relationships and identity in the passage, saying how far it reflects the style and concerns of the novel as a whole?   Life Class written in 2007 with characters set in 1914 before and during the First World War; the novel explores the impact of war upon the students of an art class based in London as Barker details the different journeys characters take after the start of the war. The reader is able to see the change in characters as a consequence of the war by contrasting the personality of before and after the start the war. The passage from 182 – 189 displays the contrast of how the war has impacted on Elinor and Paul from the experiences that they have endured since the start of the war, which are demonstrated when they reunite.Barker shows how the impact war has taken a larger impact on Paul than Elinor, as displayed at the beginning of chapter 25, as Elinor still focuses on minute concepts, such as the relationship between herself, Paul and Kit whilst we see Paul enduring the impact of the war and the toll it takes both physically and mentally. Barker juxtaposes Elinor and Paul using Elinor as a foil to emphasis the way the war impacts on Paul’s character: ‘Kit was constantly in her mind the dread of meeting him’; Barker highlights Elinor’s ignorance by demonstrating that during this period of the war Elinor is distressed, not by the affliction of war ,but by the idea of being caught in a love triangle by Kit: ‘Like an outraged Husband’, displaying Elinor’s narrow-minded view of the world as her only concerns relate to being caught manipulating Paul and Kit for her own satisfaction, rather than the future of her own country or her personal future.Discordantly, the start of the war has a significant impact on Paul as he enlists in the Belgian Red Cross and broadens his mind as the war exposes the brutality of life and war from the images he has seen at the red cross, such as a: ‘severed eye’. Barker uses the graphic imagery of the physical devastation caused by war as a tool to desensitize Paul, this is shown to be successful by how Paul is no longer concerned with forms of expression, such as art and the approval of Professor Tonks as he once was: ‘Paul burst out when he looked back on those days they’d all been barking mad’. Barker employs a retrospective narratives which enables her to show how Paul recognizes his previous problems and looks back at them as if they were asinine as the war has put such menial issues into perspective, as shown in chapter 1: ‘Paul’s frustration in the life class … which could never be vented as he respected Professor Tonks so much’; Barker explores the psychological distress that people were subjected to during 1914, so much to change a person’s personality completely, as in the earlier parts of the novel when we see that Paul is an aspiring artist trying to pursue a career under the Slade School of Art; however, he is able to identify the minute significance of such expressive forms in relation to the barbarity of war.Furthermore, the consequences and the impact of the war have forged a different identity for Paul, which in turn highlights the changes within the relationship between Elinor and Paul. Despite the intimate relationship growing closer leading to their first act of sexual intercourse, their emotional connection does not, but diminishes throughout their time apart, as displayed by Elinor: ‘he hid himself even in his sleep and it came to her that he didn’t love her’; ‘she wasn’t unhappy at all’; Elinor is shown to realize the cold nature of the relationship; however, she is pleased to learn such facts. Barker demonstrates how a once budding relationship between characters has now been irreversibly changed due to how the war has detached them from their previous relationships connection: ‘It was different from that time in London … then she was excited’; Barker highlights the crux of the novel: how people are changed by the events they experience; she uses the setting of the first world war to explore this change. Barker juxtaposes Elinor, who has remained at London continuing her art, and Paul in the midst of the direct impact of war exposed to atrocities such as: ‘a mother smothering her injured son’; exhibiting the anguish caused by the war, which causes a grave dilemma for a loving mother to allow her son to agonize or to put him out of his misery.  The end of chapter 25 highlights the catastrophic consequences of war, with the bombs being dropped causing:’ fires… billowing clouds of smoke as a house burst open like a ripe pod.’ The setting of the Ypres room allows for a full illustration of the shells being dropped and their catastrophic consequences, adding to the psychological trauma; Barker is able to use the Ypres room which ascends over street level displaying a view of the whole city and the extent of the devastation of the shells, allowing for an emotional connection with the reader as we are able to visualize and imagine standing looking through the window exhibiting the whole city as shells descend.In conclusion, Barker highlights how Elinor and Paul’s relationship has changed throughout time as we are able to see the change from Paul’s blinded love chase of Elinor as she coquettes with other male characters, to how Paul and Elinor consummate their relationship; however, they never develop an emotional connection, displaying how the war has divorced Paul from his former self; he enters a new world with such experiences that have left an irreversible change. Barker is able to display this change in character and impact on relationships by juxtaposing Paul and Elinor as Barker contrasts the change in Paul to the constant of Elinor to emphasise the drastic change in Paul. Barker is able to create this change by using the setting of war to create a separation between characters and manipulate personalities to the detriment of personal relationships.