Would you ever sacrifice your own life in order to save a stranger? Could you imagine watching fellow soldiers being shot and blown up all around you? Could you survive months on end in a war zone? Is one man’s life worth the lives of 8? Both Saving Private Ryan and A Fortunate Life depict war as being a major sacrifice for those involved. Both texts show the mental and physical hardship associated with war and the bonds and mateship shared between soldiers.
Saving Private Ryan tells the story of 8 young soldiers who risk their own lives in order to save the life of one man. The first 20 minutes of the film is the most effective in illustrating the horrific conditions and images troops are subjected to. The opening scene being hailed as the most realistic interpretation of war is only enhanced by the use of a hand held camera that provides the audience with a view of war through a soldier’s eye, as well as adding to the chaos and confusion surrounding them.
With the constant sound effects of machine guns, shells and screams for help played throughout the movie and the use of silence when Captain Miller is defended by a shell, allows the audience to get an idea of the mental and physical hardship troops are exposed to and the difficulty they would encounter to overcome these problems. A strong message displayed in the film is that of loyalty, sacrifice and mateship. 8 men sacrifice their lives to save a man that they had never even heard of. Sharing a bond that only other troops would understand, they make their way across the country to find Private Ryan.
Once found, Private Ryan refuses to leave as he believes his life is no greater than the soldiers he has been fighting with. He is not willing to leave until his mission is complete. This shows enormous sacrifice, not only by the men who found Ryan, but Ryan himself for not wanting to leave his fellow soldiers in their time of need. These messages are also made clear by Albert Facey in A Fortunate Life. The descriptive language used through the book demonstrates the horrific events during war. This can be seen at the end of chapter 52 when Facey is describing the D-Day invasion onto the beaches of Gallipoli.
He describes it as being “terribly frightening” and “shocking”, as well as this being descriptive language it is also a huge understatement, that Facey tends to use a great deal through the book. Both the understatements and descriptive language allow the reader to see the extent of the physical and mental damage on the troops. It emphasises the reality of the horrors they face from day to day. The use of dates, places, factual information and maps help in allowing the reader to receive a greater understanding of Facey’s journey and the obstacles overcome.
Although the book is written in very simple language the message of sacrifice is made clear. An example of this is shown when Facey is injured and is offered a way out of the war, being presented with the opportunity to leave for the hospital ship, but declines as his battalion is already shorthanded and cannot afford to lose any more troops. This also shows the bonds troops share with one another, Facey is willing to suffer the ongoing pain in order to help out his fellow comrades. Both texts show the immensity of sacrifice each soldier is willing to give.
Weather its saving a stranger’s life or fighting in the war, each and every soldier is doing there bit in ensuring that we all live in a free society. The attitude of loyalty they show towards one another is a testament to how we all should live by our own friends. The obstacles they encounter and the processes they embark on to overcome the physical and mental suffering, demonstrates that the majority of our own problems are nothing compared to the day to day torment soldiers are going through.