• Ferdinand Bardamu is a young man living in France at the beginning of the 20th Century. He is obviously an intelligent character, and could even be described as a radical.
• Bardamu watches as parades of men march past to celebrate their recruitment to the national French army. The year is 1914 and the First World War is just about to start. Bardamu cannot understand why people are so suddenly patriotic and nationalistic, seeing warfare as a chance to become heroes, when in actuality they are really all going to be used and slaughtered by the more powerful generals.
• Strangely, Bardamu himself is swept away by these feelings of national pride as he realizes that he might have found a way to be a hero and receive free food from all of the cafes for the rest of his life. He rushes into the march and experiences...
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