Under Fire Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 74 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Under Fire.
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Power

Power is the overwhelming reality in Henri Barbusse's Under Fire: The Story of a Squad. Written in 1917, two years after the events it portrays, the novel shows the awesome physical power of World War I weaponry. While puny and primitive by 21st-century standards, they are real and terrifying to those facing them. Barbusse alludes to the Zouaves dropping their colorful uniforms to avoid being such ready targets for the machine guns. These new inventions along with " barrage fire," a hideous rain of fiery metal in sheets, are most feared and minutely described. Characters debate the future of aeronautics, whose terror they do not feel in brief overflights.

Power is also seen in its spiritual aspect as poilus (French infantrymen) endure impossible conditions with fortitude and resignation. They grouse, but they also obey. The physical horrors of the trench system on the Western Front is depicted in detail throughout...

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This section contains 1,082 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Under Fire Study Guide
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