Life in the Trenches – A Monologue

As we discussed in class. I’ve added a wee exemplar at the end…

Para 1
End of the day
Night in trenches

See: Looking out across no-man’s land
Rats
Bodies
Germans on guard
Barbed wire
Blood
Bomb craters/ shells
Muddy water
Other men on watch – checking guns
Smell: gunpowder
Rotting flesh?
Rats/ disease
The toilet (the latrine)
Hear: Occasional gunshots
Mostly silent
Other men talking quietly
Some men crying
Animals?
Afraid of: German attack
Being taken prisoner
Losing the trench
Gas attack
Dying
Not seeing family again

Para 2
What’s coming tomorrow?
More fighting
Going ‘over the top’
The Big Push
Scared
Frightened/ nervous
Worried for your friends
Can’t sleep
Hopeful – proud to fight
Want the war to end

Para 3
What would you say to the people you love?
Hope to get home
You love/ miss them
Afraid you won’t see them again
Hope to see your son play for the school team
Want to see them grow up

Exemplar

It’s the end of a long day for most of the men but I’m just going on watch. It’s eleven o’clock and the night is dark and still. I can see out across no-man’s land and see the rats scurrying between the dead bodies, puddles of muddy water and bomb-craters. In the distance are the lights of the German trenches, where guards like me are keeping watch. I look up the line and see some of my friends checking their guns, smoking cigarettes or sitting silently. The smell of gunpowder drifts across the trench, mixed with something sick and sweet: the smell of human flesh. The rats will come to seek the smell, and bring their disease with them. The night is mostly silent but sometimes I hear a gunshot ring out. One of our men taking a shot at a German or vice versa. It’s unlikely they would hit anyone in this darkness. I hear a gentle sobbing from up the line as one of our men thinks about his family, or his wife, or his friends in England.

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