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I’d never been impressed by Australians’ fond notions of the national character (we like to think we’re brave, resourceful, loyal to our mates, democratic, egalitarian, etc.), and here was a betrayal of mateship” (garrydisher.com).Disher also described another document that told the story of an isolated Australian woman caring for Dutch refugees on the northern coast of Australia with the constant looming threat of Japanese attack while all the men were away at war.
The title The Divine Wind is a reference to the Japanese word kamikaze, which the author defines as “an act of deliberate self-destruction in pursuit of a cause." There are also more thematic and plot related meanings to this title choice that link directly into the love story between Hart and Misty within this novel, but the main link between the definition of “kamikaze” and the general theme that is emerging in all of these examined war stories is important.
This definition hints at the idea that the imminent self-destruction that comes with war is not a futile thing unseen, but an active, self-aware choice.
It is not enough for the Lance-Corporal to be dead and left in a tree like trash. He had to guarantee them that he wouldn’t leave them behind. He saw the badly wounded Russian Captain, and he knew he couldn’t tell them the truth.
The body will also be cut in half by machine guns, run over by a Russian tank and fired upon by a passing fighter jet: “After that, the Lance-Corporal was left in peace” (Ledig 2). That even the healthy ones would be unlikely to reach their own lines alive. And adding to the relentless horrors of war are the dark flashbacks and memories of these soldiers who are not only haunted by the present, but also by bleak pasts that color their current experiences, such as the major attempting to deal with strategy after receiving the news“Anna and child dead stop buried under debris of house stop bodies unrecognizable stop immediate burial” (Ledig 20).
This should be visceral and real, but the observation seems like that of someone who is just passing through and not really in it.
This type of writing is a statement about how war affects the mind, as seen with the victims of the Holocaust and WWII, and ultimately states through this use of style that war is unreal to those who lived it. And when one is dealing with the fact of having watched countless men suffer and die—or worse, having done the deeds that created those results—confronting such truths becomes nearly impossible unless a mechanism such as described here is put in place.
This is the image of war in action—a still piece of events.
But as the war keeps on, so does the descent of the body into a mangled wreck.
In Gert Ledig’s , the book begins with the corpse of a Lance-Corporal.
The body of this Lance-Corporal, already with pieces missing, hangs from a tree.