The Return of the Soldier

Style

The style of West's early novels, including The Return of the Soldier, is characteristic of other British Modernist novels. It utilizes a limited point of view, a non-linear narration, and offers themes of memory, sexual desire and the importance of nuanced detail.[3] Temporal displacement and uncertainty are present in most of the novel, especially in how Chris's shell shock displaces him, and subsequently the reader, during his story telling. This additional shift beyond simply the period at war in France reinforces the idea that his trauma could be linked to his marriage with Kitty, or any number of other events. Additionally, Chris's sense of time is repeatedly broken throughout the novel and communicated through Jenny.[4]

The limited unreliable narrator in The Return of the Soldier is Jenny, who is cousin to Chris, the soldier whom the title evokes. As the novel, Jenny's sympathies and attention shift from Kitty to Margaret. This shifting narration makes the novel more about the women and less about Chris.[3]


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