A Slow Kind of Drowning

Open Access
Miller, Rose Taylor
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Mary Catherine Rohrer-Dann, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Marcy Lynne North, Honors Advisor
  • World War One
  • Creative Writing
  • Historical Fiction
  • English
Captain James Bates serves in the British Army during World War One. Set as an account of a fictional soldier in the Loyal North Lancaster 1/4th, the novella follows James’s experience in the war. The story surrounds three key battles for James- the Somme, Passchendaele, Railway Wood- and the consequences of his service in each. The Somme is discussed in one letter written to Florence, James’s fiancé. Passchendaele takes place over the course of Chapter 1 through 3rd person narrative as well as referenced in later letters. Railway Wood is remembered through a nightmare which takes place in Chapter 2. In both chapters, story-telling takes place in both 3rd person narration and 1st person letters sent between James and Florence. Each chapters weaves the 3rd narrative around the chronological letters. The 3rd person narration is headed with the date and time while the letters with the day and year in order to show the passing of time and to center the reader in their surroundings. Over the course of the war, italics are introduced to the letters to represent what the character wants to say but is unable, showing the effect the war has on their relationship as well as their relationship with others. The letters are used to highlight the characters and their individual experiences through the war while the 3rd person narrative is used to show the board scale horror that the soldiers fighting in France experienced. At the end of the short story, James is sent back to France as his wounds have healed. It is left open-ended whether the hero survives the end of the war.