How do Stephen Wraysford and Christopher Martin
"Regardless of their lifestyles, all men share the same
˜Birdsong' is a novel set, for the most part, during the time leading up to the First World War. It follows the life of a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, as he embarks on a journey to France for occupational reasons, but soon finds that he stays because of the a French woman Isabelle, with whom he becomes intimately related. Stephen successfully manages to persuade Isabelle to leave her husband and family, and run away with him. However, after she becomes pregnant she decides to return home and Stephen is left alone in a foreign land, so as World War One unfolds, Stephen signs up as a soldier to fight with a British battalion on French soil.
The problems confronting Stephen's survival included a number of dangerous missions that he embarked on as time passes in the novel. His first near-death experience came when he went underground with officers Byrne and Hunt and the Germans anticipated their progress through the tunnel and attacked them with pistols. Wraysford suffered from a gunshot wound, but it proved not to be fatal, and he chose to return to service following his recovery in hospital. This event was typical of harsh reality checks that British soldiers would have received, and the blood and gore linked with the injury would help mould Stephen's character as the plot unfolds.
After a good while of preparation and anticipation, the British troops are set a date a time to make an advance towards German trenches by the canal in Ancre. After being reassured that the German line had suffered heavy loss from previous bombardment and that much of their wire was cut, Stephen and his battalion were confident. However, upon approach British soldiers were being mowed down by German machine gun fire, and those that did make it found that very little German wire had been cut. This encounter shaped Stephen's character fur