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  1. #1
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Two Women, part two

    Please, would you take a look at the second part of my short story, Two Women and correct my mistakes.

    My eyes concentrated on every soldier. Some of them had taken off their camouflage jackets and shirts and sat bare-chested in the grass playing cards, chess or listening to the radio. Some were cleaning their weapons, and some were reading magazines or letters from their homes. Except me, none of them had been a professional soldier. Before the war, they were just ordinary citizens: manual workers, waiters, teachers, craftsmen, engineers, students, office staff, and others from all walks of life. Today, however, they were seasoned fighters, ready to kill and destroy anyone and anything which came in their way. They had become merciless in the brutal war in which those killed on the spot had usually better fate than those who would end up as prisoners and expect nothing but slow, brutal torture in death camps. In a relatively short time, they had seen so much blood and evil to remain untouched. Even after the war had finally ended and life became quotidian, they would still fight their own wars, and for the lack of real enemies, they would kill other citizens, their family members or themselves. Who could blame them? They had not chosen the war. It had come to them, pulled them out of their homes and shoved them into the muddy trenches from which they had to shoot at the other side. And who were these wretched people who had suddenly become their enemies? They were not some anonymous strangers but their own neighbours, work colleagues, acquaintances, friends and even family members.

    They spoke the same language, had the same names, drank the same drinks and ate the same food. But the leaders of both nations gave the orders that fraternity and unity must be banished and converted into hatred. Thus, those who refused to hate became traitors and lost their jobs and social status. But the others who praised and spread hatred climbed the social and political hierarchy in a record time. As the political leaders were unable to persuade God to approve of their sick ideas, they turned to the religious rites instead. Our leader shouted hysterically that only we cross ourselves properly i.e. the left shoulder first, then right, and their leader made speeches in front of massive, frenzied crowds, telling them that they should be proud that they cross themselves from right to left. Our leader also said that only we had a Pope and priests who spend their lives in a celibate, while their leader praised their bearded priests, their wives and their progeny. Thus, every speech on both sides only added fuel to the flames, preparing people for the coming slaughters and sacrifices.

    We arrived in this village about a week ago. It was hot and humid, and we were tired of trudging along the bad asphalt road. The command should have given us transport vehicles, but they were needed in some other place, so I and my soldiers were forced to walk from dawn until the afternoon under the scorching sun. I was sweating profusely, but also boiling inside because of the lack of organization on our side. I knew that for some people this war had become a great opportunity to enrich themselves. The smuggling of cigarettes, petrol and other goods had become a profitable venture - a widespread activity on both sides. There were rumours that high ranking political and military leaders were involved, but nobody dared to demand an investigation because those who were too curious could easily become corpses, after which they would never bother anyone. Just a thought of these unscrupulous war profiteers filled me with rage. One day when the peace came in our country, these criminals would become highly respected citizens, powerful businessmen with contacts in the highest ranks of society. They would be untouchable at sneer at the former soldiers who would hardly have enough food to feed their families. So, it was highly probable that the vehicles which should have transported us were instead filled with tons of cigarettes or white goods and chugging towards their secret destination, which would never be recorded in a log book.

    To be continued.

  2. #2
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: Two Women, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Please, would you take a look at the second part of my short story, Two Women and correct my mistakes.

    My eyes concentrated on every soldier. Some of them had taken off their camouflage jackets and shirts and sat bare-chested in the grass playing cards, chess or listening to the radio. Some were cleaning their weapons, and some were reading magazines or letters from their homes ("their homes" is fine, but, "letters from home" sounds, to me, a better choice). Except me, none of them had been a professional soldier. Before the war, they were just ordinary citizens: manual workers, waiters, teachers, craftsmen, engineers, students, office staff, and others from all walks of life. Today, however, they were seasoned fighters, ready to kill and destroy anyone and anything which came in their way. They had become merciless in the brutal war in which those killed on the spot had usually ("had usually", or, "usually had". "Usually had" is more common) a better fate than those who would end up as prisoners and could expect nothing but slow, brutal torture in death camps. In a relatively short time, they had seen so too much blood and evil to remain untouched. Even after the war had finally ended and life became quotidian (Wow! I had to look up this word. You probably shouldn't use it because it is so uncommon), they would still fight their own wars, and, for the lack of real enemies, they would kill other citizens, their family members or themselves. Who could blame them? They had not chosen the war. It had come to them, pulled them out of their homes and shoved them into the muddy trenches from which they had to shoot at the other side. And who were these wretched people who had suddenly become their enemies? They were not some anonymous strangers but their own neighbours, work colleagues, acquaintances, friends and even family members.

    (If you sit "in the grass", I assume that the grass is tall. If you sit "on the grass", I assume that the grass is short. A person could hide in the grass but he couldn't hide on the grass)

    They spoke the same language, had the same names, drank the same drinks and ate the same food. But the leaders of both nations gave the (order, or, the orders. I would opt for "orders" without the article) orders that fraternity and unity must be banished and converted into hatred. Thus, those who refused to hate became traitors and lost their jobs and social status. But the others, who praised and spread hatred, climbed the social and political hierarchy in a record time. As the political leaders were unable to persuade God to approve of their sick ideas, they turned to the religious rites instead. Our leader shouted hysterically that only we cross ourselves properly i.e. the left shoulder first, then right, (In the US we follow these rules pertaining to i.e. - The term is to be in parentheses and a comma should follow the last period after "e" - i.e., e.g. may be used instead. i.e. means "that is" and e.g. means "for example". Finally, it would be better to use a comma) and their leader made speeches in front of massive, frenzied crowds, telling them that they should be proud that they cross themselves from right to left. Our leader also said that only we had a Pope and priests who spend their lives in a celibate, while their leader praised their bearded priests, their wives and their progeny. Thus, every speech on both sides only added fuel to the flames, preparing people for the coming slaughters and sacrifices.

    We arrived in this village about a week ago. It was hot and humid, and we were tired of trudging along the bad (Why bad? If you're walking, the condition of the road shouldn't make much difference. How about, "...trudging along the hot..."?) asphalt road. The command should have given us transport vehicles, but they were needed in some other place, so I and my soldiers (Merely to conform to a polite way of writing, put yourself at the end - ...so my soldiers and I...) were forced to walk from dawn until the afternoon under the scorching sun. I was sweating profusely, but also boiling inside because of the lack of organization on our side. I knew that for some people this war had become a great opportunity to enrich themselves. The smuggling of cigarettes, petrol and other goods had become a profitable venture - a widespread activity on both sides. There were rumours that high ranking political and military leaders were involved, but nobody dared to demand an investigation because those who were too curious could easily become corpses, after which they would never bother anyone. Just a the thought of these unscrupulous war profiteers filled me with rage. One day, when the peace came in our country (Try this - "One day when peace comes to our country..."), these criminals would become highly respected citizens, powerful businessmen with contacts in the highest ranks of society. They would be untouchable at and sneer at the former soldiers who would hardly have enough food to feed their families. So, it was highly probable that the vehicles which should have transported us were instead filled with tons of cigarettes or white goods (What are "white goods"?) and chugging towards their secret destinations, which would never be recorded in a log book.

    To be continued.
    Gil

  3. #3
    Bassim is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Two Women, part two

    Dear Gil,
    Thank you again for helping me with this short story. Every time when you correct my text I learn something new which I did not know before. For example I did not know the difference "sit in or sit on the grass." I have always believed that these two prepositions are interchangeable. When I wrote "...trudging along the bad asphalt road, I was thinking how bad roads were at that time, used by many heavy military vehicles and often destroyed by explosions, but as you wrote, when one is walking the condition of the road does not make much difference.
    Regarding "white goods" it is a BrE word and means home equipment and appliances, like washing machines, stoves, and refrigerators. During the war in the 90' thousands of homes had been destroyed, but not before they were stripped of all valuables. The soldiers simply went inside and took everything they wanted. Not even switches and sockets had been left behind. They saw these things as booty and they sold them an streets markets all over the country.

  4. #4
    Gillnetter is offline Key Member
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    Re: Two Women, part two

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    Dear Gil,
    Thank you again for helping me with this short story. Every time when you correct my text I learn something new which I did not know before. For example I did not know the difference "sit in or sit on the grass." I have always believed that these two prepositions are interchangeable. When I wrote "...trudging along the bad asphalt road, I was thinking how bad roads were at that time, used by many heavy military vehicles and often destroyed by explosions, but as you wrote, when one is walking the condition of the road does not make much difference.
    Regarding "white goods" it is a BrE word and means home equipment and appliances, like washing machines, stoves, and refrigerators. During the war in the 90' thousands of homes had been destroyed, but not before they were stripped of all valuables. The soldiers simply went inside and took everything they wanted. Not even switches and sockets had been left behind. They saw these things as booty and they sold them an streets markets all over the country.
    Thanks for clearing up the "white goods" item. The nearest I could get to a meaning was that, in the US, white goods are usually considered to be linens. I was surprised to find that Sears and Roebuck (A major store which sold mostly by mail order in the past) used this term in their earlier catalogs.

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