The Novel: Writing Propaganda


Today while members of my family saw The Hunger Games without me, I researched World War I American propaganda for my book. I really want to see that movie, so I think that’s why I decided to skip where I had left off from before and jump right into my chapters on WWI.

Because of this, I have just written my very own pro-war propaganda speech. It’s part Four Minute Men, part fire and brimstone sermon.

I feel dirty.

Here are two poems that I read that helped inspire today’s writing. They make me cringe.

It’s Duty Boy

    My boy must never bring disgrace to his immortal sires—
    At Valley Forge and Lexington they kindled freedom’s fires,
    John’s father died at Gettysburg, mine fell at Chancellorsville;
    While John himself was with the boys who charged up San Juan Hill.
    And John, if he was living now, would surely say with me,
    “No son of ours shall e’er disgrace our grand old family tree
    By turning out a slacker when his country needs his aid.”
    It is not of such timber that America was made.
    I’d rather you had died at birth or not been born at all,
    Than know that I had raised a son who cannot hear the call

    That freedom has sent round the world, its previous rights to save—
    This call is meant for you, my boy, and I would have you brave;
    And though my heart is breaking, boy, I bid you do your part,
    And show the world no son of mine is cursed with craven heart;
    And if, perchance, you ne’er return, my later days to cheer,
    And I have only memories of my brave boy, so dear,
    I’d rather have it so, my boy, and know you bravely died
    Than have a living coward sit supinely by my side.
    To save the world from sin, my boy, God gave his only son—
    He’s asking for My boy, to-day, and may His will be done.

    Attention, Mr. Farmer Man, and listen now to me,
    and I will try and show to you what I can plainly see.
    Your Uncle Sam, the dear old man who’s been so good to you,
    is needing help and watching now to see what you will do.
    Your Uncle’s in the great world war and since he’s entered in
    it’s up to every one of us to see that he shall win.
    He’s trying hard to “speed things up” and do it with a dash,
    and so just now he’s asking you to aid him with your cash.
    Remember, all he asks of you is but a simple loan,
    and every patriot comes across without a single moan.
    Should Uncle Sammy once get mad (he will if you get lax),
    he then will exercise his right, and make you pay a tax.

    Should Kaiser Bill and all his hordes, once get across the Pond,
    d’ye think he’ll waste his time on you, and coax to take a bond?
    Why no, siree. He’d grab and hold most everything he saw.
    He’d take your farm, your stock and lands, your wife and babies all.
    He’d make you work, he’d make you sweat, he’d squeeze you till you’d groan.
    So be a man, and come across. Let Uncle have that loan.

[Source]

Oh dear God.

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