Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Glen Smith's Diary (Page 53)

//Panel 1//
Elizabeth's Narration:
The "Glorious and Vigorous War," as the Kaiser referred to it, started in July of 1914.
Everyone thought: "Oh, this will end by Christmas."
//Panel 2//
Elizabeth's Narration:
Since up until now nations had been fighting endlessly for power around the world in the Boer region, Morocco, the Balkans—
//Panel 4//
Elizabeth's Narration:
//Panel 5//
Elizabeth's Narration:
The war dragged on. Then
//Panel 6//
Elizabeth's Narration:
…people became poorer, famished, children cried. Old people were chilled to the bone. There were strikes…but the war continued.
//Panel 7//
Compulsory recruitment. They're short of troops. I'm going to Kiel.
//Panel 9//
Elizabeth's Narration:
That was my gut feeling. That Tony wouldn't be coming home.
Elizabeth Elizabeth Take care of the children…! …I'll be home soon!
Elizabeth's Narration:
He won't be coming home.
I'll surely be back soon!
//Panel 10//
You promised, Tony, you promised so many things, so much happiness, and you are leaving those promises behind, Tony.

Now the family life of Elizabeth and Tony is about to run up against the hard and brutal forces of history. As I have some background knowledge on the lives of Germans during and after the wartime, I can see that Moto Hagio researched very carefully on this subject.

I searched but could not locate the exact quote for the "Glorious and Vigorous War", though I'm sure the Kaiser did make some similar reference to the Empire's guaranteed victory.

Elizabeth's thoughts in Panel 10 really were really difficult to translate. What it says literally is, "Tony the liar (or, a bit more polished, "You lied, Tony." This is repeated three times, so it's extremely important within a very critical scene. However, having discussions with my husband, I was pointed out adamantly that "うそつき” does not necessarily have that very negative meaning associated with it in English. It can indicate a more hapless situation, where fate and other forces outside of one's free will act to set a course which goes against a promised or hoped-for result. So Elizabeth is not actually calling Tony a liar or betrayer, but in her anguish is realizing that all the dreams that Tony had for their life together are, unfortunately, about to fall apart through no fault of their own.

Of course, , the word can literally mean "a lie" in the judgemental sense you see in English, but a more mundane use of "うそ" means something like "Really?" which high school girls use a lot. Some people with a limited command of Japanese often take this literally as "you're lying" and get offended.

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