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Everyday Writing's Impact in WWII Letters


The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience is an extensive set of collections housed at the campus of Florida State University. The institute collects letters, diaries, memorabilia and other comparable items in order to index them in a fashion conducive to research. More importantly, the institute is committed to preserving to histories of the individuals that created each artifact.

Their artifacts are unique samples of everyday writing because they reflect a specific period in world history. Phone lines where extremely unreliable so letters became the primary form of education between the soldiers and their loved ones. It is important to realize that despite being such a common form of communication, the letters still conformed to some traditional conventions. These everyday writings reveal the emotional struggles of the author. More importantly these struggles where shared by thousands of other soldiers also.

This analysis involves the investigation of three letters all written in 1945, during the ending year of the war. Each account provides insight into how the war shaped the psyche of the individual, representative of many more. The first letter by Sidney Rochelson exemplifies how some simply ignored the emotional difficulties and told no one of the atrocities. Wayne Coloney reveals another societal trend, anger and desensitization towards the enemy. Lastly, John portrays a man on the brink of defeat, desperately clinging to the thought of his wife Betty for motivation to continue. Each letter illustrates a common form of coping during this period, even though none of these concepts are directly discussed in the texts. Analyzing everyday writing sheds light onto society in areas not directly mentioned by the authors. 

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