suddenly removed from the cosy surroundings of his bedroom to the bloody beaches of Normandy: romance extinguished by the cold salty waters of the English Channel and replaced by fear as the bullets fly around him. Pinkie is confronted daily by the reality of his poverty, of his youth and of his lack of experience.

'He laughed nervously, "You and me," and heard the hoot of a bus with the joy of a besieged man listening to the bugle of a relieving force... She got up and he saw the skin of her thigh for a moment above the artificial silk, and a prick of sexual desire disturbed him like a sickness. That was what happened to a man in the end; the stuffy room, the wakeful children, the Saturday night movements from the other bed. Was there no escape - anywhere - for anyone? It was worth murdering a world.' (92)

It was worth murdering the world in which he is trapped - the hinterland of adolescent insecurity - between the innocence of childhood and experience of manhood. Many a nervous soldier has been galvanised to shoot a gun by nothing other than fear. Pinkie is afraid of growing up: He fears the fate of Prewitt, a public school man come down in the world, the shattering of childhood dreams as the reality of the future unfolds. He finds escape of a sort in death. He vanishes from the world that is worth murdering but it is a schoolboy who dies, the world of Nelson place or the suburban nightmare of a pub in Nottingham. The question is left open: Does he escape to another world, a world where he is still a schoolboy. 'This is Hell, nor are we out of it' (210).

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