An Empty Grave: Grief and Mourning on the Canadian Home Front in the First World War
AdvisorMarshall, David Brian
AuthorIverson, Tracy Nichole
Committee MemberMoore, Anne
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe onset of the First World War forced significant changes to rituals surrounding death and to beliefs surrounding what constituted a “good death.” This thesis examines those changes brought to mourning rituals in Canada as a result of the massive number of deaths that occurred throughout the First World War, while arguing that the battlefield nature of death, the absence of the body of the deceased, and the inability of loved ones to access the graves of the fallen was at the center of these changes. The inability of Canadians to conduct traditional rituals which were dependent on the presence of the dead body of their loved ones, meant that it was difficult to accept the reality of those deaths. The absence of the body of the deceased, and the inability to perform rituals surrounding it, also meant that many bereaved Canadians struggled to process their losses and attain closure. The First World War changed the nature of consolation because without the bodies of the deceased, people did not gather to comfort the bereaved, instead providing their condolences through letters which often offered comfort by revering the dead and sharing precious memories. Canadians found new ways to process their grief and console the bereaved by creating myths which involved employing the language of sacrifice while performing various acts of commemoration, all of which has crafted the way the war, and those who fought and fell, have been remembered since.
CitationIverson, T. N. (2021). An empty grave: grief and mourning on the Canadian home front in the First World War (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.
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