Private Peaceful explores two very different worlds during the early 1900s: domestic life in Iddesleigh, a small Devon village and the cruelty of a brutal war fought in the trenches of France and Belgium. Before you start to think in more detail about how Michael Morpurgo constructed his narrative and how this has been adapted into a film, consider the representation of one of the worlds described in Private Peaceful.
- Look closely at these stills from the film in the image gallery opposite, then discuss the questions below:
- What impression of life in Iddesleigh is given by these stills? What examples of life during this time do you think are not shown in these images?
- What do you think is the purpose of creating this impression of life in rural Devon?
- How does this representation contrast with what happens later in the story?
- Now watch the interview with Michael Morpurgo explaining how he researched life for working class people in Devon during this period. As you watch, try to identify details about life during this time that are not portrayed in the stills above.
- Now read this review of the film. Try to identify two or more reasons the writer gives to support the idea that "it [Private Peaceful] should be shown and read in book form in classrooms from upper primary onwards" Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.