Alan Sillitoe

“On his first parade the sergeant-major exclaimed that he couldn't make out the shape of Arthur's head because there was so much hair on it, and Arthur jocularly agreed to get it cut, intending to forget about it until the fifteen days was over, which he did. 'You're a soldier now, not a Teddy-boy,' the sergeant-major said, but Arthur knew he was wrong in either case. He was nothing at all when people tried to tell him what he was. Not even his own name was enough, though it might be on on his pay-book. What am I? he wondered. A six-foot pit-prop that wants a pint of ale. That's what I am. And if any knowing bastard says that's what I am, I'm a dynamite-dealer, Sten-gun seller, hundred-ton tank trader, a capstan-lathe operator waiting to blow the army to Kingdom Cum. I'm me and nobody else; and what people think I am or say I am, that's what I'm not, because they don't know a bloody thing about me.”


Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe
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