Harold Gill (1919-2003): Life & Labour – Writing Lives

Harold Gill (1919-2003): Life & Labour

The idea of life and labour in our eyes is the idea of working in order to earn a living. Although some may see the idea of working for another as degrading, it instead allows pride and a sense of accomplishment as it ensures that one can have a family and earn enough money to support that family.

Harold Gill chooses not to include much about work, instead he focuses on his childhood and what it was like growing up with such a large family, and how being a prisoner of war affected his life. Gill explains that once he had been released he was unable to find work and therefore would have struggled to support himself.

However we did notice that he mentions that he was one of many children and that his parents struggled to support their family. We believe that he explains that his parents struggled with money in order for the reader to get a full account of his childhood however he only briefly mentions that he had a job that paid ‘sixpence per day’ (Page 13, Section 1) and that he believed his future was financially secure. It could be suggested that the reason that Gill does not mention labour is because he is ‘financially secure’ (Page 13, Section 1) and therefore does not find this topic something that is worth telling about and instead he focuses on his childhood and being a prisoner of war. Gill also recalls looking for work when he had been released was very difficult however there is not much included about looking for employment.

It could be possible that the reason for the omission of labour could be due to the fact that Gill does not believe that it is a very important part of his life and instead he has much more to say about his childhood and being a prisoner of war that he simply does not have to include this point in his life. We have chosen to include as much as we can on this topic however due to the fact that Gill omits most of his labour experiences we are not able to include anything else on this topic.



Gill, Harold, Untitled, TS, pp.66 (c. 31,000 words). Brunel University Library, July 1987.


By Joanne Gibson and Alexandra Meadwell

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