The human condition is the totality of the experience of being human. It's the circumstances which a person is placed in, the environment of existence, and their character. Set in the grim, war-torn future of the 41st Millennium, the weakness of humans become especially apparent in the novel "First and Only" as composer Dan Abnett uses a variety of literary techniques such as imagery and characterisation to emphasise the vulnerability of humans, both individuals and communities in such turbulent times.
The introductory paragraph sets the context of the text. "It is the 41st Millennium... To be a man in such times is to live in the cruellest and bloodiest regime imaginable." Here, the environment of existence is stated to the audience, the use of adjectives like 'cruellest' and 'bloodiest' creating and accentuating the imagery of the context of the novel, showing the environment to be turmoiled and chaotic. This imagery of the setting is further described by "forget the promise of peace and understanding, for in the grim future there is only war."
Juxtaposition of peace and war emphasises the notion that in the setting of this text, the humans live in a universe that is constantly at war, with peace as an impossible goal.
"First and Only" focuses upon the weakness of humans both as individuals and in groups by the use of descriptive imagery. Commissar Gaunt and his men, the Ghosts are often placed in life-or-death battlefield situations, whether it maybe a deadly campaign of trench warfare, or assaulting a heavily fortified situation from air. As a result of such situations the physical and psychological vulnerabilities of humans become immediately apparent, and Dan Abnett takes this opportunity to illustrate the fragility and vulnerability of humans. "Sergeant Blane caught the first man over the lip with his bayonet... the...