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Analysis of "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke

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Analysis of "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke "The Soldier" was written by Rupert Brooke in 1914, as the last piece in a series of sonnets. It is written in traditional sonnet form, consisting of two stanzas (the octave - which holds 8 lines - and the sestet, which holds six). The key themes of the poem are death and love. Death, as he is a soldier going into battle, and love in the sense of the love he feels for his country. The poem is written in the first person; the soldier talks of his life and the possibility of death. In order to fully understand the poem, the reader must take into account the time it was written and the implications of that information. Composed in 1914, "The Soldier" was one of many poems written at the time in support of the war, expressing love for the mother country and portraying the war in an ostensibly positive light. At the onset of the war, such patriotic poetry was widely used to encourage men to sign up and fight. ...read more.


The first stanza deals with the physical aspects of life and death. The opening lines set the tone for the rest of the poem: 'If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.' The idea of death is immediately put forward, yet Brooke romanticises the idea. He writes, 'In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;' this suggests that when a soldier dies in a foreign land, the ground where he falls will be marked as British soil; as if even in death he is fighting for his country. Although Brooke writes in the first person, 'think only this of me' the reader senses that Brooke speaks on behalf of every 'soldier' on the front line; that he is telling the young men that they should feel honoured, as does he, to be serving their country, and that they will continue to do so after their death. The word 'England' is used repeatedly throughout; England is personified and presented as a motherly figure: 'A dust whom England bore,' thus emphasising the sense of patriotism felt throughout the poem. ...read more.


The final line is extremely emotive, 'In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.' It suggests that only in death will the soldiers eventually find peace, and the words 'English heaven' enforces the previous idea that wherever they may be England will never leave them. The reference to faith, present in a great deal of the literature of the period, also emphasises how strongly Brooke (and many others) felt with regard to fighting for one's country as well as defending your beliefs and values. In conclusion, "The Soldier" by Rupert Brooke, is a highly evocative, thought provoking piece. It clearly illustrates people's feelings towards the war when it began, and the sense of patriotism that was aroused in the British population. In hindsight, with so many lives lost and the tragedies or war made obvious, the concept of war and defending one's country being a glorious thing is ludicrous. It is for this reason that "The Soldier" is particularly effective in assessing how attitudes have changed, whilst giving an insight into this particularly important time in British history. Yasmin Gillett 16.09.08 ...read more.

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