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Comment on the ways in which First World War poets balance the ideas of hope and hopelessness in their poems.

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Introduction

Comment on the ways in which First World War poets balance the ideas of hope and hopelessness in their poems In the First World War there were many poems written. The four I am writing about were written in two different periods in time. Two of them were written in the first part of world war one when there was a glorified image of what war was like. The other two were written towards the latter part of the war when the images conjured up are far more horrific. The men who wrote these poems were very courageous, as they could have been shot for writing this type of material. In the poem 'The Dead' the structure gives hope. It does this by having rhyming couplets like 'cares' and 'theirs'. This continues throughout the poem giving a sense of orderliness. The reader is made to feel safe and that there is little wrong with war. ...read more.

Middle

The 'blossoms' show life, and that it still exists and brings a spark of hope and happiness to the soldiers. In the poem The Dreamers there are very hope filled images of 'fire lit homes' these are very positive beliefs that the soldiers have described. The format of regular rhyming gives an order to the poem. The result of this can be interpreted in two ways. One is that, their once glorious lives have been brought down to a more mundane life, which is a routine waiting for death. For some of them this brings hope that in death there pains, troubles and suffering will be over. Interpreted differently is that the rhyme represents a 'fatal climax' that never comes. The title of The Dead immediately conjures up images of pain and hopelessness. This is in some parts reflected in the body of the poem. The poem is written in the past tense, this immediately hits you and makes it appear as if Brooke is mourning the soldier's death. ...read more.

Conclusion

They question what they are 'doing' there; the thoughts the soldiers have are hopeless. Each verse of this poem ends in a short succinct statement or question. In verses one, three, four and eight it ends with 'but nothing happens'. This is a very powerful statement as it brings you up to a climax but there is no climax and you can feel the prolonged misery of the soldiers and the hopeless state they are in. Out of all four of the poems the Dreamers is the most brutal and hopeless. The soldiers are not only 'gnawed by rats' but they are 'mocked' by their minds; they want to leave. All they can think of is home and niceties of their previous lives, but they are stuck in their hopeless existences. The ideas of hope and hopelessness are balanced in all the poems, but not always equally. As the war developed so did the poetry, as more died the poetry became more graphic, but the underlying factor is that you cannot have hopelessness with out having hope first and these poems are a very real representation of what hope and hopelessness are. ...read more.

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