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Commentary on Counter-Attack by Sassoon

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Introduction

A commentary on Counter-Attack by Siegfried Sassoon. In Counter-Attack, Siegfried Sassoon vividly conveys the reality of war and the tragic experience that soldiers are obligated to face in an encounter with the enemy to his readers. The poet shows this through the development of each event in a descriptive manner to make the poem as realistic as possible to establish a personal connection with his readers. Through the manipulation of many literary devices, he successfully enhances his exposition of the great endurance of the soldiers' in the front line -fighting and also dying for their country. The poet successfully makes the poem as realistic as possible to describe the reality of war that soldiers are compelled to face in the trenches by writing Counter-Attack in a plural first narration -showing a more communal and collective approach as it starts off with a "We" in the beginning of the first stanza - indicating that unity still exists in the front line, despite the situation and tragedy of war as all of the soldiers experience these situations together. ...read more.

Middle

He creates this poem in such a way that it does not consist of any rhyming structure at the end of each lines - creating disorder and a jarring edge when it is read, which further accentuates the chaotic and disarrayed situation of war, taking the readers to sense of violence and danger. Besides that, through the use of personification, Sassoon also successfully makes the poem more realistic by giving the bullets shot by the opponents a life of its own in the third stanza -"bullets spat" - as "spat" gives a sense of rudeness, this phrase indicates how the bullets are being shot in a utterly rude manner, showing the ignorance and lack of careful consideration for the lives of the soldiers from the other side. This analogy helps Sassoon to make his readers feel sympathetic towards the great endurance of the soldiers that fight and die for their country. ...read more.

Conclusion

counter-attack!], [O Christ, they're coming at us!], all these dialogues effectively make the readers feel the intensity of war at the same time, evoking a sense of turmoil and discomfort when reading the poem. Thus, making the poem to seem more realistic as it is by including these dialogues of what the soldiers might say in an encounter with the enemy during the course of the war which contributes to illustrate the tragic experience, extreme aggression and brutality of war. In conclusion, Sassoon's clever combinations of various literary techniques has successfully elucidate his exposition about the reality of war and the tragic experience that soldiers are obligated to face to his readers. He also makes the poem to seem as realistic as possible through detailed description of the soldiers' state and physical appearance in the trenches with the intention to display to his readers the great endurance of the soldiers in an everyday manner during the First World War. ...read more.

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