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Compare and Contrast ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ and ‘Joining the Colours’. Which poem is the Most Successful, In your opinion, and Why?

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Joining the Colours'. Which poem is the Most Successful, In your opinion, and Why? Both of the poems named above are about war. They are on the different aspects of war from two peoples' point of view. 'Joining the Colours' is by Katherine Tynan, a woman who did not go to war and stayed at home. She did not know what life was like in battle but wrote her thoughts and feelings on the matter and the soldiers. Wilfred Owen wrote 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and was in the First World War. He was hospitalised for shell shock and after returning to the battlefield, he died one week before war ended. He wrote from experience. Although 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Joining the Colours' are seen through two points of view they are still similar. Both the poems are based on World War I and young soldiers. They focus on the horrors and the lies of war. In 'Dulce' the last lines read: The old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori-It is sweet and honourable to die for your country. Wilfred Owen is telling you here that the saying is not true and tries to persuade you that it is hell out there in the battlefield and on the front. In 'Joining the Colours', 'In to the dark' and 'Love cannot save' are referring to the soldiers, walking in to their own graves by marching into war. ...read more.

Middle

They then watch their comrade 'drown' in it and are too helpless to do anything to help. The soldier drowning in the gas is similar to a soldier drowning in water as it has the same effect. The forms of the poems are quite similar. They both have four stanzas and a regular rhyming scheme of alternate lines. Lots of similes are used and others as well as assonance. There are mostly ten syllables to a line in each stanza. There is plenty of alliteration in both poems such as 'Knock-kneed' with the two k's and in 'beggars' with double g. Also, there is sibilance like in the word 'sacks'. In 'Joining the Colours' there is sibilance in three words 'shells' and 'street stares'. There is a good use of assonance in the second line of the first stanza of 'Joining the Colours' with oo and ee sounds. They appear in the words 'smooth-cheeked' and 'food'. Having these sounds makes the words stand out. It emphasises a point wanting to be made or it can just make the word/s or line appeal. The important words become clear. In stanza two there is a repetition of the word 'row', alliteration of the letters t and c and some sibilance too. Again in stanza three there is alliteration in the words 'with' and 'whistles'. There is similar sounding because of the w, t and h and because of the assonance of the letter i. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is what makes a good poem, and it is the same with novels as well. If you pick up a book and it isn't very descriptive then you can't picture the situation and the book isn't as good. 'Joining the Colours' is like that book where it isn't so descriptive and doesn't have a series of events. It is just soldiers marching down the street and the thoughts and feelings of others. The only description is of the boys. In 'Dulce' numerous things are happening and each one is described fully: And floundering like a man in fire or lime......... .....As under a green sea, I saw him drowning...... .....He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning..... .....And watch the white eyes writhing in his face........ .....If you could hear......the blood/Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Everything that happened to that man was described to its fullest. His eyes rolling up into his head and blood gargle out of his mouth. All the adjectives are used so people can see what it was like on the battlefield and it wouldn't be thought of as going out there, killing the enemy and being victorious. There is a lot of suffering. Also, it can appeal more to readers because most people tend to enjoy violence in films and in writing. So from all this and everything else I've said about this poem, these are the reasons I find it to be more successful. The poem is overall better and more successful than 'Joining the Colours'. ...read more.

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