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Compare and contrast the poet's attitudes to and experiences of war in

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the poet's attitudes to and experiences of war in "Drummer Hodge" and "The soldier" How does the poet's use of language effect the readers' perception of war? Drummer Hodge is written about the Boer war (around 1899 - 1902), which was a war between the British and the Boers. The feature of the poem is a Wessex drummer boy who was killed in this war. The poem starts with the end of the boy's life as his body is disposed of practically, with no dignity, this gives the reader the idea that war has a bigger picture and the life of one boy does not matter as long as the country prevails; "They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest Uncoffined - just as found" this gives the image across that the boy was buried with no dignity, no ceremony and with indifference. From this the reader clearly gets a rather horrible and cold image of the war and the way in which people were disposed of, the line also expresses how much life is lost in a war. The next line expresses the way in which he has no grave stone, just a pile of rocks over his body. I think this shows the way that in war, you die and know body knows were you are, so nobody can come to your grave to mourn you. ...read more.

Middle

how Hodge is better off in death as he has become part of nature: "Yet portion of that unknown plain, Will Hodge forever be." This gives Hodge a sense of meaning as in death he has kind of gained life in land surrounding him. His body will become part of the land and the land will become his: "His homely Northern breast and brain, Grow to some Southern tree." If a tree were to grow around him then he would also become part of that tree, the tree that stands proud over his own resting place. This shows that Hodge is transcending into something more significant, he has more meaning and is part of the flow of life, and he is eternal. In the last two lines Hardy writes about the way in which the stars which were once so foreign will also become Hodges as they will always be looking over him: "And strange-eyed constellation reign, His stars eternally." Hodge now has something to watch over him, the stars are his for eternity. So Hodge has gone to war as part of a bigger being, has died, and become something of more value and importance, he has transcended into a higher being. I think Hardy may be trying to get across that war is people dying in mass for their country but also that in death soldiers become individuals and significant, so after all war may have a worthwhile purpose. ...read more.

Conclusion

This gives the impression again of patriotism as it seems that wherever the soldier dies then a part of him and England will be inherited into the land. Also, "Her sights and sounds" seems to use sibilance to create a sense of soothing again giving England a good image: "In hearts at peace, under an English heaven." This line gives across the idea that when the soldier dies his heart will be at peace after being released from the war and will be allowed to return to his home, an English heaven. This shows that the soldier is giving very good images of his homeland which may not be true but makes him feel that there is a reason to their fighting. The two poems both contain ideas of eternal life, be that are different. In 'Drummer Hodge' the soldier dies in war and becomes more of an individual and a higher being, whereas in 'The Soldier' the individual is lost during death and the soldier becomes part of England. Both poems describe death in war but both from different perspectives, in 'Drummer Hodge' the soldier has been to war and died, but in 'The Soldier' the war has not yet happened and the soldier is only contemplating death. 'The Soldier' uses language that makes the reader feel that war is nothing to fear and verging on that war is almost positive and you should be proud to fight for your country. I feel that both poems give different perspectives of war and then influence the readers perspectives of war in different ways. ...read more.

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