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Compare and contrast the ways in which the changing relationship between those on the front line and those at home is presented in BIRDSONG and THE PENGUIN BOOK OF FIRST WORLD WAR POETRY/SCARS UPON MY HEART.

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Introduction

English Coursework In November 1917 Owen wrote bitterly: "These men are worth your tears. You are not worth their merriment". Compare and contrast the ways in which the changing relationship between those on the front line and those at home is presented in BIRDSONG and THE PENGUIN BOOK OF FIRST WORLD WAR POETRY/SCARS UPON MY HEART. During the First World War many trench poets portrayed a constant theme throughout their poems. The theme was of the soldier's detachment to those on the home front. Additionally, the soldiers' emotions had soon become altered to those at home, as the patriotism at the start of the war started to decline. Once the realities of the war were experienced by the soldiers on the front line, their tragic experiences began to wedge a strong gulf. These experiences created a widening detachment between the soldiers and those on the homefront. The ignorance illustrated among the homefront is what is exposed in Birdsong. The homefront did not seem to appreciate what the soldiers were going through and this resulting in a lack of understanding between the two parties. Further, this is revealed as Owen mournfully conveys resentment and hatred of the soldiers and against non-combatants in his poem, 'Apologia Pro Poemate Meo'. Earlier poems of 1914 however, create feelings of patriotism revealing both soldiers and civilians united in emotions of pride and honour. The homefront in both Birdsong and The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry are illustrated as being ignorant by the soldiers. Various poets particularly 'Sassoon' showed a degree of compassion at the outset and later retained a more unforgiving view of this matter seeming to bitterly exploit this issue directly throughout his poetry. ...read more.

Middle

'Sorley' poignantly illuminates the aftermath of the horrors of war in; "When you see millions of the mouth less dead, across your dreams in pale battalions go"... He reveals the reality the soldiers suffered through the harsh imagery of war. They were silenced, unable to express their personal view points and suffered in silence which was a torture in itself! "Say not soft things as other men have said, That you'll remember, For you need not so. Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should They know it is not curses heaped on each Gashed head? Nor tears, their blind eyes see not your tears flow, Nor honour. It is easy to be dead." Here 'Sorley' is trying to portray that there is no need to be sentimental about the dead, because the soldiers were aware of the fact that they may be injured or maimed as there were men with 'gashed heads', those who lost their sight and hearing and in the end their precious lives. The patriotism is challenged by 'Sorley' who exposes 'Brooke' to be 'Far too obsessed with his own sacrifice' explaining how so many felt his overview of the soldier being comfortable and sacrificial, did not apply to all of them. This poem could have possibly been a warning to the reader or the outside world alerting them to the 'mouth less' soldiers who were unable to reveal their plight during the war as so many soldiers were trapped within the horror of war for years as they were in fact 'mouth less' and dare not divulge the horrendous situation they were thrown into. ...read more.

Conclusion

While 'Owen' in his poem 'Apologia Pro Poemate Meo'- 'I, too, saw God through mud - the mud that cracked on cheeks when wretches smiled. War brought more glory to their Eyes than blood'. 'Owen' portrays the blind belief of patriotism of some soldiers and the legacy they believed in, despite the misery and utter hopelessness they endured. This poem exudes the masochistic attitudes of some of the soldiers on the battlefield as they felt the futility of war and thought 'War brought more glory to their eyes than blood'! Further, In 'Owen's' 'Mental Cases' "Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaw that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls' teeth wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, - but what slow panic! 'Owen' handles the narrative in this section of this poem to show the reader the 'futility' of war and the irreparable psychological damage suffered by the unfortunate soldiers who were inflicted by the traumas at hand, during the war. In conclusion, the poems illustrated by the poets mentioned above portrayed the mixed emotions of the many disillusioned young men who gave their lives to 'King and Country'. The soldiers left to rot in hospital beds were ignored by many, as Elizabeth discovered when she visited the hospital in 'Birdsong'. Rupert Brooke's poems in the very early stages of war were written in sentimental and patriotic verse when he covers his attitude in fine words, but took the romanticized view of the war, as compared to the realities other poets portrayed at that point in time. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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