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Compare the poems from the First World War "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae, "The Hero" by Siegfried Sassoon, and "Into Battle" by Julian Grenfell.

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Introduction

To compare the poems written during the First World War Here are the three poems I chose: 1) "In Flanders Field" by John McCrae 2) "The Hero" by Siegfried Sassoon 3) "Into Battle" by Julian Grenfell "In Flanders Field" is a touching and perceptive poem using the death speech to remind us for posterity to carry on the defence against the foe. In the first two verses, the writer shows the contrast between life and death by using words like 'cross' which represents death and 'larks' which shows life in nature: "In Flanders fields the poppies blow; between the crosses, row on row; That mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below" here 'that mark' represents the location of the soldiers' graves and above them lively birds are flying in the sky which creates a very sentimental atmosphere. The 'cross' also conceals the horror of war: at the end of war, there is often death. In the second verse, the poem talks about the dead as if they were still alive, living in peace and love: "We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow; and were loved, and now we die..." the writer is suggesting that life should be treasured. ...read more.

Middle

The language it uses is fairly romantic, opening the first stanza with: "The naked earth is warm with spring...And quivers in the sunny breeze" which is hardly the way to describe a war. The first two verses describe the spring as it comes, bringing hope and warmth to the earth. In the next verse, Julian Grenfell depicts soldiers as being protected by heaven and being in a high position with the stars:" all the bright company of Heaven, hold him in their high comradeship, the Dog-Star, and the sisters Seven, Orion's Belt and sworded hip". In this way, it creates a psychological encouragement to soldiers and leads them to think that contributing in war is very dignified. In the next two verses, it portrays how nature supports the soldiers in war, leads them in the correct direction, provides them with energy and boosts their determination: "The woodland trees that stand together, They stand to him each one a friend; They gently speak in the windy weather: They guide to valley and ridge's end. The kestrel hovering by days... As keen of ear, as swift of sight." The writer tries to calm the soldier's fear before attack by saying that if this is their last chance to sing, they should sing it well. ...read more.

Conclusion

at last, he died, blown to small bits." The writer aims not to comment on the fearful soldier in a direct and critical way because it might cause arguments and disappointment to many people at that time. In the last sentence,' and no one seemed to care except that lonely woman with white hair' it is very ironic and cruel as we realise that the woman has been misinformed about her son's death in order to protect her feelings. The irony here is that she thinks he has been a brave soldier but in fact he has behaved like a coward. Because of this, at the time of his dead, no one cared about him. The writer's attitude towards war is extraordinary as he was an officer leading soldiers to the front, but he could not bear to lead more men to their deaths. He wrote several splendid poems which all stand against common convictions. The case in the poem is not referring to any particular person at war, but it is pathetically true. This is his aim, to make us realise how ugly and horrible war is. No matter how enthusiastic and courageous the soldier is in the beginning, he would become increasingly frightened at the end by the terror of war. Subrina Ngai 5F 1 ...read more.

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