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Compare the ways Owen and Tynan present the departure of the soldiers for World War 1 in 'The Send-off' and 'Joining the Colours.'

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Introduction

Compare the ways Owen and Tynan present the departure of the soldiers for World War 1 in 'The Send-off' and 'Joining the Colours.' Owen and Tynan present the departure of the soldiers in very different ways and the moods of the two poems contrast dramatically. The mood of 'Joining the Colours' is first evident in the title, Tynan's use of the verb 'joining' suggests that the soldiers felt that they were 'joining' a team and war was just a game. The title 'The Send-off' contrasts with this as it implies that the soldiers were 'sent' to war and they did not have a choice. A 'Send-off' is also a phrase used to describe a funeral, which introduces Owen's message that the soldiers are destined to die. This message of doom continues in the first stanza, when Owen describes the soldiers' expressions using the oxymoron 'grimly gay'. This phrase, strengthened by alliteration, effectively conveys their mixed emotions. They know they're supposed to be displaying patriotic fervour but find it difficult. Owen's poem was written in 1917 when the civilians were already aware of the terror of trench warfare and the kind of fate awaiting them so men were secretly conscripted and the public 'never heard to which front these were sent'. ...read more.

Middle

This contrasts with the soldiers in 'The Send-off'. Because they are older they know that they are really going to war to die but try to put on a brave face for the benefit of others. Both poets employ irony to help get their message across. Tynan uses tragic irony in the phrase 'as to a wedding day' to emphasise her subtle message that the young boys are destined to die, implying that they won't live to see their wedding day. In the third stanza of 'The Send-off' Owen compares the men to secret crimes using the phrase 'like wrongs hushed up', which is ironic as they aren't the criminals, the government are. There is also an irony in the second stanza as the 'dull porters' and the 'casual tramp' that see the soldiers off could not be conscripted so they had the better deal. Owen's soldiers are sent off anonymously, we see evidence of this in Owen's use of the pronoun 'they' to infer the governments lack of compassion. These men are just nameless cannon fodder to them. In contrast Tynan's boys are described as 'smoothed- cheeked and golden' implying that their mothers and girlfriends cherish them. ...read more.

Conclusion

He also employs the verb 'creep' to imply that they will return slowly, sorrowfully and almost shamefully wondering why, when so many of their friends had died, had they survived? Owen ends with the line 'up half-known roads' suggesting that the surviving soldiers may be suffering from shell shock so they may not recognise their home town, or they may be so scarred by war that all is unfamiliar. Both poems have a regular rhyme scheme to create a marching rhythm 'Joining the Colours' is the more upbeat of the two as its overall mood is more joyful. The rhyme scheme's regularity also gives the impression of inevitability, stressing the fact that the soldiers are doomed and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Both poems also have particularly short stanzas which may symbolize the soldiers' brief lives. 'The Send-off', in my view seems to possess authority and conviction because Owen himself fought and died in World War One. In contrast to this Joining the Colours' is written from a female perspective, which is unusual for a war poem. This explains the more joyful mood of 'Joining the Colours' as Tynan was less aware of the realities of war. The soldiers in 'Joining the Colours' are Irish and so would have known much less about the war, this justifies the innocent naivety of the boys. Clare Cannon 12/02/03 ...read more.

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