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Comparing "The Charge of The Light Brigade", "War" and "A Wife in London".

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English Poetry Coursework By Vanessa Clarke Select three poems from the selection, which are concerned with different aspects of war. Write about and compare the poems in respect of the following: * The views of war that the poets are expressing * The tones and atmospheres of the poems * The ways in which language and rhythm are used to reinforce the poets' themes and viewpoints * Any other factors considered important. The three poems that I have chosen are: "The Charge of The Light Brigade", "War" and "A Wife in London". I chose each of them for different reasons, but mainly because they each look at very different aspects of the war and the poets all have completely different attitudes to war. "The Charge of The Light Brigade" is an exultant poem, concerned with the glorified aspect of war, that all men are heroes, brave and courageous for fighting for their country. It is about a suicidal, yet heroic battle fought by the British Cavalry in 1854. A mistaken command received by a superior sent, unquestioning, 600 horsemen charging into the head of a valley bristling with artillery and nearly all of them 'fell'. "War" is set 'behind the scene' and concerns itself with the people who dealt with the consequences of war - the doctors and orderlies. It is a moving poem and shows the reader how bad conditions were in South Africa. It is about the dedication of people to try and save the "Case" (patients) ...read more.


In the second half of the first verse, the rhythm increases when the messenger's "knock cracks smartly" giving the reader the impression of the wife's heart beating faster as she receives news. The other two poems each have different rhythms, "The Charge of The Light Brigade" seeming to canter along like the beat of the horses hooves charging into battle and "War" being more complex. "The Charge of The Light Brigade" 's rhythm does change once, when the soldiers retreat and "Then they rode back, but not/Not the six hundred", it slows down using repetition and adds a wonderful, deep sadness to the powerful poem. In "War", when the scene changes in line 8/9, where the orderly, doctor and "Case" enter the tent, the rhythm changes slightly too. Wallace uses an iambic foot followed by two anapaestic feet, which, very suitably - in the setting, create a tense atmosphere of panic. "War" is the only poem that uses anapaests, which gives the poem a somewhat different feel to the other poems. The rhythm in it creates the chaos of the medical tent, the need to act quickly under pressure and the desperateness of the situation that they are in. Powerful language is used throughout the poem and there are many different parts which appeal to the readers' different senses. There is repetition used several times, "And it's War!" which really hammers in the fact that these people are clearing up the mess that some other human being made, normal people picking up the pieces of the consequences of politicians actions, people who are not going to fight's actions. ...read more.


There's no sadness in "War" when the "limp, mangled work of a gun" dies, just a pang of regret in the doctor's heart and "Orderly, clean this knife", he obviously has to get ready for the next "Case". Oh yes, it's "hard for his child, rough on his wife...But it's War!" and we better get ready for the next one. In this poem there appears to be a moral in the last line at the end of each of the three verses. They each describe what's happening in the tent and during the "War!" - "the part that is not for show", "a very unhealthy trade" and "Orderly, clean this knife!". These each have a way of opening a window into this little part of the war and gives us an understanding of how horrible it is, with the never-ending stream of casualties and reports back home in newspapers that are not allowed to show anything against war ("the part that is not for show"). Each of the three poems, haunts the reader after a reading or two, whether for good or for bad. They have made sure that I, as a reader, am totally against war, no matter how good the reasons are or how much glory it is given as in "The Charge of The Light Brigade". I am against the waiting and mourning for those left behind as in "A Wife in London". Moreover, I am most definitely against the loss of fathers, sons, brothers and husbands. 1 ...read more.

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