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Contrast the poetry at the beginning of the First World War with that produced by the later soldier poets

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Contrast the poetry at the beginning of the First World War with that produced by the later soldier poets As tension between Britain and Germany grew, Britain was generally for the idea of a war. This was mainly ignorance. For a long time Britain had gone without having to fight in a war, and therefore the public hadn't faced any recent experiences of high casualties or the true realities that war held. Many people nowadays see the Edwardian era to be very glamorous, but to the people of the time it was stuffy and dull and also shameful with its strikes, suffragette riots, and its extremes of wealth and poverty. War seemed like a glorious adventure. Enthusiasm gathered. Patriotism soon flooded the country, a flood that was utterly inescapable throughout Britain. The government plastered moral boosting posters throughout streets adding to the upbeat tempo that the war was giving everyone. The newspaper's also took full advantage of this and filled pages with patriotic poems, pictures and like-wise. Hundreds of thousands volunteered. Many were young men that had never seen the effects of war, and had been swept away in the moment. So many men enlisted in a mood of optimistic exhilaration, assuming the war would be both gallant, and heroic whilst making better men of those who fought. ...read more.


These men had actual experience of war and made their feelings known. Siegfried Sassoon was a gallant officer who had won the Military Cross for his courageousness, though he was among the first to have his say on what he really thought of war. In the poem "Suicide in the Trenches", Sassoon tells us of the appalling conditions faced in the war, it says- "With crumps and lice and lack of rum" By, using the word 'and' twice, Sassoon makes it seem that these negative aspects are like a list that is never ending, and very monotonous. The "l's" at the beginning of the words help to portray the monotonous list of negative aspects, as they roll off the tongue well. Wilfred Owen was someone else who made his opinion of war well known through his poems, "Dulce et Decorum est..." also gives us an idea of the difficulties faced at war, It says- "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." Sassoon here is telling us what it is like to have someone you know or have been working with die in front of you. Here he tells of someone who could do nothing about the death of a fellow soldier yet dreams of the events again and again. Sassoon uses the word 'plunges', he puts this word into the present tense as it is something that still happens to him, even after the war. ...read more.


The first lines are what Begbie, for a long time, preached about in his poems, although these second lines show that he has opened up his eyes and can now see the full, bloody, picture which is war. The last line is the one that has most impact on the reader though, it says- "Then go wash the blood off and try face your child." This is now involving the innocence of children. By saying 'wash the blood off' he is literally calling those who go to war murderers, and therefore how can murderers go home and face their children. The views and poems that I find most convincing are those that are hard hitting and make clear the reality of war and don't try to hide behind an idyllic view. A poem like this is "Dulce et Decorum est...", this pays attention to a few minor impediments that you have to take on being a soldier in the war, and magnifies it to the scale it is to actually face them as a soldier. Owen takes parts of their daily routine, like walking to the dug-out and describes it the way it is without adding any nobleness which it had often been often described to be like. As these are just few of the many difficulties soldiers faced, we empathise with the soldiers as we realise that there are many more problems just like these that the soldiers will face. Nirmal Jethwa English Coursework Mr. Boyce 10 C ...read more.

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