• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examining the images of 'the fighting man' as portrayed by the poets, Winifred Letts and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Extracts from this document...


In this piece of coursework, I will be examining the images of 'the fighting man' as portrayed by the poets, Winifred Letts and Alfred Lord Tennyson who I have been studying. The two poems I have analysed are "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson and "The Deserter" by Winifred Mary Letts. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" was written pre 1900. "The Deserter" was written post 1900. There are many differences between the two poems especially the way the writers portrayed war and soldiers' reaction to war. "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson is a poem that was written during the Crimean War in November 1854. The war started when Britain and France confronted Russia over their claim to lands in Turkey. The Allied army landed in Crimea to oppose Russia. The Russians then attacked the British base at Balaclava. The devastating charge of the light brigade occurred on a November morning at Balaclava at the Black Sea area of Russia known as Crimea. The British cavalry commander was the Earl of Cardigan, whose misunderstanding of his orders led to the suicidal charge of the light brigade. Six hundred British cavalry men took part in the charge and each soldier was on horseback with only one weapon. This weapon was a sabre which is a curved sword. The courageous six hundred rode straight down a valley without questioning orders or even thinking about what they were told to do. ...read more.


The use of alliteration make the attack significant and memorable. He finishes the stanza by telling us that they rode back, repeating the work "not" to emphasis that many had lost their lives. The first four lines of Stanza 5 are a repetition of Stanza 3, when the poet was describing how the cavalry were attacked as they rode gallantly into the valley. They are now retreating. There is a rhythm of marching "right", "left". The poet also shows pity for the soldiers as well as admiration. In the last two lines of this Stanza, repetition of the "left" gives and idea of the amount of men killed. "All that was left of them". In the final verse, there are six lines which gives the idea of one line for every one hundred cavalrymen. The poet speaks directly to us, he questions us and clearly demands that we should never forget the bravery of the Light Brigade. Words such as "Honour" and Noble" shows the importance of the battle. Tennyson commands that they never be forgotten. "|Honour the charge they made!!". To further remind us of the number of soldiers who died, Tennyson wrote this poem in six verses - one verse for every one hundred soldiers who lost their lives. I feel this poem, while pointing out the bravery of the soldiers reminds us constantly of the stupidity and foolishness of war. The poem assures us that the commander's error, which led to the death of these brave men should never be forgotten. ...read more.


Most of them are vulnerable human beings. I feel the second poem is a much better example of war poetry because it is much easier to understand that the soldiers were horrified of death and are therefore not portrayed as supermen. The first poem portrays the men as "fighting men". The writer does not do this in the second poem. The two poems have some similarities as there were mistakes made by people in each one. In the first poem the commander made a very serious error, which led to hundreds of soldiers dying. Even though he made this slip up, he was not shot. I feel he did not get punished because he was a commander. In the second poem, when the young soldier was confronted by the enemy he showed a natural reaction of fear causing him to desert his post. In this instance he was shot as a deserter. I feel that because he was just an ordinary soldier he was considered unimportant and disposable. He was shot as an example to other soldiers who may have been considering desertion. These two poems confirm how war is senseless, unnecessary, cruel and pointless. It is obvious from the two poems that the experience of going to war and being able to see at first hand the grim reality of war has led to poets becoming more realistic in their portrayal of 'the fighting man'. No longer is he automatically assumed to be heroic but rather a more true to life picture is portrayed showing the fear and mistakes along with the bravery of the soldiers. Reading these poems has confirmed my belief that war is futile. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Show how Winifred M. Letts in

    3 star(s)

    She repeats the phrase, "An English bullet in his heart!" Twice, this adds to the drama of the moment because you read it twice, it also builds up the momentum and emphases that he was not shot by one of the German's bullets, but by one of his own English bullets.

  2. How is the character Carlo portrayed by Louis de Bernières in Captain Corelli's Mandolin?

    It shows how Carlo can not comprehend how a man can be so weak that he will not act morally. It is ironic that Carlo's final statement is so true of how the German's will later be treated; they never will be truly forgiven.

  1. What difference did the experience of fighting in the First World War make to ...

    The poem has a rapid rhythm and uses repeats of words such as 'death' and 'hell' to emphasis the turmoil of the soldiers. This poem also has the idea of a glorified death 'Valley of Death' promoting the idea of a horrific blood bath.

  2. Coursework - Rhymney Valley.

    Members of this club ranged from 12 years onwards. Lewis boys also trained all boys to fight. The evidence is useful in showing preparation for a prolonged war but does not give any other information about the training and preparation of adults.

  1. In the wars, Robert Rose is a very significant character.

    Ross decides he will to be the one who would take the responsibility of killing the rabbits. Mrs. Ross' decision to burden Robert with this inhuman act and furthermore, his failure to do so, leads to the most revealing monologue relevant to their relationship. 'You think Rowena belonged to you.

  2. I will be comparing the attitudes of two major and influential poets and considering ...

    To his contemporary audience, hell would be a real place, many of the readers of the time still being religious, so they would picture the World War One battlefields as being the worst place imaginable. The use of rhetorical questioning is thought provoking in the last line when he asks: "What greater glory could a man desire?"

  1. Poetry after 1900

    I am a soldier, convinced that I am acting on behalf of soldiers. I believe that this War, on which I entered as a war of defence and liberation, has now become a war of aggression and conquest. I believe that the purpose for which I and my fellow soldiers

  2. Show how the anti-war poetry by Wilfred Owen dispels the myth of triumph and ...

    is an ironic title, its intention is not so much to induce pity as to shock, especially the civilians sitting at home who hold on strongly to the traditional beliefs that war is noble and glorious. Beliefs such as these were common in war poetry and world war one was

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work