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How did poets in the early stages of World War 1 seek to glorify war and present war as worthwhile?

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Introduction

Amanda McCarthy How did poets in the early stages of World War 1 seek to glorify war and present war as worthwhile? 'Who's for the game', 'The Soldier', 'In Flanders Field' and 'Rendezvous' are four poems that I feel are apt examples of typical poetry written in World War 1. Poetry throughout this period of time, share similar qualities of which I hope to explore further, one of these qualities is the recurring theme of the glorification of war. The themes of early war poetry tend to same themes that reoccur in most poems. These themes are glory, honour, duty, patriotism and a united front against adversary. All four poems seem initially different, in tone, language, and writing techniques, but all glorify war. I intend to explore how the different writing techniques used in the poems portray the same message, and how their poem glorifies war in its own way. World War 1 was the first major war to affect Britain's people and the urgency of recruitment for the war created influence for many poets who were opinionated about the war; the result was extreme propaganda poetry. Many of these poets later changed their approach to writing due to the tragedies of war, and although the poems are more reflective and respectful, they still promote war as a worthy cause for the understood tragedies. The war also created many poets, soldiers who use poetry as an outlet for their thoughts these poems were usually brutally honest, reflective very emotive. ...read more.

Middle

and is a very unrealistic and misleading point of view on war. 'In Flanders Field' is more of an introspective than propaganda poem respectfully attributing those who have died. Yet, it establishes the conflict and hatred towards Germany; 'Take up the quarrel with the foe' asking people to fight for those who died. This places guilt on the reader and creates more seriousness. It also has a relaxed atmosphere of the dead speaking as if death was a worthy sacrifice, a theme that runs through most early war poetry whether the poems are propaganda, respectful or pensive. The use of language and the form and structure differs from poem to poem but contributes to the overall effect and tone of a poem. 'In Flanders Field' the form of the poem has a constant rhythm and rhyme. Each line has eight syllables apart from the twice repeated line 'In Flanders Field' which has four; this makes this line stand out in contrast to the rhythm of the rest of the poem as this is an important line. There is fluctuating rhyme pattern the main rhyming sounds in this poem are 'O and 'I. This makes the poem flow more and creating a familiarity within the text and establishes links between lines. 'The Soldier' a patriotic thus persuasive pro war poem is also emotive and a tribute to the soldiers. ...read more.

Conclusion

valid to the reader; so the reader responds and is influenced by them. After reading all four poems I have a general idea of the style and motivations of typical early poetry I have come to the conclusion that it is not just the poems itself but the way the writer use writing methods to manipulate the reader into thinking the same way. It is therefore the interpretation that these methods insight that causes the response it does; influencing men to recruit. All four poems were similar in theme, and the motivation to inspire people to enlist by glorifying war or applying a sense of obligation and pressure on their target audience, young men. It is in my opinion that the more abrupt style of poem like 'Who's for the Game?' would have been more influential on the reader at that time as it question the man as a person and is so aggressive it would of been hard to dismiss at the time under the circumstances. In retrospect, it would not be as influential now as people are not as patriotic. Poems with a more emotive tone as 'In Flanders Field' and 'The Soldier' contained propaganda promoting war but as it wasn't very prominent so may of influenced many without them feeling as manipulated as they would with the more extreme poems. The emotion in 'Rendezvous', 'The Soldier' and 'In Flanders Field' made me inclined to feel the emotion also. The glorification of war was revealed by the poem by the overall language, tone, form and structure of the poem. ...read more.

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