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How do poets use different incidents to effect our attitudes to war? "In Flanders Fields", "Who's for the game" and "Futility"

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How do poets use different incidents to effect our attitudes to war? "In Flanders Fields", "Who's for the game" and "Futility" are all poems, which focus on war and are born of war. However, each poem takes a different perspective on war. Each poem portrays an individual attitude to war and each poem was significant during a certain moment of time during the war. For example, "In Flanders Fields" written by John McCrae when he saw the poppies growing at the battle field Passchendahl . "Futility" was about the futility of war by using the example of a dead soldier. "In Flanders Fields" gives a different perspective on war. "In Flanders Fields" was written in 1915, relatively early on in the war, when the death and brutality involved in war had become a reality, but were only beginning to shape people's views dramatically. There is therefore a significant difference in attitude between "The Soldier" and "In Flanders Fields." This is conveyed in part by the poetic form chosen by the poet. The sonnet form used in "The Soldier" is effective in showing a great love for England whereas McRae's pitiful elegy is used to create vivid images of the past, for example, the "sunset" that the dead once saw "glow." ...read more.


The beautiful poppy is also a reminder of this as it is laden with a solemn tragic weight of significance. The climax of "In Flanders Fields" is also solemn. It is the command that requests, "Take up our quarrel with the foe" which gives a cause to fight. The vivid image of a torch being passed down and the dead's request to the next generation "to hold it high" enhances this in an eloquent and sentimental way. The dead then go on to reveal that they "shall not sleep." This gives a sense of life after death but in a troubled way as opposed to Brooke's vision of the spirit or essence of Brooke's soldier living on in the "eternal mind" which Brooke uses to convey the peaceful assurance that there is a life after death. Although the dead also appear to somehow live on, its is as though they are unable to rest because the fight must continue and they are in a state of painfully enforced passivity until the fight is fought which is why they will eternally lie "In Flanders Fields." Radically different to both of these poems is the attitude to war in Wilfred Owen's "Futility." Written in 1918, "Futility" is an elegiac lyric and arguably a monologue of a soldier, commanding his dead comrade to be gently lifted into the sun. ...read more.


This summarises Owen's overall view to war-that it is better not to have been born at all than to have suffered the brutality of war and died in such violent and terrifying way. It is possible to see why Wilfred Owen, John McRae and Jessie Pope all have strikingly different views of war, by looking simply at their individual experiences of it. Jessie Pope had very little experience of war: she never went near McRae, on the other hand was a Canadian doctor who first served as a gunner in Europe and then became a military medical officer. He died of pneumonia in 1918and the fact that "In Flanders Fields" was written in 1915 early in the war perhaps explains why his poetry is more sentimental than that of Owen which is full of anger and bitterness. Owen was the most experienced in war of the three poets discussed which explains the fury present in his poetry. He had first hand experience of the trenches and the front line and he also suffered from shell shock. It is therefore his accounts of the war, which are likely to be most reliable, and although his tone may seem harsh at times, it is Owen's attitude that reflects the actual reality and brutality of war. Mandeep Khatkar 10E ...read more.

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