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In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, and Suicide In The Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon, Compare and contrast the different attitudes to war expressed by the poets and the techniques used to convey them."

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Introduction

English Coursework Poetry "Select two of the poems you have studied. Compare and contrast the different attitudes to war expressed by the poets and the techniques used to convey them." The two poems, which I have chosen, are, "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, and "Suicide in the Trenches" by Siegfried Sassoon. The poems take opposing views to the war. "In Flanders Fields" we find McCrae taking a positive, almost religious and very sensitive view about the outcome of war. Whilst in comparison, in "Suicide in the Trenches", Sassoon portrays a negative, harsh, cynical and angry view. "In Flanders Fields" McCrae writes about his views on what happens after dying in war. It is a very personal poem, emphasised by being written using the personal pronouns; "we and our", rather than impersonal; "them and their". This involves the reader by in a way, including them in the poem. The poem also imparts a strong feeling of patriotism. McCrae uses controlled, everyday language in the poem. The rhyme is steady, and flows smoothly, which draws you into the poem, and that's what makes me like it. "Between the crosses, row on row" McCrae uses a lot of repetition. He talks of the crosses on the graves, making sure you realise that there are lots of graves, and how the poppies grow in between. ...read more.

Middle

Yet he almost invents this with what is almost a threat, contrasting life and death, right and wrong. For example, "If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep", I think that McCrae's attitude towards war is brave. He has hope, and thinks that you should fight for your country as your comrades have done before you. Agree with your country, and keep going till it's over. It's a soldier's duty to die for his country. It should be worthwhile. The poem is patriotic, and has a strong sense of purpose, but it's sad, and yet dignified. "Suicide in the Trenches" is a totally different poem. Its verses are simple, they have a strong beat, the lines are rhythmical, and have regular rhyming. The poem was written in 1918, in the First World War, so Sassoon is writing about his experiences. It starts off with the phrase "simple solider", using alliteration. The soldier is young, innocent, too young to be fighting, but it seems a pleasant poem. "Who grinned at life in empty joy, means that the soldier is easily pleased, undemanding, glad with life. When it was dark, and lonesome, the soldier slept through it, happily, he was untroubled, and had nothing to worry about. He got up at the crack of dawn, as the lark does. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Kindling eye" is a way of pointing out their excitement, getting a fire going, that they are lit up with enthusiasm for war, which they wont fight. The people are hiding away from what the soldiers have to do. War is hell. War has taken away all the soldier's youth and laughter goes. There is no laughter in war. The men don't get to live their youth, and have to fight, and kill. The two poems are therefore totally different, but they have the same structure. The both have three stanzas, and have generally got a steady beat throughout. They have opposite meanings. They both start off pleasant, and "Flanders Fields" stays that way, it is sad but with a positive outlook on the way. But Sassoon's "Suicide in the trenches" changes abruptly and becomes very negative. They both talk about death, but in totally opposite ways, "In Flanders Fields" says it is worth dying for your country, and what you believe in. But on the other hand, "Suicide in the Trenches" says it isn't worth going through the hell of war, and losing your life for nothing. They are both very personal poems, even though Sassoon's becomes less personal towards the end. Both the poets have lived through war, and both the poems were written in the same year, during WW1. Both the poems have simple, easy to understand, everyday language. Davina West L5P 4 Poetry Coursework ...read more.

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