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In 'Of the Great White War' and 'Base Details,' the poets write about age and youth in times of war. Explore the feelings that the poets express and the ways in which they communicate these feelings to you.

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Introduction

In 'Of the Great White War' and 'Base Details,' the poets write about age and youth in times of war. Explore the feelings that the poets express and the ways in which they communicate these feelings to you. To answer the question above, I first have to get a vague idea of what both poems are about. It is obvious to see that both poems are about war and explore issues of youth and the aged. In my opinion both poems are anti-war and are against youth being sent to fight, and the way that the youth of England was abused by older or more powerful people to keep themselves safe and that is what I will be trying to explore, among other things, in this essay. I will analyse both of the poems individually as well as making comparisons throughout, as well as some final comparisons and a summary of the points in the conclusion. I will start with 'Of the Great White War'. In the poem the writer expresses his hypocrisy of the older generation. Examples are throughout but one is shown on line nine of the poem '(the aged) mouthed fair phrases one upon the other upon the supreme sacrifice'. That line alone has many examples of hypocrisy and half-truths. The use of 'Mouthed' as a description of how the aged talked about the war and the death of young men is designed by the writer to give the impression of falseness and lies. ...read more.

Middle

Describing the talking of the aged as 'crying' immediately makes it sound irritating and whiny, something that would annoy. His use of 'In public places' shows that he felt that they should be inside, not preaching their patriotic nonsense where it would irritate others. He also uses strong medieval words such as 'honour' and 'chivalry' which brings up mental images of knights and castles, not trenches and gas attacks which yet again shows the lies of the aged and how patriotism has nothing to do with the war. Burke also uses 'duty' in a sarcastic tone to suggest how the old influenced to young using patriotism to get the young to go and die so they could live, not the other way round. Next I will focus on 'Base Details' by Siegfried Sassoon. This poem, like 'Of the Great White War,' also challenges hypocrisy of people, but not the aged as in the other poem but of the majors and the army as a whole. Examples of this are on lines one and two of the poem 'If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath, / I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base.' First, like Burke did at the beginning of his poem, Sassoon uses the first person to give us his views and writes 'if I were' to detach himself from the hypocrisy of the army. ...read more.

Conclusion

He uses sarcasm by describing the official army list of people killed in action as the 'roll of honour', yet again furthering the suspicion that Sassoon disliked the way the dead were treated as heroes. In conclusion, you can see both poets hold bitterness towards the way the war was handled by command. Both Sassoon and Burke despised the hypocrisy of the people in command of the youth of Britain, with Burke disliking the 'aged' as he called them, and Sassoon disliking the high-ranking officers. Both had a strong anger at war, but Burke more so at the fact the young were sent to die instead of the old. Burke was more forward with his point of view and openly displayed what he felt, but Sassoon used subtler ways of showing what he felt, using sarcasm and humour to ridicule what he was opposed to. Finally both poets had strong negative views on the term of Patriotism and unusually for Burke, both showed it by treating it as a joke and using sarcasm to hide their anger. Both poets must have realised they would have to disguise their views into a poem to be able to share them with the world. They have reached more people using poetry then they could ever have done any other way, and I think they must have realised this. Although I do not agree with certain views of the poets, the way they communicate them is incredible. ...read more.

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