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POETRY OF WORLD WAR 1 - THE GREAT WAR

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Introduction

Emma Richmond 10 P M POETRY OF WORLD WAR 1 - THE GREAT WAR ".......Above all I am not concerned with poetry. My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." -Wilfred Owen. The First World War, or The Great War, was fought over the period August 1914 to November 1918. Although this was fought in many locations, and on a number of continents, the Western Front was the scene of some of the most important and bloodiest battles of the War. The Western Front was a series of trenches running through Belgium and France that formed the front line between the Allied and German forces. Many of the WW1 poets saw action on the Western Front. The War was dehumanising and it brought home how quickly and easily mankind could be reduced to a state lower than animals. The First World War, with its mass volunteers and conscription of educated, non-professional soldiers, saw the appearance of a new phenomenon - the soldier-poet. For the first time, war poetry appeared designed to educate its audience to the horrors of war. The First World War provides a unique moment in the twentieth-century in which literate soldiers, plunged into inhuman conditions, reacted to their surroundings by writing poetry. In fact, as subsequent years have proved, those poems have gone on to give a vision of this historical event to the public which otherwise would probably have gone unknown since it was a period of time when there was no reporting as we know it, in terms of front line war correspondents for newspapers, radio or television. ...read more.

Middle

He describes the moment a soldier has been gassed. The use of the words 'guttering', 'choking', and 'drowning' show exactly what the man is suffering. The fact that the gassed man was 'flung' into the wagon reveals the urgency to continue on with fighting. The only thing they can do is toss him into a wagon and carry on. Still he relates that with every jolt you could hear 'the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs'. The graphic images displayed here are dramatic and would be hard to forget for anyone reading an account of them. In Latin, the phrase 'Dulce et decorum est pro partria mori' means: 'It is sweet and becoming to die for one's country.' Owen calls this a lie by using his skill with words to convey graphic images to have the reader feel disgusted at what war is capable of. This poem is very effective as an anti-war poem, making war seem horrific, just as the author presumably wanted it to. The Soldier vs Dulce et Decorum Est These two poems are as different as they could be. The Soldier is almost pro- war and would tend towards encouraging men to sign up and fight for their country and rejoice in the honour and glory of war. It is essentially a call to arms. Dulce et Decorum Est is painting the most graphic picture of the horrors of war and is inviting the reader to feel disgust at what the soldiers are going through and to feel pity for them. It is almost angry in its tone and at the very end the latin words used are turned around to urge those reading it not to believe in them and so it is in essence an anti-war poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

She dwells repeatedly on this loss by the use of these phrases 'although bereft of you', 'though you have passed away', 'although you are not there' and the ultimate statement which is clearly true, 'Again, because my heart for loss of you was broken, long ago.' This is a post-war poem which no doubt touched the hearts of many who had lost sons, husbands and fathers. The Soldier vs. Dulce et Decorum Est vs. In Flanders Field vs. Perhaps Perhaps sits very comfortably at the end of these 4 poems as a testimony to the aftermath of War and those who are left behind to deal with the emotions of loss and to try to understand what it was all about. It is neither pro or anti War because it only addresses the poet's feelings of personal loss. It has similarities in tone to both The Soldier and In Flanders Fields because of its romantic nature. It is not at all alike Dulce et Decorum Est since that is purely relating to the horrors of War and Vera Brittain doesn't directly discuss the issue of war in her poem at all and unless the reader knew she had lost someone in WW1 she might have been writing about the loss of anyone close to her who had died under any circumstance. My Favourite Poem I prefer Perhaps of all the poems because it is beautifully written and is very touching. When I read the poem for the first time I was genuinely affected by what she said and the way she said it. I could see the imagery in her words and feel her pain at the loss of her fianc´┐Że. It is a sad poem but the words themselves are very beautiful. ...read more.

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