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Referring to at Least Three Poems, Describe How the World War 1 Poets Challenged the Way Society Regarded War.

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Introduction

Referring to at Least Three Poems, Describe How the World War 1 Poets Challenged the Way Society Regarded War. War and the idea of war had, throughout history, been associated with honour and heroism. Before World War 1, war poetry had reflected the opinion that all soldiers were to be honoured as heroes, regardless of the role that they played during the war. Soldiers were treated as celebrities are today. They were idolised. War continued to be glorified until World War 1 was set into motion. At the beginning of the war, these older style poems which depicted soldiers as heroes were released as propaganda to recruit as many soldiers as possible. But as the war dragged on and more eyewitnesses began to write home and tell of their horrific experiences in the trenches, the true picture of war became clear. Those first poems were as true as black is white. The real story was being brought back first-hand from the trenches in the form of poetry. One such poem that changed the public's view on war was Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, which seems to be an elegy. It forces the reader to reflect on its 14 lines, which etch themselves upon the readers memory. A few sparsely scattered archaic terms, "And bugles calling for them from sad shires," force the reader to think back to the wars of old, where heroism was rife, and compare them to the horrors of this modern war, where all who enter into its squalid depths are doomed. The poem is very emotive, and these archaic terms also help to draw out the sad, mournful tones from within the poem. ...read more.

Middle

Every other line is a rhyming couplet, which gives the poem a very upbeat and appealing rhythm. The tone seems urgent, trying to encourage soldiers to join the war effort as soon as possible. Who's for the Game? Is similar to other war poems of that era in the fact that it does contain an element of the truth, "who would much rather come back with a crutch", but this truth does not display the true picture of war to any extent. Other poems of the time depicted World War 1 much more enigmatically, using many more adjectives to effectively show an accurate picture of war. Jesse Pope uses a lot of patriotism in Who's for the Game? "Who'll give his country a hand?" which makes me think that the poem was used as propaganda to attract new soldiers to the Army. "Game" is used as a metaphor for war. Jesse Pope depicts the whole concept of war as an exciting game, with lots of fighting, and the opportunity to 'show-off' medals and winnings at the end of it all. The poem appeals to a man's macho pride. The last line of every stanza is a rhetorical question, which, if answered positively, shows a want not to go to war and fight. "And who wants a seat in the stand?" The satirical wording forces the reader to feel as though they are a coward if they decline to go to war. Male pride is a very sensitive area, and Jesse Pope has succeeded in exploiting it powerfully in this poem. The poem is written using very colloquial language, such as "lads" which is a very informal term, and reflects the informality of the entire poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mackintosh's. It was written third hand, and he based all of his facts on a newspaper article, which would have been biased in favour of the soldiers being portrayed as heroes, whereas the stark poems of World War 1 were written from the first-hand experiences of the poets. There were many similarities between The Charge of the Light Brigade and the eyewitness poems of the First World War. The situations were very similar. High-ranking officers blundered and sent young soldiers to their deaths, yet in Tennyson's poem they survived to be known as heroes. During World War 1 most of them were subjected to a very gruesome death as a direct result of these blunders. All poems told the truth of the actual warfare, yet only the firsthand poems of World War 1 told the truth about the soldiers, their situations, and the horrific ways in which they were treated and killed. Therefore, to summarise, I think that the World War 1 poets challenged the way that society regarded war by alerting them to the truth about how soldiers were treated. They also helped to clarify what actually went on during warfare, and the horrific conditions became public knowledge. Young soldiers-to-be now had a basis for comparison to the heroic poems and propaganda of the past, and had excuses to refuse the call-up. Blunders of the generals, and the way in which they were awarded such a high ranking also came to light, and this prompted a change in the way that such posts were awarded. Society now knew how their men were dying, and the myths that were being told to them of heroes deaths were disproved. This angered some people but the poets told the truth, a truth which society had a right to know. By Lisa Nightingale ...read more.

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