• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The First World War changed the way that people thought about war and patriotism. Analyse and compare the portrayal of war in poems by Sassoon, Owen and Brooke and explore the different attitudes shown towards war by these three poets.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

First World War The First World War changed the way that people thought about war and patriotism. Analyse and compare the portrayal of war in poems by Sassoon, Owen and Brooke and explore the different attitudes shown towards war by these three poets. The First World War or the Great War exploded in 1914. It lasted for four long years ending in 1918. The war began in the Balkans with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne. After the death of their future leader, Austria demanded compensation from Serbia and the right to send troops there. Serbia refused and so Austria attacked. Many nations took sides and so began a complicated chain of events which led to The Great War. On the 4th of August 1914 Britain declared war on Germany. The battle was not only fought on foreign ground but also on the home front. British men and women were encouraged to fight for king and country and traditionally, at the earlier stages of the war, people believed that it was honourable to die in duty. As the war progressed, the Government found it harder to find willing men to enlist and so they introduced propaganda. This was a cunning tactic used by the British powers to persuade and boost the dwindling number of men volunteering to join up. Posters, radio programmes and newspaper articles portrayed an image of victory or brought guilt upon men who were not signing up. Many women were influenced by this and so put pressure upon their loved ones to be courageous. Newspapers only told stories of success, keeping Britain's morale high. Images of victorious celebrations were a far cry from the horrific truth. The reality was that their men were being sent to live and fight in abysmal conditions. British men were shocked by what they found when they reached enemy lines and this made life even harder to endure. ...read more.

Middle

The men discover the gas and then it is almost as if the realisation only hits them a second later. They then shout the word a second time as they have woken from their 'fake sleep' to warn each other and then they have to put their gas masks on quickly. The men fumble as the helmets are clumsy and heavy and the men are in a panic. One of the soldiers did not manage to put his helmet on in time and so the gas begins to kill him. Owen describes his horror as he watches the desperation of the dying man. The following simile creates an image of the man struggling to move or to stay upright and compares the gas to fire or lime. "And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. . . ." Owen is disturbed as he sees him drowning in the deadly gas. He then takes the metaphor one step further and describes the soldier as drowning 'under a green sea,' due to the green colouring of the gas. The following two lines of the poem are then separated from the rest as the poet relives the sight of the helpless man in his dreams. He pictures this image and this is a stark reminder that he wasn't able to assist him and watched him die. In the final stanza, the tone changes once again and the reader is asked to imagine how it would feel to pace behind the wagon that the dying man was 'flung' in. Owen also uses the semantic field of the senses, as he did in the first stanza, as he asks the reader to; watch the rolling eyes of the man; hear the froth come gargling from his lungs; and also uses taste as he uses the words 'tongue' and 'bitter.' As the poem comes to a close, Owen changes the tone for the last time as he directs the poem to the reader. ...read more.

Conclusion

He detailed how the soldiers felt, what they saw and the physical effects that the war had on them. Owen used this tactic of graphic description to shock his readers. His poems were often long and detailed. Siegfried Sassoon also held negative thoughts about the war however his strategy was to show how the men in charge were incompetent and unable to lead. His poems were sarcastic and showed his hatred towards the generals and the majors. He wrote his poems in a short, direct style. Rupert Brooke's views were very different to Owen and Sassoon's. His poems were patriotic and he tried to encourage men to go to war. Brooke felt that it was an honour to die for England and that he would be remembered forever if he was killed fighting for his country. Brooke used imagery to describe the love he felt for his country. The poems studied have demonstrated different attitudes to war. The poets wrote their pieces during the same period and the theme was the same (war) however, their views and attitudes were very different. Each poet has a powerful effect on the reader as their poems have a persuasive influence. Owen wanted the reader to empathise with the soldiers, Sassoon wanted the reader to hate the men in authority and Brooke wanted the reader to feel proud to be English. Today, these poems are used across the country to enable young people to understand the atrocities of war. They are viewed as an essential tool to educate people to comprehend the consequences if there was ever to be another war. They show different attitudes in order to give a variety of views and to provide as honest a picture as possible. They also enable people to remember the war so that hopefully any further wars can be prevented in the future. Owen, Sassoon and Brooke are invaluable assets to English history as the have provided detailed accounts of a life that we will hopefully never need to encounter again but need to be reminded of in order to avoid its repetition. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Wilfred Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth and Siegfried Sassoon's Attack - Explore the ways ...

    4 star(s)

    And 'glowering', which suggests that the sun is not just shining but nearly frowning. This personification characterises the battlefield as being evil and dangerous. An even better example of this would be line 4 - 'the menacing scarred slope'. The personification of the scarred slope makes the phrase more vivid.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    The causes of world war one

    4 star(s)

    Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries for them from prayers or bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

  1. Changing Attitudes towards the First World War.

    The British soldiers were told to walk across no-mans land without running and enter the German trenches , this shouldn't have been a problem for the soldiers because the heavy shelling should have killed the Germans but when they got on no mans land the Germans were waiting for the

  2. World War I - "The First World War was the first modern war."

    Particularly the initially offensive machine gun had been transformed into a weapon of "superior defensive warfare technology." The machine gun was of such high calibre that it could shoot from a great distance and at such a high fire rate, it proved ultra deadly to attacking soldiers.

  1. War poetry - different poets attitudes to war.

    He was born into a very poor family. They were Russian Jewish immigrants living in the East End of London. Rosenberg first wanted to be a painter, but in his mid-20s he decided he was better suited to poetry. At first he paid for his first poems to be published.

  2. In Flanders Fields by John McCrae, and Suicide In The Trenches by Siegfried Sassoon, ...

    It is very abrupt, and comes out of the blue. "No one spoke of him again." All his fellow soldiers are ashamed of what he did to himself. He left them, and didn't have to courage to go on. It was a shameful, and easy way out.

  1. Compare the war poetry of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon - Include an analysis ...

    He uses word 'peace' to express that he is at rest. The words 'English heaven' means that ware ever you die you will go to an English heaven. In 1917 Siegfried Sassoon thought that the government was dragging the war on.

  2. Compare and Contrast, The shock and horror presented in the three war poems - ...

    lose us in the mud, and also sometimes, boots would simply start to wear out, until they completely fell apart, leaving some to walk in bare foot, this is so shocking because it wasn't our fault, it felt as if it was a act from God.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work