Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5

The poem, "The Horses" by "Edwin Muir" is mainly about the effects of nuclear war and the adaptability mankind needs to survive them.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Critical Response The poem, "The Horses" by "Edwin Muir" is mainly about the effects of nuclear war and the adaptability mankind needs to survive them. In this essay, I will write about the effective features the poem contains. These include structure, imagery, rhyme, rhythm and word order. I thought this was a great poem and these features help me come to that conclusion and make the poem worth reading. First of all, I'll look at and explain the structure of certain parts of the poem. Here is an interesting example of unusual line structure in this poem: 'The radios failed; we turned the knobs; no answer.' In this line, semi-colons break up the three separate parts. This conveys the panic and tension of the distraught survivors as they fumble hopelessly to receive a signal. The semi-colons indicate suspense as they try to do something to help themselves. Also, looking at the poem as a whole, the structure is unusual for that of a poem. It is written as a story, with no regular scheme of structure, almost as one big paragraph.

Middle

Likewise, there is no repetitive rhythm in the poem or anything to suggest that it is a poem, other than that it is set out in lines and blank verses. This makes it more interesting to read and breaks it up into each point. This, in turn, makes it less boring. There are also a couple of examples of unusual word order in the poem, which make it worth reading. Here they are: 'If on the stroke of noon, a voice should speak.' This line contains unusual word order. I think it is written like this to emphasise the IF and STROKE OF NOON. This is to tell us that the radios are not likely to come back on so it is if and not when a voice speaks. Another example of this is in the line: 'Late in the summer, the strange horses came.' Yet again, this is an example of unusual word order. I think it has been written in this way to put emphasis on LATE IN THE SUMMER. I think that is to tell us that it is quite late on in the survivors struggle when the horses finally arrived to their rescue.

Conclusion

This is a very moving gesture and the metaphor 'pierce our hearts' shows the survivors' extreme gratitude. It does not mean that their hearts are literally being pierced, but it is so moving that it has a dramatic affect on the hearts of the survivors. Although they are using the horses for labour, they still admire them for giving of themselves to help humans. I enjoyed this poem because the language used in it helps you to understand it by forming a picture in your head. Instead of having to think hard about the meaning, it sort of jumps out at you. The poet is very euphemistic in the way he describes the war, as I mentioned earlier. He explains clearly what the survivors had to do to go on without modern conveniences. Their radios had broken and tractors were useless without fuel. They had to turn to horses once again to plough their fields. This shows that no matter how much we advance, we will always need horses (or something from the natural world) at some point to survive. All these things come together to make this poem one which is enjoyable to read and also to write about. Damien Hendry 3H

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

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

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Analysis of a poem- 'Horses' by Edwin Muir It is said that one should ...

    "Their hooves like pistons in an ancient mill" This line brings up another issue which is plaguing the third world as we know it. In the same verse he refers to a "childish hour" in which he also compares the horses' hooves to pistons in an ancient mill.

  2. The Horses - Edwin Muir

    peace and calmness, which are factors they feel they need at this point of time in their lives. It is generally considered that good writing avoids repetition. Though because of the poetic license given to the poet, he is allowed to repeatedly emphasize the silence in order to create an effect.

  1. The Horses - Edwin Muir

    It is evident that the break in passage indicates the change between a solemn, remorseful, regretful tone - to that of a more optimistic outlook with the arrival of the horses. The horses have opened a new chapter, a time for optimism and hope: "Our life has changed; their coming

  2. Stimulus and Response analysis: Dramatic and Literary depictions of war

    Choosing to set it when the son went off for war aloud us to not only show the relationship between the father and the son but the reaction of the rest of the family. Task 2 After performing our short improvisation to the class we were asked to go home

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.