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'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke is not a war poem which stresses the hideousness of the war.

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Introduction

Kaan Kalipci POETIC COMMENTARY ON 'THE SOLDIER' by RUPERT BROOKE Even though seems like one, 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke is not a war poem which stresses the hideousness of the war. Instead it is a patriotic poem, written on the way to the battle, which is a time when patriotism usually reaches the peak. The speaker, presumably the soldier, shows his eternal love to England, by personifying it as this protective, caring mother like figure. Throughout the sonnet the extended metaphor of England as a mother develops, and it helps Brooke to show his love and patriotism evidently. Definite article of 'The' in the title "The Soldier" shows us that the poem will be about a specific soldier, and it deceives the readers by making them think it is a war poem. The first line gives us much information about the sonnet and the narrator, as it clarifies the question marks created by the title; 'If I should die, think only this of me' 'I' and 'me' show that the reader is the soldier. In addition to that, it also shows that the speaker is alive and he is about to make his last wish. In the following two lines, the 'forever' love for England is introduced for the first time. ...read more.

Middle

'Washed by the rivers' and 'blest by suns' are strongly religious ideas. Washed and blest represent Christian baptism. Furthermore, 'air', 'sun' and 'river' represent the fundamental needs of life as well as being religious allusions. They are all granted to the speaker by England. The continuing personification of England, is linked to the extended metaphor hence helps the poet build up the mother like figure he created. Furthermore the poet draws this idyllic picture of England by using superior and pleasant words such as 'rich', 'river', and 'blest'. The previous repetition of England and its belongings such as 'body of England's' and 'English air' also help the poet illustrate the idealistic picture. In the sestet, there are no negative words; instead it is filled with positive and warm words. There are no war images at all. It focuses on the glory and honor of dying for one's country; therefore it is optimistic about dying in a battle, while fighting for your country. The sestet commences with the word 'And' which reinforces the idea in the first line of the octet. The phrase 'And think' gives the idea that he is trying to convince the reader that what he believes in, which is fighting and dying for your country, is true. ...read more.

Conclusion

Throughout this sonnet, the sincere and genuine tone was kept by the poet. He has full belief in the ideas he puts forward and argues them enthusiastically. Extreme patriotism is highlighted in this sonnet. The whole sonnet has an extended metaphor of England as the mother of the speaker. She gave life to him, brought him up, and educated him. She provided him with the crucial needs of life and helped him survive like a mother would help her son. Because England was a mother to the speaker and she took care of him when he was young, he feels that it is his duty to protect England, his mother. Finally, to elucidate his message and his statement, Brooke chooses an unusual structure. Even though this piece is a sonnet there are no couplets, but it includes an octet and a sestet. The difference between them is that in the first stanza, the soldier describes his last will on his way to the war. The second stanza takes place in the future when he is dead and he describes what presumably will happen after he's gone. The traditional attitude, which is getting all patriotic about the war without questioning its causes and effects like this specific soldier, and the contrast in this stanza, is even though he dies, which is supposed to be a mournful event, to him it is something to be proud of, some sort of success and something which was crucial to accomplish. ...read more.

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