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War Poetry.

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An Introduction War has given writers much material to use in books, short stories, descriptive essays, poems etc. Sometimes these merely narrate incidents and bring them up to story form. For instance Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy's masterpiece, War and Peace, tells the story of five families during the Napoleonic Wars, "The Great Escape" by Paul Brickhill which was also made into the movie, and Ernest's Hemmingway's "A Farewell to Arms", which examines how World War 1 impacted the lives of several characters---including an ambulance driver. The film, based on the novel, earned Academy Awards for cinematography and sound recording, Apart from the poems "Six Young Men" by Ted Hughes and "War Photographer" by Carol Anne Duffy, "Vergissmeinicht" by Keith Douglas and "Bombing Casualties in Spain" by Herbert Read also show the futility of war, without minimizing the horrors it creates. Some of these books go into the economics of war. All these books imply that given a similar set of circumstances as well as predictably of human nature, war is inevitable. They also bring about the aftermath of war and how it damages the socio-political nature of a nature. Most of these war novels have a good dose of love and romance and many have been made into outstanding films. The Poets of the First World War The First World War brought to public notice many poets, particularly among the young men in the armed forces, while it provided a new source of inspiration for writers of established reputation. Not a few of the younger poets were killed or died in the struggle, and it is impossible to estimate the loss sustained by English poetry in their deaths. There can be no clearer reflection of the changing national attitude towards the conflict as the weary years brought disillusionment than that found than that found in the poetry of these men. Broadly two phases may be distinguished. ...read more.


but where people " do not care about the events he records. There are four stanzas in the poem each consisting of 6 lines. The rhyme scheme is a, b, b, c, d, and d. This form is quite traditional; each line is a pentameter, which is quite common in Shakespeare's plays. In this poem, Duffy obviously feels something in common with her subject- she uses his experience to voice her own criticism of how comfortable Britons look at pictures of suffering, but do not know the reality. She sees the photographer as both priest and journalist. The reader's response to the Sunday newspaper is almost like going to Church- for a while we are reminded of our neighbor's suffering but by lunchtime we have forgotten what we learned. The poem is evocative and we, far away from the war zone, can feel his pain. As he develops his prints, the pictures come to life. Six Young Men by Ted Hughes Six Young Men is a nostalgic and painful poem, the theme of which is narrated by the photographer, who took a snapshot of subjects involved. These six subjects are young soldiers. Apparently out on a Sunday jaunt, dressed in civvies, and ready for a good time. Their expression are comfortable and relaxed; one smiling shyly, one chewing a blade of grass, one looking down, one looking a little proud-all wearing hats now out of fashion, their shoes shining. The last line of the first stanza changes the picture completely, when we are told that within six months of the snapshots being taken they were all dead. The third line of the first stanza tells us that 40 years have passes since that moment. The photograph has now grown yellow with age, yet, in spite of being dead; they have remained eternally young and fresh because of the impression on the photograph. These young men have been photographed against a natural backdrop. ...read more.


The War Photographer gets into the mood of war in the second line of the poem itself ; "with spools of suffering...",and this mood is continued throughout, while Six Young Men starts of in a much lighter mood and slowly builds up to the finale. The last line of the first stanza comes as a shock to the readers almost as though they've been shot like those men, and then the third stanza rings out to the readers as shots too, as the bodies keep tumbling. The poem is written in a far more direct form as opposed to the War Photographer, where many metaphors and similes have been employed, but still the poet manages to stimulate the reader's emotions in his subtle manner. Six Young Men might have a greater impact on some readers because it speaks of six different characters affected by war rather than sufferings of war in general, and Ted Hughes last verse is far more haunting than Duffy's as he manages to show the six men as no more alive than any man you meet nor any more dead than any prehistoric beast. Bombing Casualties in Spain also discusses the sufferings of war, but not as directly as mentioning any particular characters nor as vaguely as showing it in general. This poem describes the scene of the war far more vividly than any of the other poems and the description of the children is given so instrumentally that it will cause the reader's hearts to melt. The style used in the poem is also quite witty, something not found in the two earlier poems and credit must be given to the poet to narrate such a painful poem in such a skillful fashion. Vergissmeinicht, on the other hand, like Six Young Men, has a nameless character, who dies after firing on a tank three weeks after the end of the battle. ...read more.

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