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War poetry - different poets attitudes to war.

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INTRODUCTION War! Some people think war is a good thing, some people think it is a bad thing. One of those people who thought it was a bad thing was William Sherman. He once said 'I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell! Over the last couple of weeks we have studied war poetry. We have studied a number of different poems written by different poets and written during different wars. All the poets have a different opinion of war. Some poets think war is a good thing and encourage people to go to war but other poets write about how bad war is. I am going to compare and contrast seven different poems which will prove whether William Sherman's point is right or wrong. ABOUT THE POEMS The five poems I am going to compare and contrast are, 'Dulce et Decorum est,' written by Wilfred Owen, 'In Flanders Fields,' written by John McRae, 'Hearing that his Friend was Coming Back from the War,' written by Wang Chien, 'The Charge of the Light Brigade,' written by Alfred Tennyson and, 'Break of Day in the Trenches,' written by Isaac Rosenberg. All of these poems are about war. First I am going to compare and contrast the poets and then I will compare and contrast the poems WHAT IS THE POETS BACKGROUND? All of the poets come from a different background. Some of the poets came from a well off family, some came from a poor family. They also came from different countries all around the world, from China to England to Canada. Most of the poems were written during different wars. Wilfred Owen was born in 1890 and started writing poetry at the age of 17 and originally wrote a lot about religion. ...read more.


and some were for the poets own pleasure 'Dulce et Decorum est' was written to tell the people back in Britain how dreadful the war was and tells them that it is not a sweet and right thing to die for your country, in the poem it says:- And watch the white eyes writing in his face His Hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gurgling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obese as cancer, bitter as the cud If you read this in a paper or magazine during the war, you would be put off going to war. 'In Flanders Fields' was the opposite of 'Dulce et Decorum est' because this poem encourages people to go to war, the poem is trying to tell the people back in Britain to go to war and replace the soldiers who have died, in the poem it says:- Take up our quarrel with the foe To you from falling hands we throw The torch be yours to hold it high 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' was written by Lord Alfred Tennyson and told of the mistakes that had been made and how many soldiers lost their lives needlessly:- Someone had blundered. This poem would make people realise that not all war was justified and that many mistakes were made. Tennyson was told to write the poem about the loss of all the men but he also wrote about the bravery of the men so that people would know that although the men had died needlessly, and had known that the battle was a mistake, they had not questioned what they were asked to do. Isaac Rosenberg hated war and everything about war, he only went for the money. He thought writing poetry would help him get through the horrors of war. 'Hearing that his Friend was Coming Back from the War' by Wang-Chien was written for his own pleasure and it was written as if it was a letter to his friend. ...read more.


The second poem or song 'With God on our Side' is really about wars in general and that no matter which side you are on you always have God on your side. It is also about forgiving your enemies: When the Second World War Came to an end We forgave the Germans And we were friends Though they murdered six milliohm In the ovens they fried The Germans now too Have God on their side. The poem starts with the war between the Indians and the white man, then the Spanish-American war, the Civil War, the First World War, the Second World War. Then it goes on to say how the writer has learned to hate Russians and that if there is another war, they are the enemy. He also talks of modern warfare But now we got weapons Of the chemical dust. The theme of the poem is really to ask in war whose side if God on? In a many dark hour I've been thinkin' about this That Jesus Christ Was Betrayed by a kiss But I can't think for you You'll have to decide Whether Judas Iscariot Had God on his side. He finishes by saying If God's on our side He'll stop the next war. CONCLUSION All these poems are very different and look at war from different perspectives. Some glorify war and believe it is right to fight for what you believe in while others think that war is wrong and that there must be a better way to sort out differences. After comparing these poems I believe that William Sherman was right. War is hell for those who have been there and seen at first hand the horrors that man inflicts on his fellow man. Those who don't go to war believe that it is a glorious thing to fight and even die for your country. But these people never see the brutality of war and this is exactly what William Sherman was trying to say. Adam Dillon 11A1 ...read more.

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