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What attitudes towards the First World War have you found in the poetry you have studied and how are these attitudes revealed by the Poets.

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Introduction

First World War Poetry Assignment Task: What attitudes towards the First World War have you found in the poetry you have studied and how are these attitudes revealed by the Poets. The Fist World War was an exciting adventure for many people. Many young men considered it to be their duty to fight for their country. Going to war for many individuals was a portrayal of their bravery and loyalty. One poet- H. Begbie in his poem, Fall In mentions the freedom, joy and fullness of life those will achieve who join the war. A lot of propaganda poems/songs and posters were established during the war to help convince people going to war is a good thing. The main reason for the establishment of these propaganda posters/poems and songs were to persuade people to enlist. A lot of individuals specifically young boys lied about age mainly because they were looking forward to showing their patriotism. Wives and mothers sacrificed their husbands and sons so they could also be part of the victory. It was common belief that it was going to be a short war so they were expecting to see their husbands and sons in a few months to celebrate the victory. The attractions (i.e. beautiful girls) of the smart uniform drew many men to enlist. Men enlisted for their glorious uniform even though they didn't have any knowledge of the war. The thought of the uniform bringing them respect and loyalty was great reason to join the war. Furthermore, it was also common belief that God was on their side so there was no doubt that they would for certain win - with God's help. The British had a very small professional army and as a result the majority of people who fought were volunteers, this emphasizing that many men were keen and excited to join the war although most of them didn't have any knowledge of the war, according to them they were looking forward to showing their patriotism. ...read more.

Middle

In Mackintosh's opinion joining the war is just simply making matters worse. This is portrayed in the following phrase; "Go and help to swell the names in the casualty lists". The poet gives me the impression that war simply means death and the consequences of war are extreme, tormenting but very realistic. The poet's tone of voice is sarcastic because throughout the poem he makes everything seem normal and ordinary. The poet is being very sarcastic, especially in the last three verses where he emphasizes even death as ordinary and normal-"come and die". In my opinion by being sarcastic the poet is making the poem more effective. He portrays everything as normal, ordinary and realistic which indeed in a manner it is. Death is a very huge possibility during the war and it is a very realistic issue. The poet talks about even death as ordinary and normal, which I think it is quite effective, the more men join the war the greater, the possibility of the increase in the number of deaths occurring during the war. As the increase in the number of deaths grows people will begin to come to terms with death and as a result death will be a common thing and not soon it will become normal and ordinary if people don't stop joining. I think the poet's tone of voice is also persuasive. The poet uses certain words and phrases, which are very strong which I think help influence and persuade people that joining the war is making matters worse, i.e. "come and die" -these words are very strong but also very influencing and so give us the impression that going to war s simply about dying. The poem is addressed to men who may be considering joining the war. This is revealed to us by the following phrase i.e. verse 1 " Lad's you're wanted, go and help". ...read more.

Conclusion

Everything they see is full of blood constantly reminding them of their horrid experience. The tone of the poem is very depressing and heart breaking. The men are no longer physically tormented, but mentally. The horrid things they have viewed and done torment them constantly, and they have no self-control. These innocent men are described as "purgatorial shadows and set- smiling corpses". These are very negative but also very powerful and strong ways to describe tortured men. Other examples of these include symbolic images: "Dawn breaks open like a wound that bleeds a fresh" The men are dreadfully covered in wounds/scars but also dawn is the beginning of a new day and the horrible memories begin once more to torment them they describe them as opening a fresh new wound every day. The wound is not physically but mentally there and it makes it a lot harder to heal. E.g.2"why sit they here in twilight?" The above phrase has two meanings, the first meaning is describing the time of day but the second one is symbolic, because this is supposed to symbolise the sun setting on the men's lives. The third stanza contains powerful words and phrases such as: " Thus their heads wear this hilarious, hideous, awful falseness of set - smiling corpses" These are very strong and horrifying images and this was probably the poet's intention. The line also contains alliteration (of the letter 'h'), to have a memorable effect on the reader. The overall attitudes of war, which are portrayed in these poems vary. The poet have used a different methods to reveal these attitudes to the readers, methods such as: * Similes and Metaphors * Alliteration (etc) * Rhyme and para-rhyme * Rhythm * Images of war All these poems, which I have studied in my assignment, have revealed the attitudes towards war in various intriguing ways. Having studied war poetry I, myself have learnt a lot about the war and now find the topic war very educational and extremely interesting. Samina Iqbal 10P, 10B1 Mr Cavender ...read more.

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