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Write a comparison of the ways in which the writers present attitudes to remembrance.

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Liz Botterill Write a comparison of the ways in which the writers present attitudes to remembrance. On Passing the new Menin Gate by Siegfried Sassoon and The Cenotaph by Charlotte Mew are poems both written after the First World War about their observations of memorial services for the soldiers that were taken by the war. They present differing views of remembrance but both poets show a similar passion for what they are saying and have used some similar poetic techniques. A key difference between the poems is that one has been written by a woman, and one by an ex soldier who has experienced the brutality of war. It can be expected that Mew's poem will have less focus on the horror of war which it does; she shows better understanding of how painful it is for the women left behind to remember their dead loved ones. ...read more.


It seems as though Sassoon feels like a mockery is being made of these countless "nameless names". This contrasts Mew's view that "God is not mocked and neither are the dead." Religious sacrifice is mentioned in both poems. The Cenotaph leaves a final image of the "Face Of God", compared to "some young, piteous, murdered face", suggesting the religious sacrifice. The word murdered shows that Mew does not avoid using brutal vocabulary, facing up to the horror of death and making a variety of images throughout the poem. Sassoon's final statement is a wish that the dead would rise to look down on the gate with distaste as he does. He even goes as far as to call it a "crime", made of "peace-complacent stone". The word complacent is reminiscent of Sassoon's attack on civilians in his declaration. The point he is making is that although the memorial is symbolic of the end of the war, to maintain peace needs constant effort. ...read more.


The cenotaph brings all the lives that were lost together, creating a sense of comfort perhaps that they were not alone. The last lines suggest a purpose for the cenotaph as something for "whore's and huckster's" to look at and remember the soldiers, and feel grateful for their sacrifice, or possibly ashamed. By choosing these kind of people to write about she may be saying that these dead men, although they have lost their lives, they have achieved much more glory than the whores and hucksters will ever have. Sassoon's poem makes no effort to comfort those who did not go to war, or those who lost others from it. With the ironic use of the word "Paid", Sassoon is saying that these lives cannot be bought back and no statue of gate or plaque will compensate. He criticises the building of these things, believing that is what they are trying to do. Unlike Mew, he does not consider what this may represent to the people who are remembering, he thinks more of those that are dead. ...read more.

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