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Write a comparison of the ways the writers (Hardy and Graves) describe the death of a soldier - Say how far you agree with the views that Drummer Hodge is presented in a romantic, idealised way, and that Graves' German soldier is presented with stark-real

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Introduction

English Literature (June 2002 Exam Question) Write a comparison of the ways the writers describe the death of a soldier. Say how far you agree with the views that Drummer Hodge is presented in a romantic, idealised way, and that Graves' German soldier is presented with stark-realism. Hardy wrote 'Drummer Hodge' as a poem depicting the way in which a young drummer boy from Dorset dies and is then buried without ceremony, on the South African plain, during the War. Unfortunately for the young child, and tragically, he died for reasons he wasn't aware of and for matters he probably didn't understand. Similarly, Graves' poem, 'A Dead Boche' also concentrates on the theme of the War, however his poetry reflects and is written from his own personal experience of the war. Hardy writes about the 'Young Hodge' with a great amount of emphasis and expression. By doing this, Hardy makes his readers even more sympathetic with the young drummers tragic fate, 'They throw in...'. Similarly Graves too emphasises' his words with a sense of anger as well as passion. ...read more.

Middle

The first line ends with the word 'War' in capital letters. The usage of the capital letter emphasises the bigger picture of War. By just reading the first few lines of the poem, as a reader we are able to establish the emphasis and expression Hardy has written about an article he read in a local newspaper and is not directly addressed to war. The callous words 'just as found' sound as if they have been extracted from a report which is ironic since the poem itself is based on an article read by Hardy. However, on the other hand, for this reason it doesn't have the same detail and imagery that Graves' describes about the death of the soldier in his poem. Graves has written his from a personal experience, which adds an element of truth about what exactly he saw 'propped against a shattered trunk'. The word 'propped' seems as if it has been set up like a stage, and the word shattered could be referring to the state of the dead soldier's body. ...read more.

Conclusion

In my opinion the death of the drummer boy is very tragic and sad. Hardy writes with passion and his choice and order of words emphasise how life can be short, 'the Drummer never knew....' The young boy should have been able to live longer and experience life, but now his body lies in an unmarked grave where it feeds and nourishes the African soil. However when compared to A Dead Boche, I would question what is 'romantic and idealised' about a body being 'thrown' into a grave. I would certainly agree that the German soldier is presented with stark realism. This is because that because of the fact that Graves' has written his poetry from a personal experience, which adds a sense of reality and authenticity to what he writes about the soldier having a 'sodden green' face, whereas Drummer Hodge refers to no physical details of the dead drummer boy. Graves also adds a personal touch to his poem by using words like 'spectacled' and saying 'Today I found' making it immediate, a real event, not one day, but today. Payal Patel F-Code ...read more.

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