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Writing in a similar style to Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est', Siegfried Sassoon also decided to attack figures of authority and those with no direct experience of trench warfare via 'Base Details'.

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Introduction

Writing in a similar style to Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum Est', Siegfried Sassoon also decided to attack figures of authority and those with no direct experience of trench warfare via 'Base Details'. 'Base Details' is entirely speculative. The word 'base' in the title has two distinct meanings. It could be used as a noun, to mean 'place', as in a centre of operation; or you could interpret the word as an adjective meaning 'morally low or unacceptable'. Sassoon has used play on words in the title so that the reader may more adequately perceive the irony and sarcasm expressed in this poem. The adjectives used in the first two lines of 'Base Details' reflect the author's perception of his superiors: If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath, I'd live with Scarlet Majors at the Base, The first line indicates that Sassoon is contemptuous of these officers. He has classed the Majors as unpleasant stereotypes, to be criticised and jeered at. In the following line, the word 'scarlet' has a double meaning. On face value, it could be taken to mean that the officers have bright red cheeks. However, Sassoon has used the word as a metaphor, meaning that the Majors have been metaphorically splattered with the blood of the young men they had sent to the front line to die. ...read more.

Middle

The Major wishes to die peacefully, and in bed - unlike those he sends out to the front. The Major considers himself superior in all aspects, even in death. 'Base Details' attempted to show the ignorant public back in Britain the hypocritical attitudes of many of these Majors; and how soldiers in the trenches were being treated in comparison to those who had obtained top jobs merely on the basis of their public schooling. Whilst 'Base Details' depicts the life of a typical Major serving during World War One, another of Sassoon's poems, 'The Hero', depicts the sequence of events on the home front following the death of a soldier. The poem 'Base Details' by Siegfried Sassoon is a sarcastic attack against the army generals who view the war as a game similar to checkers. It is therefore evidence of why Siegfried Sassoon is known as the "voice of protest". The first noticeable thing about the text is the title. The word base is a pun for the fact that base means headquarters as well as dishonourable or cowardly, which implies that he will talk about the dishonourable activities at the Army headquarters. Secondly, Sassoon appeared to have blamed the officers for the purposeless deaths of his fellow men, while they were behind the front line and had no idea what it was like. ...read more.

Conclusion

These great feelings of anger are derived from the fact that the majors are living a life of luxury while sending young men "up the line" out into the battle field. This is all suggested in the title of the poem with the word "base" suggesting a military base, and/or a base person. And the word "details" suggesting a command, an assignment, and something or someone lowly. "Base Details" is a poem which expresses the feelings of the author towards military majors using differentiable types of imagery. The poem begins by Sassoon describing the majors as demanding, mean, and belligerent men. Bald, out-of-shape and full of gluttony. Sassoon categorizes the majors under the word scarlet signifying childless, bright redness from excessive drinking and yelling of anger. Sassoon presents to us the fact of the majors sending up the young men as soon as they are drafted "up the line to death." This attitude taken from the majors is what angers Sassoon to the point of hatred. To convince the reader of such horrific truth, Sassoon describes how disrespectful the majors are with their "puffy petulant faces" from eating and drinking excessively. Sassoon states how the majors are stuffing their faces and "Reading the Roll of Honor" in safe luxurious hotels while men are dying out on the field ...read more.

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