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A criticacl comparison of Siegfried sassoon 'attack' and jeff curtis 'argonne forest'

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Write a critical comparison of Siegfried Sassoon 'Attack' and Jeff Curtis' translation of 'Argonne Forest at Midnight.' Focus on how the poets convey their feelings about the war. During world war one, many poems were written to describe their optimistic or pessimistic views of the war. They were mainly soldiers who have suffered or felt patriotic. 'Attack' was written by Siegfried Sassoon, who served valiantly as a soldier, but later believed that the war was needless. 'Attack' describes the early morning before dawn as being horrific, portraying a very pessimistic view. However, 'Argonne forest at midnight' portrays a sapper thinking of his distant homeland wanting to be victorious against the 'Frenchies.' The poem was written by an unknown German soldier but was later translated by Jeff Curtis giving a strong optimistic view of the war. The language used creates effective images in the poems. The opening lines of 'attack describe the new day emerging as shown by the line: 'at dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun.' The ridge, however, is personified as having a living presence and no specific shape, with the use of words 'emerges' and 'massed.' The heavy syllable-'dun' also adds an ominous tone. ...read more.


Finally, Sassoon ends the poem 'attack' by giving out a personal cry-'O Jesus make it stop.' This changes the entire depersonalised perspective of the poem. The terrible impression that we are left with is that it won't stop and faith, hope and all other signs of humanity are useless in this environment of mechanised disruption. On the other hand the language used in 'Argonne forest at midnight' creates a very optimistic view of the war. 'A sapper stands on guard.' The word 'guard' gives the impression that he is alert and prepared for danger which builds up tension. The adjective 'shines' gives a bright and positive psychological effect on the 'sapper' and surroundings. The words 'greetings' and 'distant' convey the sense of excitement because the sapper seems to be eager to help or fight valiantly for his family, wanting to return as a hero. Although has become fierce as the sapper 'waits' leaving a pause in between and 'thinks with longing on his love.' The word 'longing' shows a deep passionate desire, as the word 'wondering' also shows the sapper's deathly thought of dieing. This simile 'the artillery roars like thunder' is particularly effective because it compares the almighty power of nature ('thunder') ...read more.


In conclusion, 'attack' has described the war as being futile and horrendous sending out a deep meaning, 'that those who've suffered will never forget it and the soldiers were forced into a disastrous part of the world.' On the other hand 'Argonne forest at midnight' described the war in a very optimistic way, so families will look up to them if the men fought for their country. I felt that it also had a deep allegory- 'if you die with bravery then you shall never be forgotten but if you die as nothing then you shall be known as nothing.' However, these two poems do have a few similarities. The two poems have described their view of the war and emotions but either good or bad. They were both written by soldiers and have also had past experience in the war but because they are from two different countries, it is easier to see why the German poem was optimistic about the war and Sassoon's poem from Britain was futile. The reason for this was because the majority of the Germans hated the French and British as they were being defeated during the war. 10th July 2008 By Sumaya Jibreel 9L ...read more.

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