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A.E Housman is strongly against the idea of modernisation and most of his work is a half imaginary world in the 'land of lost content' where he is driven by the old ways of life.

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Introduction

Ollie Flowers 11B A.E Housman is strongly against the idea of modernisation and most of his work is a half imaginary world in the 'land of lost content' where he is driven by the old ways of life. Through the young soldiers in 'The Recruit' and the athletes through 'An athlete dying young', Housman is able to explore the helplessness of a man in an alien universe. Housman became sensitive to earthly beauty after the death of his mother when he was just 12. I believe this is what drove him to write some of his poems which are based on meaningless and painful human mortality. However, the death of young heroes is praised by Housman as he believes it is best to live fast and die young. To die young as a hero means you will always be remembered for something amazing you did and died for, whereas if you lived on after the heroic act the heroism wears off and you end up dying and not to be remembered. Respect is gained by going out with a bang, doing something which will be recognised and dying for it. The poems are sensitive, focusing in the parting of friends, the loss of youth, young lives and unpredictable and meaningless deaths, all which build up emotion. The first poem I am analysing is called 'The Shropshire Lad I' which is an emotional poem backed by Housman's idea of dying young as a hero. ...read more.

Middle

The poem is short and simple, I believe this reflects the idea that such small and simple things such as the cherry tree can be taken for granted when in fact they can give someone much joy and happiness. The poem is very short which possibly reflects the idea that Housman believes he has very little time left to see the tree. The poem is read very fluently encouraged by the use of enjambments making the poem very light hearted. It reads quite naturally, like the tree and its surroundings are natural. The second line in the second stanza has the smallest number of syllables so it is read the quickest which adds emotion and emphasis to the point that he has been alone twenty years of his supposed seventy and has only therefore got fifty to go. I believe this was done to build up emotion and to make a point of how much the beauty of the tree really means to him. It is a reflection of something so beautiful that he wants to see so he counts the time left to see it. The next poem is aimed at soldiers going to war, to be brave and heroic and die for their country. The poem reflects Housman's views of living fast and dying young. Notice how in the first line, the word 'lad' is emphasised by its separation from the other words and the rhythm by the use of a comma. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem remains ordered while fluent with a large use of enjambments making the poem read quickly making it more emotional and dramatic. It is a harsh and brutal poem in the way it reads but this is what a recruit could expect from the army. The next poem I am going to analyse is called 'To An Athlete Dying Young'. The title is supporting the idea of Housman's theory as it shows he is paying his respect to this young person who died young and as a famous athlete. The poem is very emotional which is emphasised by the fast rhythm and rhyming couplets. The first two lines of the first stanza flow quickly with the use of enjambment, this is to make the occasion of the athlete winning the race more memorable and special. It indicates to us the speed at which the athlete ran, adding meaning and sensitivity to the poem, making the athlete an even more famous hero. However the next two, the last two lines are read slowly as they are broken up by the use of a comma. This sudden change in the reading of the poem leads to the reader feeling sad and sensitive. We realise at this point that in fact the people of the town are carrying the athlete above their shoulders in a coffin. The slow reading of the lines builds up emotions and pain. The second stanza is also very upsetting and is broken down by the use of commas making it read slowly and passionately. ...read more.

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