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Compare and contrast the ways in which writers present their attitudes to the First World War in at least four poems of your choice. How do the writers use poetic devices and techniques to convey their ideas?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the ways in which writers present their attitudes to the First World War in at least four poems of your choice. How do the writers use poetic devices and techniques to convey their ideas? Although we are looking at World War 1, war poetry was around before then. It first came to Britain in the 19th century during the Boer War, when more people were able to write due to a push for mass education at the time. This meant that soldiers could express their feelings and record their experiences through poetry. They told their story first hand, describing the reality of what they saw every day. During the Boer War people began questioning why Britain was fighting the war in the first place. Anti war poetry was used to get their views across to the government for the first time. In the early 1900's, poetry was usually romantic and sentimental. The Georgian poets thought poetry should be more accessible for everyone, and the poetry in the First World War was an expansion of this. At the beginning of World War 1 the attitude of most, including the poets, was patriotic and excited. This is shown in two of the poems I'll be looking at; 'Who's for the Game' by Jessie Pope, and 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brookes. Soon, however, people began to feel dubious and become sick of the death that the war brought. This is reflected in 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred Owen and 'The Hero' by Siegfried Sassoon, the two other poems that I'll be looking at. ...read more.

Middle

It seems quite disrespectful, as this boy has just died and you would expect praise and grief. The word 'swine' describes Jack as a pig, which is very derogatory. It's a complete contrast to what he's just been telling the mother, and shocks us. The poem end's with; 'And no one seemed to care Except the lonely woman with white hair.' This is a moving image that makes you pity the woman immensely. Calling her 'lonely' implies that she has no husband or other children, which makes us feel for her more. 'With white hair' suggests that she's quite old. Saying that only she cares makes the one death seem quite insignificant, and hints about the many thousands of other men that died at war. It leaves the poem with a poignant, sad ending. The rhyme scheme of this poem changes with the stanzas. The first and third stanzas are made of rhyming couplets. The second stanza is made out of rhyming alternate lines with a couplet at the end. The change in the rhyme scheme draws attention to the lines in the second stanza, and emphasises the huge change in tone within the poem. This would be more obvious if the poem was read aloud. This poem was a huge contrast to Jessie Pope's 'Who's for The Game?' Sassoon's poem was mainly about death, and how dying in war wasn't glorious at all. Pope's poem was the opposite; it was written to persuade people that going to war was very heroic and brave indeed. Pope's poem mentions nothing about death, even though it was such a huge part of the war. ...read more.

Conclusion

'No mockeries for them from prayers or bells' implies that if the men did have funerals it would be hypocritical and unfitting for their violent deaths. Owen also uses alliteration in the poem; 'stuttering rifle's rapid rattle'. This makes the sentence onomatopoeic, as the words are quite punchy and sound a bit like the rattling gunshots. This poem is also a sonnet. It's made out of an octave and a sestet. The rhyme scheme is quite complex, first rhyming alternate lines in the first half and then E F F E, ending with a rhyming couplet. The octave has quite a fast pace, whereas the sestet has a slower pace, which gives the poem contrast. This poem makes me angry and sad. It shows what a waste of life the war brought. It makes me feel quite bitter. I don't think Wilfred Owen was religious, as the poem is quite cynical when it comes to religion. I think it's not pretentious at all, and Owen's use of speed and pace is very effective. 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' expresses very different views to those in 'The Soldier'. Although they are both about death, Wilfred Owen definitely doesn't think that it's a glorious thing to die for your country. While 'The Soldier' hints that the author has religious views, 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' seems to mock religion, especially the funerals. When Wilfred Owen wrote this he had experienced quite a bit of death and fighting, whereas Brooke hadn't experienced much. Owen uses quite harsh language whereas Brooke uses soft, gentle language. Owen is talking about death on a huge scale; his poem represents the loss of thousands of lives. Brooke talks about one death- his own- which he has yet to experience. ...read more.

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