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Comparing The War Poems, "Suicide in the trenches" and "Green Beret"

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Introduction

Examining Two War Poems I have chosen to compare, 'Suicide in the Trenches' by Siegfried Sassoon and 'Green Beret' by Ho Thien. Both these poems are based around the theme of war, however they are set in different periods of time. 'Suicide in the Trenches' deals with the stresses that war can inflict and how tragic it can sometimes be. It focuses on the life and death of a soldier boy. Throughout the poem the poet emphasises the simplicity of the boy. The poem has a simple layout and rhyme scheme, Sassoon is probably trying to suggest the simplicity of the soldier boy and how simple the life of a soldier in the trenches would have been. 'Green Beret' is more recent and is based on the Vietnamese war. It tells the story of a Vietnamese boy who is being threatened with the death of his father to give information about the Vietnamese people. Throughout the poem the poet suggests how the brutal actions of the soldiers only seem to make the resistance force greater. Both of these poems differ from each other but they both show the tragedies involved in war. The poets in both poems use different methods to show their ideas. In 'Suicide in the Trenches' the poem is structured in quatrains and the poem's layout is very simple. ...read more.

Middle

In the second stanza we get the impression that the brutal actions by the American forces only makes the resistant forces stronger and when the poet mentions "wall of steel" we can imagine how strong the resistant forces must be. Whereas, when we look at 'Suicide in the Trenches' we can see that it's much shorter indicating that suicide was part of life in the trenches. It also gives us the impression that the soldiers would have got over these tragedies quickly and that suicide was part of everyday life. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are significantly different when we compare both poems. In 'Suicide in the Trenches' the rhyme scheme is rather straightforward; aabbcc... (This again shows the simplicity of the soldier boy.) The rhythm functions to make the poem easy to read and remember. However, when we reach lines seven and eight, the rhythm changes; "He put a bullet through his brain. No one spoke of him again." I think the poet used these two lines to emphasise the brutality and the harsh reality of war. I also think it shows how desperate war really was. In both poems the poets use the language differently. In 'Green Beret' Thien gives a sense of realism by adding dialogue, it also gives a true sense of how Green Beret spoke. ...read more.

Conclusion

Green Beret was to show the things going on during the Vietnam War, and it almost exalts the Vietnamese people and shows that they weren't so weak after all. As we see that the little boy is willing to let his father be killed for the people of his country. On the other hand, Suicide in the Trenches outlines how horrific war can be and it shows that war is fought mentally as well as physically. In conclusion, both of the two poems have a lot of differences but they are still very alike each other as they both still portray the harsh brutality of war. But the two poets have used different techniques and methods to present their ideas and they have the same sadness in their tone. I think that both poets have been very effective with the techniques used as both poems contain a lot of strong emotions. I personally preferred Green Beret as I thought it gave a convincing insight into the war and it showed how brutal it was. It also showed how one small boy could save all his people and how mentally strong he was. Although I thought that Suicide in the Trenches was more effective as it portrayed a lot of emotion and it gave a much different view on war and showed the different mental stresses it contained and how desperate war really was and is. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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