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Critical Commentary on the Soldier.

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Critical Commentary on the Soldier "The Soldier", a poem written at the time of the First World War, conveys the love of one soldier for his country to the extent that he is ready to die for it. The poem is written in the first person narrative and thus there is a rather personal tone to it which allows us to have greater insight into the speaker's thoughts and emotions. However, we soon realise that this English soldier has not yet seen the war and therefore, although he is aware he might die, he does not know all the horror it involves and tends to over glorify it. Due to his naivetes, the tone of the poem remains hopeful and optimistic and the mood stays calm throughout. This poem is in sonnet structure and the rhyme scheme in stanza one is ABAB and in stanza two it is ABCABC. This links the two stanzas together but at the same time makes the difference between them more apparent. The title, "The Soldier", introduces the speaker to us thus allowing us to understand the content of this poem without the narrator actually stating who he is. ...read more.


The soldier continues to refer to himself as "dust" throughout the first stanza. He says that "England bore, shaped" and made him "aware". This suggests that England made him who he is as she took care of him and controlled his mind. He then focuses on all that England "gave" him which includes mostly natural aspects. This implies that its through only England's own merits that he had all of what was given to him as it did not include anything man made. He states a list of what England gave to him which includes "her flowers to love, her ways to roam", "English air", "rivers", and "blest by suns of home". Each of these things which were given represents one aspect of human life. The "flowers" could represent customs as well as frivolities as it is not unusual for a man to give flowers to a woman he loves however it is a quite superficial way of showing feelings. England, nevertheless, was able to cope with it and provide us with luxuries. Her "ways" could represent our curiosities which again, England, could satisfy. ...read more.


We can see that all these words are positive and thus shows us that the speaker is talking from a very bias point of view for he does not talk of anything that is negative of England. It is possible that this soldier has never visited another country and therefore does not have anything to compare England with. This could therefore imply that England has truly "shaped" his mind and taken advantage of his ignorant position. This is further emphasised when he calls his country an "English heaven". It seems strange that he should mention "heaven" when talking about England and not mention it when describing the afterlife. However, perhaps he chooses to do so as he believes he will have to give back all that England gave to him and this is what he treasures most and thus without it he cannot imagine heaven. In conclusion, this poem shows the devotion and patriotism of one soldier to his country. He is not afraid to die and his attitude is admirable. However, the poet leads us to think that perhaps he is too naive and England, the country he loves so deeply, has not honestly informed him of what lies ahead of him and what lies beyond him. ...read more.

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