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Explain how the poems reflect the changing attitudes to war. Comment on content, language and poets' purpose.

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Explain how the poems reflect the changing attitudes to war. Comment on content, language and poets' purpose. World War One started in August 1914. British people were feeling positive at the time. They were feeling enthusiastic and patriotic. The partners, friends and family of the "heroic" soldiers all thought they would be home by Christmas. Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen are famous poets from the time. Rupert Brooke at the start of the war wrote 'The Soldier'. In 'The Solider' it shows going to war is heroic but some lines are shockingly ironic. During the war, Wilfred Owen wrote two famous poems named 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and 'Dulce et Decorum Est'. These poems showed more of the reality of the war. A difference between the 2 poets was that Wilfred Owen saw frontline trench warfare and Rupert Brooke did not. A year into the war, Rupert Brooke wrote 'The Soldier'. His main subject was to tell the people how heroic the soldiers were going to war. ...read more.


In English it translate as 'It is sweet and good to die for your country'. In 'Dulce et Decorum Est' Wilfred Owen describes someone dyeing in front of him. "He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning". This gives the reader a view of how the soldiers died. In 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' it tells us what happens to people after they've died. He tells us how they are treated and that there will be no funeral. "What passing bells for those who die as cattle? - Only the monstrous anger of the guns". This extract shows that the bodies are just left to drown into the muddy trenches. He refers in 'Dulce et Decorum Est' to Jessie Pope as "My friend". Jessie Pope was also a poet who wrote 'Who's for the game'. This poem was a recruitment poem to get soldiers to sign up to the game (the war). He ended the poem saying: "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori" (It is sweet and good to die for your country). ...read more.


It helps the reader get a more visual effect rather than just reading. Another poetic device was the use of a sonnet in 'Anthem for Doomed Youth. Sonnets are mainly used to express good things hence why they are chosen for national anthems. It's ironic that Wilfred Owen wrote it in that rhyming scheme when talking about the dead bodies. Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke exemplified the change of attitudes in their poems. Near the start when Rupert Brooke wrote 'The Soldier' people were feeling patriotic but nearer the end when Wilfred Owen wrote his poems, people were starting to worry which made patriotism and heroism rarely seen. The content of the poems describes just how war was seen from home and how it was in reality. Rupert Brookes purpose was to make families and friends supportive of their country and its' army. Wilfred Owen in contrast wrote the reality due to him being involved in the war and wanted other people to know the reality as well. If Rupert Brooke had seen frontline trench warfare, I think his poem would be written very differently and perhaps show the reality at the beginning of the war. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This question asks candidates to consider how the attitude to war changed and how the poets exemplified their opinions and beliefs about war in their poetry. This candidate exercises an excellent focus on the question, consistently referring back to how ...

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Response to the question

This question asks candidates to consider how the attitude to war changed and how the poets exemplified their opinions and beliefs about war in their poetry. This candidate exercises an excellent focus on the question, consistently referring back to how the poetic and linguistic devices are used by the poets contribute and how the attitudes to war changed over the four years. There is a very clear systam by which the candidate adheres, commenting on poems' purpose, imagery, effect onn reader (this is resonant throughout), and linguistic devices like alliteration and irony.
It is imperative in this question that candidate realise when the poems were written, as this is key to answering how the attitudes had changed over time and, realising that at the start of the war both sides were extrememly patriotic yet towards the end felt less so, is a very good contextual appreciation (though, it must not be said, as this candidate has done in their conclusion, that there was a lack of heroism as Wilfred Owen was his most heroic from 1917 onwards).

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is wholly representative of someone expecting to achieve a high B grade at GCSE. There is a fine analysis of how the poems are constructed in terms of language and imagery, but the answer is a little less focused particularly on structure (the comments about 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' being a sonnet are not sufficiently explored; sonnets are not conventionally just for the expression of love and happiness; more rather any intense emotion with it's fourteen unbroken lines). The candidate comments on the similes and onomatopoeia, showing a level of understanding that suggests they can successfully analyse the use of language to shape meaning and attitude. However, more empasis could be explored particularly in phrases like "like a devil's sick of sin" and "white eyes writhing in his face" suggest elemetns of the supernatural, and that the reality of war was not sweet or honourable, but harrowing and haunting, as if Owen is experiencing a nightmare.
The candidate conclusion nicely draws everything they had previously mentioned together, as well as clearly underlining the contextual differences that influences both writers into writing their respective poems. Conclusion like these are good, particularly as this one focuses directly on the quesiton. Well-structured essays will directly reference the question regularly throughout and particularly in their conclusion.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is average. With a limited use of punctuation point, this candidate may struggle to reach higher than a B grade. Using a variety of punctuation shows confidence and an enthusiastic flair in essay writing, and this is what is missing from this essay. Also, the sentence syntax can prove quite clunky, which can be corrected if the candidate re-reads and corrects any spelling/grammatical errors before they close the exam booklet/submit the final draft of their coursework.

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