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War Poetry Coursework Robert E. Lee said, 'It is well that war is so terrible - we would grow too fond of it.' By looking closely at some of the war poetry you have read, discuss how different poets have expressed the terrible nature of war. This is a literary essay looking at war poems. War always has a bad outcome one way or another, whether it is loss of life or a bad person taking over. In the three poems I have read, each poet describes how war is terrible in different ways, using different wars to do so. Wilfred Owen wrote about the First World War while he was in a hospital suffering from shellshock, before dying a day before the war ended. Carol Ann Duffy was writing about more modern wars such as, Belfast, Beirut and Phnom Penh. She writes it from a different view as that of a war photographer but it is still as effective. In my opinion, 'Dulce' is the most descriptive and disturbing of the three poems I read. It was written by Wilfred Owen. The first four lines show disturbing images of young soldiers, "Bent double, knock-kneed, coughing like hags, cursed through sludge."
He uses the quote in irony. He does not believe "it is sweet and right to die for your country." The persona of War photographer is a photographer who is a man and is written in his point of view. He is remembering the different venues he has photographed. It was written by Carol Ann Duffy. (In his darkroom) He has all his films of suffering. All of his photos have suffering in them. What they contain are chaos. His spools are organised in orderly rows. There is a romantic, serene setting as if it were a church. The poet is comparing himself to a priest. This shows how seriously he takes his job. A priest and a photographer bring faith in their opinions, and how (by photographing them) he stands up for those who cannot help themselves. Both of them speak to a community, both have a powerful voice; they will take time to prepare for what they are doing. The process of delivery is careful, particular and the atmosphere and objects that are needed must be carefully prepared and organised. The last line is made up of three war zones. He puts a full stop in between each place so there is a full pause.
They don't just do it with their minds; they are "silent minds." He thinks of how the day ends for all the people affected by death. He talks about a "drawing-down of blinds." That image is both literal and metaphoric. Literal because that is what people do in war time; black out blinds. Metaphoric because it represents people shutting out the pain of the death. The soldiers don't talk about it; they go on as cattle. The mums and wives don't know what to do or think. The government are masking the truth so they are not admitting what is going on. Comparisons between the poems are: The themes. All the poems are about war. They are about the horrors of war. "Dulce" is about the frontline, gas attacks, action, and anger towards the government. "Anthem" is about the aftermath and the stark contrasts of lack of funerals for soldiers. "Photographer" is about the experiences of a photographer who has witnessed the suffering in ignorance of people at home and how they respond. "Anthem" and "Photographer" show the effects of war compared with the normalities of life. The imagery. In "Anthem" they describe the soldiers as "cattle" which refers to them being mindlessly slaughtered. In "Dulce" they describe them as "beggars" and "hags" which indicates that they are of a very low status. Jack Brown 11.a Mrs. Lowe
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