• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Commentary on Aftermath by Sassoon

Extracts from this document...


Aftermath commentary "Aftermath" gives insight into the post-war British culture that places a lot of importance on subduing agonizing memories and reveals how that culture, by expecting an individual to forget, intensifies the leftover desolation that proceeds from the war. The poem sends a very thought-provoking message that conveys to its readers that for society in order to regenerate after such a catastrophe, one needs not to submit to the urge to repress agonizing memories, but to remember and accept the sufferings he has undergone instead. "Aftermath" is a reflection upon the war after it has ended, critically discussing the post-war society and that society's progression of moving forward from the tragedy of war. The motif that consistently reoccurs throughout the poem evaluates the key issue that is evident in its title - the "aftermath" of war. Sassoon's exposition recounts how although young men are "reprieved" from war and have made their ways back into society, they still are confronted by the "haunted gap" of their minds; his recount therefore suggests that returning soldiers are unable to properly move forward with life, because they still have not yet learned to accept and live with the terror of the past. ...read more.


However, soon after, Sassoon has also taken upon what sounds like the voice of a soldier who has returned from the war, reflecting on the despair and horror of war - the "stench of corpses rotting," the "hopeless rain," the "doomed and haggard faces" of soldiers. This voice explores how alienated and disoriented a soldier would feel being re-integrated back into society right after the war and very powerfully expresses the resentment towards the oblivious and ignorant civilian community who do not try to be understanding of the difficulties a soldier must overcome. Moreover, the two antithetical poetic voices (of the soldiers and of society) create a dramatic divergence that resembles the conflicts between two social groups at the time: one group wants to remember while the other wants to forget. It's criticizing British culture by justifying that what society idealizes or assumes is good is not necessarily good in actuality for an individual. On top of that, the form of the poem also contributes a lot to the message Sassoon is trying to get across as it greatly reflects his sentiments and viewpoints. There is hardly any uniformity in the structure of the stanzas except for the fact that the longer ones are non-italic while the shorter ones are written in italics. ...read more.


At the same time, it is reinforcing Sassoon's appeal "Do you every stop and ask, 'Is it all going to happen again?'" This is an earnest request calling for people to contemplate on the sufferings they have caused instead of choosing the 'easy' way out where they can just forget. This intensifies Sassoon's revolutionary stance against such convention - what Sassoon is trying to convey completely goes against society's expectations and against traditional values, which have placed a lot of importance on indoctrinating people into believing the war has been right. Once again, Sassoon is rejecting the idea of forgetting. Once again, he is declaring that need to remember and to accept. "Aftermath" is a powerful and thought-provoking appeal to the post-war society not to submit to the repressive government at the time. Sassoon is an iconic figure who is, on behalf of the community of soldiers who have returned from war, standing up against the uncaring government who are relentlessly indoctrinating its subjects into neglecting the memories of war and overlooking the mistake the whole society has made. The poem graphically gives insights into a divergent and segregated society where one social group wants one thing and another group wants another, where the culture is not embracing the community of returning soldiers although claiming to be integrating them back into society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Passed On commentary

    In these first three stanzas the poet clearly conveys her lack of independence and self-confidence and also her vulnerability. In the fourth stanza we see that the tone of the poem has started to change. As the narrator grows and her mind develops, the cards seem to 'shrink'.

  2. English Commentary

    There was a lifebuoy in the boat with a rope tied to it. I took hold of it and waved it in the air. 'Do you see this lifebuoy, Richard Parker? Do you see it? Catch hold of it. HUMPF!

  1. "August Houseplant" Commentary

    It's you, dear leaves," / "As if you knew fall is coming, you seem to desire everything that surrounds you, all of air, all of light, all of shade.") and his thought of bringing the plant in also suggests to the fact that he is fascinated by its beauty.

  2. Brick Lane Commentary

    Her paranoia is very easily observed when she ran around till "she realized she was leaving a trail", thinking that there is someone chasing after her and being oppressive towards her in this unsafe urbanized world. There is also a huge and strong sense of alienation in the city when

  1. Poetry Commentary on To His Coy Mistress

    The employment of exotic imagery also aids this process, as he affirms that "by the Indian Ganges' side / Should'st rubies find" (L. 5 - 6). By providing images which are more tempting than any domestic sight in England, which is where both lovers are from, it entices the woman,

  2. "Mirrors" - Commentary

    The face is constantly looking, searching for new signs of age approaching. The mirror makes itself out not to be judgmental. The line 'I have no preconceptions' evidently shows this. This first line makes me think that Plath was referring to the mirror as a person she trusts, like a

  1. Poetry Commentary "Carpets"

    The poet uses words such as "gallows" to create an almost deathly feel to the poem. The poem speaks of the tradition, "Left by their aunts and sisters". The monotonous repeating of the words, "One hundred" is used to create the sense that these children's lives are being timed away,

  2. The Canonization - Commentary

    In addition, through the author's choice of words with rough, hard sounds that need to be stressed and forcefully said when spoken such as 'For God's sake, chide my palsy, ruined fortune', he is able to indirectly express the character's anger and annoyance as the sounds and words are associated with negative connotations.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work