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AS and A Level: War Poetry
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Writing about World War One poetry
- 1 Although it is easy to try and position poems as either ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ war this is quite a simplistic division. Many poems have an ambiguous attitude, perhaps demonstrating a variety of thoughts and ideas. Be sure to assess possibilities of different perspectives within poems as well as between them.
- 2 It can be useful to analyse World War One poetry in comparison to other war poems written both before and after.
- 3 Studying the female voice offers a different perspective on the war.
- 4 Some contextual knowledge of the time and of the poets is helpful, although this information should only be used if directly relevant to the question and if it enhances poetic analysis and contributes to meaningful discussion.
- 5 With any poetry it is unwise to try and guess at how the poets were ‘feeling’ about their experiences. Keep focused on the poems themselves.
When analysing poetry you might like to consider some of the following
- 1 The perspective, tone and register of narrator is a good place to start analysis. Remember that these can differ within poems. Be sure also to distinguish between the poet and the narrative voice.
- 2 Titles, openings and endings can be a good way to start your analysis.
- 3 Look for patterns and oppositions (or lack of) that emerge.
- 4 Consider effects of other poetic techniques such as: use of imagery, semantic fields, phonological devices etc.
- 5 Consider the effects of structure and form; it is important to recognise the insights this analysis can provide.
Writing essays on World War One poetry
- 1 All essays should be well planned with clear points which enable a progressive structure.
- 2 Introductions should clearly address the question, perhaps determining position of argument/discussion to follow.
- 3 Each paragraph should ideally begin with a topic sentence which addresses the question, evidence from the poem/s to support the point (with quotes embedded), and detailed analysis using appropriate technical terminology. Remember that feature spotting does not demonstrate any useful knowledge and understanding of a poem.
- 4 If relevant, contextual references to World War One or the poets can inform and develop points and comparative points with other war poems (from before and after) are often insightful.
- 5 A concise conclusion should make a final summary that directly addresses the question. Ensure all essays are proof-read to avoid errors.
- Marked by Teachers essays 50
- Peer Reviewed essays 7
Now he has no leg. He wonders why he joined the army. He tries to impress people as they told him he would do well in the army. One reason he signed up was because his dear Meg would be pleased. At the time he was not afraid of being afraid. A soldiers biggest worry is being afraid. Owen says "And no fears of fear have come yet" He had thoughts of all the swords and other weaponry that he would receive in the army. He had great thoughts of wearing the smart uniform and making those proud salutes.
- Word count: 3637
Austria-Hungary This was two merged nations, Austria and Hungary. This contained many different nationalities, which all wanted to be free of the leadership, and govern themselves. The empire was falling apart. Russia In 1900 Russia was the largest country in the world, but she was also one of the poorest. The Russian population was massive, but most of their number lived in the western segment of the country, hardly anybody lived in the sub-zero climate of Siberia. Russia was rich in minerals, such as: gold, oil, coal, and iron ore etc.
- Word count: 4104
It gives the idea it will be easy to cope with and that it will be fun. "the red crashing game of a fight" In this line the word 'Game is used again, the word fight in this means a small harmless fight. Pope does this as it makes the poem sound light hearted and persuasive. It makes the poem persuasive, as many people would want to join up for the war if it was how pope made it sound, 'like a Game'. Pope also uses words like "who'll grip and tackle the job" This language is normally associated in games.
- Word count: 3490
Compare and contrast attitudes to war illustrated in Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for the game?’ and Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce etDecorum est’ and ‘Disabled’.3 star(s)
He also wanted to obliterate the image of war created by war propaganda. Wilfred Owen particularly hated Jessie Pope because of her lighthearted attitude towards war portrayed in her poems. Wilfred Owen was finally machine-gunned to death a week before the armistice was signed. 'Who's for the Game?' was a poem written by Jessie Pope used as a piece of propaganda telling men to recruit. It exploits the fact that it was every man's duty to fight on behalf of his country.
- Word count: 3373
The title, Anthem for Doomed Youth', gives the first impression of the poem. An anthem is a song of praise, perhaps sacred, so we get the impression that the poem might me about something religious or joyous. However, the Anthem is for Doomed Youth is obviously negative. The title basically summarizes what the poem is; a mixture of thoughts related to religion and death, irony, and cynicism. The poem doesn't slowly start to focus on the point he's making: there is an immediacy of war with the usage of present tense. Plus, it starts with a rhetorical question.
- Word count: 3520