How does Rodger McGoughs Poetry support the concept that nobody wins nuclear war?

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How does Rodger McGough’s Poetry support the concept that “nobody wins nuclear war”?

Throughout the poems “Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with infantrymen”, “Noah’s Arc” and “Icarus Allsorts”, a bleak picture for mankind’s future after a nuclear war is painted. An almost desolate and chaotic existence is what McGough foresees as the aftermath, and these poems are effective at showing the futileness of fighting a nuclear war, given the ramifications, and absolute destruction of the war. Using absurdity, inversion, black imagery, dramatic irony as well as rhythm and rhyme, these three poems have created a strong argument that “nobody wins nuclear war”.

“Noah’s Arc”, a poem about a man obsessing over preparing for a nuclear war, is a very absurd as it shows the futileness of preparing for a “life, after death”. The audience is able to see that the persona within the poem, the man, has been driven completely insane by his obsession, as, “My wife…god bless her…”, which highlights his unstable mental state, becoming delusional about living through the war. The persona realizes his children do not share his ideas, and then begins to absurdly think his children “regard extinction (nuclear war) as the boring concern of grownups…like divorce and accountancy…”, thus showing that he is going completely insane, and it can then be seen that by attempting to ‘win’ the war by surviving, he is in fact losing – his sanity. This however, is in stark contrast to the poem, “Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with Infantrymen”, where the persona is an innocent small child, quite oblivious to the destruction of a nuclear war around him.

“Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with infantrymen” conveys a confronting message of the horrors and destruction following a nuclear war, and that the world can completely collapse into chaos around those who try to survive. The persona, a small child, is used and a ‘childish’ tone is employed to allow the reader to sympathise with the child, and to understand his plight. Repetition of “Mother…” allows for the audience to realize the child is all alone, and many audiences can relate to the feeling of losing a loved one. The child then asks his mother to, quite absurdly “…polish your identity bracelet” – all the while staring at a “…mushroom cloud in the back garden”. The audience is able to see the absurdity and black imagery, of complete desolation and destruction, surrounding an innocent child, whose mother has died but ironically, only the audience knows this; which allows the audience to share empathy for the child, and to understand the poem’s message that no one can win nuclear war, as it is so filled with horrors and destruction, that there is no room for survival. Directly opposed to this emotionally charged poem’s imagery, is that of the poem, “Icarus Allsorts”, which depicts an arrogant and ignorant general starting a nuclear war.

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“Icarus Allsorts” portrays a nuclear war, using sing-song rhyme and rhythm, “A littlebit of heaven fell \ out the sky one day”, to create an absurdly relaxed and childish atmosphere, which allows for a large scope of audiences to be reached with the meaning of the poem. The poem conveys an image that nuclear war can be triggered by incompetent authorities who shouldn’t be in control of it, “The general at the radar screen \ Rubbed his hands with glee”. The audience is encouraged to be shocked at the ignorance of the general. The fact that in the end, ...

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