Although Rupert Brooke and Jessie Pope both had positive views of the war, they wrote their poetry for different reasons and had different attitudes towards the war. Rupert Brooke wrote his for himself and did not write it for propaganda purposes. He took the view that the war was an exciting new event, not because of the killing but because at war he believed there was peace. Nevertheless, because there had not been a major European war for a century, people had forgotten about war. Also that there were many shameful things in the Edwardian era and this was their chance to get some pride and honour back for themselves and for the country. He thanked God for creating the war and said that now the British people have something to do that was adventurous, exciting and honourable. However Jessie Pope was very much a propaganda poet and tried to encourage people to join the army though her poetry. She wrote purposefully to make more people sign up. She did this very cleverly by using a good choice of vocabulary. For example she uses words that make it sound so tempting like 'the biggest that's played' and "Who wants a turn in the show." Her poetry also has a very good rhyme that gives unity to a verse. It uses juxtaposition because it relates war to a game. Both of these writers were very enthusiastic for the war as it had just started and they had no idea what it was like in the trenches being bombarded with shells as both of these poets wrote these poems in the safety of the Home Front.
Wilfred Owen was very much against the poetry of Jessie Pope and of propaganda in general. This is no secret. The poem 'Dulce et Docrum Est' was first addressed to Jessie Pope. This is a very blunt poem about life in the trenches. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is told in first person to give the poem a greater effect. Wilfred Owen immediately throws the writer in at the deep end as to what life was like in the trenches. This gets the message across stronger. The first two lines immediately take the honour out of war because the soldiers have lost everything their dignity, health and youth. The first line 'Bent double, like old beggars under sacks.' Is a simile and is opposing Jessie Pope who said this was just a game.
In the second paragraph the tempo increases as the soldiers frantically try to put their gas masks on and when one person fails to do this in time he gives a very graphic explanation. He does this by saying 'And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.' Wilfred Owen makes an immediate separation between the dying soldier and himself. This is shown metaphorically. Owen refers to the sea metaphorically showing the strength of the ocean or in this case, the gas. He infers that you are powerless against the gas. This is shown by 'as under a green sea I see him drowning'. This paragraph is showing the ease of death on the front. One shell of gas can kill a person in an instant and he is powerless against it. This personalised view makes the death of the soldier have a far greater effect. The third paragraph is very powerful and it is saying that Wilfred Owen will never forget that moment and that the man can never be replaced. However the army generals use the men as pieces in a game, but it is somebody's life. This is why Wilfred Owen dislikes Jessie Pope. She is saying that war is just a game however it is not and many people died in the First World War. In the final paragraph, Wilfred Owen takes an immediate shot at Jessie Pope by saying 'you too could pace' and 'if you could hear'. It is trying to say that they should not be able to write about the war when they do not have a clue about the consequences of her poetry. Sarcastically Owen calls the pro-war poet my friend; this implies a fellow poet, Jessie Pope, rather than an actual friend. Being referred to as friend will not offend the pro-war poet yet it shows their responsibility to tell the truth and their adverse effect on the youth. Wilfred Owen named his poem after a well known Latin phrase 'Dulce et Docrum est' which means 'It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country.' This is basically Jessie Pope's attitude towards the war. At the end of the poem, he calls this 'the old lie.' Wilfred Owen tells of his horrific experiences, Dulce et Decorum est shows his true feelings, from the soul of the poet. The poem explicitly portrays the truth about war and a stunning example is given of the terrible death caused by gas. Alliteration is used to emphasise the hideous state of an individual and the overall predicament of certain pro-war society. This is shown when it says 'knock-kneed, coughing like hags.' This poem demands more from the reader, yet the message is clear. Hidden meanings of Dulce et Decorum est make the poem far superior to that of the ignorant pro-war poets. This makes the message more effective.
'Disabled' was another poem written by Wilfred Owen designed to astonish people back home about what life was truly like in the trenches. It focuses on an under age army officer who has been severely injured in the war and now sits in a wheelchair reminiscing about the past. The first paragraph talks about how he is completely dependent on others and when he wakes up, he looks forward to the end of the day. 'Waiting for dark' shows this. He left because he thought war was good and honourable. However he soon found out the hard way of the harsh reality of life in the trenches, saying that war has wrecked his life and he has become a victim of war. Wilfred Owen has made this character up. However this is a true story for many people in the war. Wilfred Owen talks about the past by saying 'voices of boys rang saddening' and 'voices of play and pleasure.' He says that war has taken this away from this lad as he joined up for the war and has missed out on some of his childhood as he cannot do anything for himself. The second paragraph states 'the town used to swing.' Related to the word swing is mobility, which is what this person cannot do anymore as he has lost the use of his legs. So, if he has no mobility there is no independence, as he cannot do anything himself. It also says 'before he threw away his knees.' This shows that he regretted joining the army as he threw away the use of his knees by doing so. Wilfred Owen has made it so that he would much prefer the use of his knees as his life is so different in a wheelchair. 'All of them touch him like a queer disease.' Wilfred Owen is talking about the girls and the lack of knowledge of the people that cannot even begin to imagine what it was like in the trenches. The third paragraph talks about how the lad went in a young man and came out a very old man when actually he was still young but since he had lost the use of his back and legs it had taken many years off his life. In the fourth paragraph, he talks about his motives for joining under age. However, the ease in which he was allowed to become a soldier was quite disturbing as the recruitment office knew his age but still allowed him to throw his life away in the trenches. At the end of the paragraph he talks about his false deception of the war. He thought it was all very noble with 'smart salutes' and it was not like he expected at all. In the fifth paragraph Owen talks about war with a comparison to a game so he says that when the soldiers returned home the people at home felt that they had to cheer for all the suffering and pain the soldier had been through. This is shown when it says ' Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheered a goal.' In the final paragraph Owen is talking about the life after war for the injured soldiers 'six years in institutes' and not women as women are only interested in 'strong men that were whole.' The recovery, however, for many victims of war and the struggle for survival lasted much longer than the actual war as it shows at the end 'why don't they come?'
There are many different reasons for their difference in attitudes and opinions as the pro-war poems. The ones written by Jessie Pope and Rupert Brooke were written at the start of the war in 1914 and 1915 when many people thought it would not last very long. However when Wilfred Owen wrote his in 1917 and 1918 the war had been going on for four years and neither side looked like winning. Wilfred Owen did not like Jessie Pope, as she was oblivious of the hideous situation into which young men were being sent helped by her poetry.
These three different poets all had different reasons for writing what they wrote. Wilfred Owen was affected emotionally by the war and this is shown in his work. He states things very graphically to give a vivid picture and he does not leave much to the imagination. Jessie Pope encouraged people join the army. This is shown very much in her unique style of writing. Rupert Brooke was also pro-war like Jessie Pope however, he was not writing to encourage people to join. The irony is that Jessie Pope and Rupert Brooke had never actually seen the trenches and were very inexperienced about war. They did not have an eye witness account like Wilfred Owen. That experience resulted in being negative towards war.
Chris Heseltine 10BW English Coursework