"Suicide in the trenches" was written in 1917 and is a very emotional peom.
"Suicide in the trenches" was written in 1917 and is a very emotional peom. It is about the sorrow, haterid and all the horrors that the war may have placed upon an innocent young boy, forcing him to kill himself. No-one should die a death like that, as the "Suicide in the trenches" is expressing the sadness of this tragedy.
Most of Siegfried Sassoons poetry was directed against war. He used tended to use alot of his WW1 experience to influence his peotry, and was eplgrammatic and satrical in nature. This poem is depressing, and it seems to have a scary atmosphere towards it, because the young soldier sadly put a bullet through his head.
No Similies, metaphores or personification were found in this poem, though some forms of alliteration were found.
Siegfried Sassoon was born on 8th September 1886 at Weirleigh, near Paddock Wood in Kent. After attending Marlborough College he went to Clare College, but left without a degree. For the next few years, Sassoon lived as a country gentleman. He spent his time hunting, playing sports and writing poetry, which was Published privately.
Sassoon enlisted as a cavalry trooperin, Sussex WW1. Later, he became an officer, and was posted to the Western Front in France. In June 1916 Siegfried was awarded the Military Cross for bringing a wounded man back to the British lines while being attacked. Siegfried was later sent to hospital during the war for shell shock. He officially retired in 1919 from injuries. During his time in hospital he met fellow english writer, Wilfred Owen.
Some of Sassoons other peotry he has written are 'The death bed', 'they', 'counter attack', 'does it matter',and 'The daffodil murder'.
Siegfried Sassoon later died in 1967.
With the war against Iraq currently taking place it is interesting to look at the poems written by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were soldiers in World War I. They were both anti-war and this is expressed in their poems. Sometimes they wrote together but their styles are quite different. Wilfred Owen's poems are long and have more than one message. Sassoon's poems are shorter and are more to the point.
Wilfred Owen's poem `Exposure' tells us how the soldiers are exposed to the weather, the enemy and the lies they have been told about war. The poem suggests that the weather is more of an enemy than the people they are supposed to be fighting. They fear the weather more than they fear being shot by the enemy. They believe that they will go home dead. `Our ghosts drag home'. They question their belief in God because they feel like they are no different to dirt out in the trenches. `Tonight this frost will fasten on his mud and us'.
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The weather is personified to make us feel like the wind is attacking them. `...Iced east winds that knive us'. Alliteration is used to show that the soldiers are whispering while they are waiting. `Silence, sentries, whispering, curious, nervous'. `But nothing happens.' This line is repeated in the poem to emphasize that they are just waiting.
`Disabled' also by Wilfred Owen tells us about the victims of war who are severely wounded. The poem challenges recruitment poems such as `Who's for the game?' by Jessie Pope which says `who would rather come back with a crutch, than lie low and be out of the fun?' Owens poem is saying that this is untrue and disabled people are treated `like some queer disease'. The character in the poem is referred to as `he' implying that it could be anyone. He thought that fighting in the war would impress `his Meg'. He now thinks about the past and he is resentful about when he `threw away his knees'. He had `no fears of Fear' then. This personification of fear is saying that he wasn't really interested in fighting for his country, he just wanted to be a hero and `carried shoulder high'. Now he just wants to die.
Siegfried Sassoon's poem `suicide in the trenches' is short and to the point. It tells of a `simple soldier boy', innocent and carefree, who commits suicide to the war. The soldier enjoyed life but in the trenches he was `cowed and glum'. The second verse is shorter than the other two and its last line `He put a bullet in his brain' does not fit into the rhyme scheme. This is to emphasize what happened and to make you think about it more. It shocks the reader. The last verse is targeted at people who are ignorant of what is really happening, `you smug-faced crowds'. He says they won't have to experience `the hell where youth and laughter go'
`Does it matter', also by Sassoon is targeted at soldiers who think it is right to fight in the war. The poem is sarcastic towards the soldiers and saying that it does not matter to get injured in war. The repetition of the question `does it mater?' tries to provoke people to think about what the soldiers are doing. He says that it will affect the soldiers' whole lives when the war ends. `There's such splendid work for the blind'. People won't care about them being injured from war and this challenges what the recruitment poems say. `And no-one will worry a bit' about how they `fought for your country'. The soldiers can `drink and forget and be glad'.
I found it interesting to look at the war poetry because it made me think more about the war in Iraq. Owen make us understand that war is not `fun' and not a `game'. Sassoon's poems also give this effect in a shorter clear message.
Attack" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth"
The Great War of 1914-1918 produced some outstanding poets, those who had experienced exactly what had happened during those dreadful times on the front line, even those who had died in action. Two of these amazing poets were Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.
The pair met in Craiglockhart Hospital in 1917, there they were both being treated for "shell shock". Sassoon was an established and published author and poet, of 31 years old. Owen was a great follower of Sassoon's work and once he heard that he and Sassoon were convalescing in the same hospital, he decided to introduce himself. During this first meeting Owen, 24, mentioned that he had written some amateur poetry as a way of expressing himself in the trenches. From this point on grew a short, yet strong friendship and relationship between mentor and student. Sassoon guided Owen's writing, helping with such poems as "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and "Dulce et Decorum est". Due to this guidance Owen's early writing style was very similar to that of Sassoon, later he created his own style and approach to war.
Two great poems by these related poets are "Anthem for Doomed Youth" by Wilfred Owen and "Attack" by Siegfried Sassoon. These two poems are based around war, though they are to do with different aspects of the war.
"Attack" by Siegfried Sassoon was seen as a very unpatriotic poem at the time it was written. People were used to reading "Jolly-ho chaps, we're off to war, how jolly fun for us!" Attack was slightly different. It shows the reader how war really was, and in reality it was truly horrifying. Seeing dead bodies scattered around No Man's Land, unsanitary, cramped conditions, fear and terror in place of bravery and heroism.
This poem is rather bitter, not surprising, seeing what Sassoon had experienced during the war. In November 1915, Sassoon's brother Hamo, was killed brutally at Gallipoli and later buried at sea. It didn't stop there though, another close friend and fellow officer, David Thomas was killed. Naturally, these losses troubled Sassoon deeply. He was utterly determined to "get his revenge". This determination drove him to do some totally crazy things, for example, he used to go out on patrol in No Man's Land even when there were no raids planned. These mad feats earned Sassoon the nickname "Mad Jack". Understandably, he saw the war as a cruel and terrible thing. A lot of his mid-war and post-war poetry reflects that. Attack is just one.
This poem is obviously about the attacks that took place almost every day in which hundred and thousands were killed. This is a real life, first-hand experience of this type of attack. There are a lot of graphic images coming through in this poem. It leaves you feeling scared, horrified and guilty. Scared and horrified of what the soldiers were going into, running or even walking into machine-gun fire that was almost certainly going to kill them. It makes you imagine being there, the thoughts running through your head. There is a very good line in this poem that I think portrays the solemn atmosphere. "While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists,"
I think this line represents the fact these soldiers know their time is up, it is probably the last time they will see one another or any other person. It really sets the reader thinking about what they'd do in these men's positions. Personally, I don't think I could've coped with it at all, knowing that I was going to die in a few seconds if I was lucky, not having lived my life, not telling my family I loved them and not knowing what was going to happen if I did survive. I would've broken down, like many men in that position did. Many men killed themselves before they even got out of the trenches, many were shot because they refused to go over and many were put to death because they were going crazy.
I think the way in which Sassoon depicts this situation is very effective, it really gets across what it would be like in that situation. The horrendous conditions, the fear of what would and could happen, the crazed faces all around"...with furtive eyes..."
How many people could stand to be surrounded by insanity? How many could survive knowing that they were probably soon to be in that situation? How many could face to meet their deaths? I know I couldn't. Could you?
"Anthem for Doomed Youth" is a little different. It is a very powerful, very touching, less angered poem about the roles young men played in the war. It conveys the ghastly ways in which these young men died. They died with no dignity, no honour and no pride. They were viciously killed, with no remorse, to make a point. The effective thing about the poem is it makes the reader realise these men died for their countries, they died to save us, they died with no choice, they died for all these causes and yet they had no official funeral, no tribute, no remembrance.
I think the reason this poem is so effective is because it has a lot of imagery in it, making the reader feel as if they are there, in the trenches with these young soldiers. It's as if you can see how they died. What would it feel like to be a relative of these youths, some who had lied about their ages just to serve, and not having anything to remember them by, not being able to say your last goodbye?
The literary devices also make it a great poem. The whole poem is a metaphor, the idea of the soldiers' funerals being the battlefields. "The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells," The only funeral choir that these soldiers get is the wailing shells. They get no angelic voices of choirboys, only the ear-piercing shriek of a falling shell. This is not only personification, but also onomatopoeia. There are some of very effective onomatopoeic words in this poem, "stuttering", describing the sounds of machine-guns and rifles. There are also many very good adjectives, "monstrous anger" being just one example.
Another very good literary device that Owen uses is rhetorical questions at the beginning of the two stanzas. "What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?" This is a very successfully used linguistic device, it makes you think. What did these men get in return for their services? Nothing. They died quickly, no self-reproach from those who killed, not thoughts about that person's life. Nothing. The second stanza opens with...
"What candles may be help to speed them all?" This takes the reader back to the religious meaning of the poem. Candles are, traditionally held at a funeral, but what do these men get instead of candles? Nothing. This poem, I feel is more effective than Siegfried Sassoon's "Attack".
"Anthem for Doomed Youth" seems to hit closer to home with me. I think it may be to do with the fact that he wrote about these youths that were doomed from the beginning. Soldiers from the ages of 13 or 14, to the ages of 22-24. It seems scary to think that some of my classmates would have been fighting in the war, my brothers, my cousins, my father. Also, the fact that Owen died young, at the age of 25, a week before armistice, I feel as if he is also a doomed youth. He hadn't lived his life. It seems sad to think that all those people died, goodness knows what they could've done with their lives. Owen's work may have continued, he could have been an amazing poet. But he died. He died to make a point, like the rest of them. These wonderful lives were destroyed and ruined at such a young age, and that to me seems to bring the poem alive more than Sassoon's "Attack".