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From studying The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry and Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks compare the changing relationships between those on the front line and those at home as the war progressed.

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Introduction

From studying The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry and Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks compare the changing relationships between those on the front line and those at home as the war progressed. The Great War which started in 1914 and ended in 1918 is known for being a literary war. One reason for this is that there was mass volunteering needed and literature in the form of posters etc was a good way of appealing to eligible men to join the army. Another form of literature which unraveled from the war was war poems. These poems were mostly written by soldiers on the front line to help boost their morale. Also writing poems was a form of escape from the war. I will go on to look at various war poems and literature from numerous writers and compare and contrast the changing relationship between those on the front line and those at home. It is apparent in the majority of poems in 'The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry' that there is a clear separation between those at war and those at home. ...read more.

Middle

Sorely wants people to know the true reality of war when he says 'say not soft things as other men have said'. Sorely showed his opposition to poems that portrayed the war effort as patriotic and romantic. Sorley had criticised Rupert Brooke's poem 'The Solider' for being too generalised and not true to life. Sorely uses the words 'gashed heads' and 'nor honour' to help the reader get an insight into war conditions. Sorely also criticised those at home for pointlessly mourning for men who's 'blind eyes see not your tears'. Sorely goes on to state 'It is easy to be dead' meaning that conditions were so horrific that most men wished they had died instead of living on with the memories. Sorely wants the reader to realise that war is very impersonal. He portrayed this by showing how it was difficult to find 'one face that you loved' in the 'o'ercrowded mass'. This sight contradicted what those at home believed war to be like. Edward Thomas began writing poetry after enlisting with the artists rifles in 1915. Thomas like Wilfred Owens showed great hostility towards the English media. ...read more.

Conclusion

So yet again the English public failed those men who went to fight for King and Country. The drastic change to soldiers can be helped understood when Isabelle explains how Stephen has 'changed almost beyond recognition'. It is clear that as the war progressed the attitudes of many of the soldiers changed. The patriotism and high morale that was felt at the start of the war had soon turned into hate and angriness not towards the Germans but towards at home. Poems like Edward Thomas's 'This is no case of petty right or wrong' and Wilfred Owens 'Apologia Pro Poemate Meo' highlight the ignorance of the English public. They show how the public was so naive to believe the media. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks also highlights this issue. Birdsong also shows how the public failed to empathise with the 'passive beings' that returned from war and often distancing themselves from them. This issue is not highlighted in any of the war poems I studied and so Birdsong proved vital for my understanding of the war. After studying both it is difficult not to feel a sense of pity and sorrow toward these men and a sense of anger and disgust towards the English public. It is therefore easy to conclude that the public outbursts by Sassoon and Owens were justified. ...read more.

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