Attack, Anthem for Doomed Youth and Saving Private Ryan

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From your reading of the poems ‘Attack’, ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ and the viewing of the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ discuss the above statement. In your response you should quote examples from the poems and instances from the film. “With bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear, Men jostle and climb to meet the bristling fire. ” The above quote is taken from the poem ‘Attack’. This poem was based on the conditions and the harsh realities of World War 1, and the most well known feature of life in WWI were the soldiers in the trenches, trying to gain ground.

This quote gives the impressions of the soldiers with all their weapons and armour in a hurry to get out of the trenches. The bristling fire would probably have been caused by grenades being lobbed over from the enemies trench, and the soldiers would have been in a rush to escape the trench before fire came down it. The quote really does express the harsh reality of war and the dehumanizing things people had to go through to protect their country and the freedom of it.

The quote emphasizes the point ‘the real price of war is paid by individuals’ because it purely describes what men had to go through during the war, there’s no mention of tanks or machinery. “Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear, They leave their trenches, going over the top, While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists, And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists, Flounders in mud. O Jesu, make it stop! ” The above quote follows directly on from the previous one and is the ending to the poem ‘Attack’.

The previous quote described what men had to do during the war, whereas this quote focuses on how they feel about it and what the author thinks is the inevitability for the majority of the soldiers, death. The quote describes many terrified soldiers leaving their trenches. The author of this poem, Siegfried Sassoon, is trying to mention the importance of how there was very little point for the soldiers to carry on with life if they lost hope as it was hope that spurred them on and gave them the courage, confidence and commitment to convincingly complete their country’s challenging cause.

The language used gives an image of how time was precious because the majority of the soldiers didn’t have much of it left, and gives an image of a clock counting down to the death of the soldiers. A key point Siegfried Sassoon is trying to put across to the reader with his use of language is that war is not a glorious way to die, but merely a dehumanizing way due to the messy, dirty and inhumane conditions. “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? ” The above quote is the opening line of the poem ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. This resembles the soldiers to farm animals, being herded in and then slaughtered.

In turn, cattle don’t get funerals, and that could be another way to interpret ‘passing bells’. The question is rhetorical, which means it doesn’t require an answer, as it is more a statement than a question. There were several instances in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan‘ that stood out, and were precisely what life was like in war. Early on in the film, a man slipped as he and the rest of the soldiers were trying to gain ground. As he got back up, he got shot straight back down again, and the blood spilled out of his body like a river flooding its bank.

As one of the other soldiers went to check on him to see if there was any chance of his survival, he got shot down as well. He fell to the ground near the first soldier, and the blood poured from his body as well. The second soldier had been brave to check on the first soldier who was probably a friend, and death was the harsh price he paid. This is a fine example of ‘The real price of war is paid by individuals’ because it was these individuals who died, in one case a soldier died trying to save his country, in the other a soldier died trying to save him.

Also early in the film, as one of the soldiers was trying to fire at his enemy, a bullet hit his helmet. He was stunned, and removed his helmet to see if it had actually happened. Whilst he was checking his helmet, another bullet got him from exactly the same direction, except this time he had no helmet on and the bullet went straight into the head. Needless to say, he fell to the ground with bloody flowing from his head, with absolutely no chance of survival. The soldier was incredibly unlucky, and although this picture had been seen in a film, that film was based on fact, especially when it came to combat.

I would be surprised if a similar scene had not been a reality in one of the world wars. There were many instances in the film when it was very clear that the soldiers were proud of what they were doing, proud to be fighting for their country and for the good of the world. When Private James Ryan was found in the film, he was told that all his brothers had been killed in action and that they wanted him to leave and go back to his mother because the loss of all her children could have killed her in turn.

However, Ryan did not want to leave at all, and he refused to go instantly because he wanted to fulfill his duty, as he believed he had done nothing to deserve being forced into leaving. He was clearly proud of the job he was doing, and as far as he was concerned, the only way he would be leaving the battlefield would either be the end of the war, or if he died. The determination of this individual and millions of others was the reason why the allies won the war, and once again emphasizes ‘The real price of war is paid by individuals’.

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