First World War Poetry Assignment
The Fist World War was an exciting adventure for many people. Many young men considered it to be their duty to fight for their country. Going to war for many individuals was a portrayal of their bravery and loyalty. One poet- H. Begbie in his poem, Fall In mentions the freedom, joy and fullness of life those will achieve who join the war. A lot of propaganda poems/songs and posters were established during the war to help convince people going to war is a good thing. The main reason for the establishment of these propaganda posters/poems and songs were to persuade people to enlist.
A lot of individuals specifically young boys lied about age mainly because they were looking forward to showing their patriotism. Wives and mothers sacrificed their husbands and sons so they could also be part of the victory. It was common belief that it was going to be a short war so they were expecting to see their husbands and sons in a few months to celebrate the victory. The attractions (i. e. beautiful girls) of the smart uniform drew many men to enlist. Men enlisted for their glorious uniform even though they didn’t have any knowledge of the war.
The thought of the uniform bringing them respect and loyalty was great reason to join the war. Furthermore, it was also common belief that God was on their side so there was no doubt that they would for certain win – with God’s help. The British had a very small professional army and as a result the majority of people who fought were volunteers, this emphasizing that many men were keen and excited to join the war although most of them didn’t have any knowledge of the war, according to them they were looking forward to showing their patriotism.
Overall, many people decided to join the war (for various reasons) to emphasize their bravery, loyalty and for some it was a “sense of duty”. For others it was considered to bring freedom and joy. While some considered it as being an exciting adventure. Many were convinced to join the war by the influencing propaganda posters/poems and songs. For some the smart uniform brought them to join and for others it was common belief of it being a short war. For this assignment I will be studying the following war poetry: Fall In By Harold Begbie * Recruiting By E. A. Mackintosh * The Send-Off By Wilfred Owen * Dulce Et Decorum Est By Wilfred Owen * Mental Cases By Wilfred Owen I have chosen these particular poems for this assignment because each of the poems is about different stages during the war. For example Fall In- this poem is an example of propaganda poems, which were established during the war to help persuade people to enlist. Recruiting – this poem is against war and the poet uses sarcasm to convey this, to the reader.
The Send-Off is the stage during the war where all the soldiers leave their families and their home to go war. I found this particular poem very appealing because it emphasizes the atmosphere and scene of the departure very effectively. Furthermore, in the poem Dulce Et Decorum Est the poet highlights to us the abysmal situation the soldiers are in where they are in their horrible trenches awaiting. Finally, Mental Cases – I found this particular poem very touching and heart breaking because it’s about when the war has finished but the horrendous consequences haven’t.
I found this poem very disheartening because the poet uses very strong words and phrases to emphasize the severe condition of the innocent soldiers. Fall In by H. Begbie This poem is about the consequences certain men will face who decided not to join the war and who didn’t help take part in their country’s victory. The poem makes them feel guilty by talking about the awful consequences of not joining the war. The poet gives them a very effective image of what life will be like once the war is actually over, how miserable and embarrassing it will be if you weren’t involved.
The poet’s purpose in writing the poem was to help persuade people, men in particular to join the war or otherwise your life will simply be worthless and a complete misery. During the war many propaganda posters/songs and poems were established to help persuade and convince people going to war is a great and fascinating experience. Joining the war itself brought many rewards to the soldiers, it was a portrayal of their bravery and loyalty, the smart uniform drew quite a lot of attention girls in particular and for some being part of the victory was an intriguing reward.
The main message in this poem is if you join the war and help take part in the victory you will achieve many fascinating things i. e. respect and being able to show your patriotism. But on the other-hand if you don’t join the war you will for certain regret it and it will remain on your conscience for the rest of your miserable and embarrassing life. When the brave soldiers who fought for their country’s victory return home they will have gained respect and honour for their portrayal of bravery and loyalty and they will share their extraordinary experience with their dear family and friends.
But those who didn’t join the war and weren’t brave enough to fight for their country will be an embarrassment and will be laughed/joked about as they walk down their street for being a cowardice. The poet’s tone of voice is very serious, angry and persuasive in a particular manner. I think the poet’s tone of voice is serious because he feels very strongly about the war in particularly about joining and fighting for your country. The poet uses a lot of emotive language very effectively throughout the poem making you feel guilty and giving us the impression that he is angry and feels very strongly against the men who didn’t join the war.
For example in the third verse the poet talks the cold winter nights, when you’ll be sitting by the “warm cosy fire” (After The War Has Finished) what will you do when people talk about the war and their memories/experiences of what happened and what it was like/ what they did. You will fear of embarrassment/guiltiness and feel like an outcast. You won’t be able to share these valuable, brave memories because you weren’t there, instead you’d wish you were invisible at such embarrassing moments because you became a coward when your country most needed you. The poet tone of voice is very persuasive.
The poet assures you that life after the war will be a complete misery if you don’t join. The poet’s tone of voice tries to persuade people to go to war and that going to is rewarding in many ways. I particularly find the poem very influencing because one significant message is portrayed in the poem very effectively, which reads, “If you join the war and fight for your country you’re brave, loyal and an honour and if you don’t you’re a coward”. Furthermore, the poem is addressed to men, who are capable of fighting, men who have the opportunity to show their patriotism, bravery and loyalty to the nation.
We know for a fact that the poem relates to the men, this can be shown in the first verse where the following phrase emphasizes this “what will you lack sonny, what will you lack”. The word “sonny” refers to the men. There are many images of war, which are presented to us. Most of the images of the war in this poem are positive. For e. g. throughout the poem the poet talks about the wonderful life you will achieve once the war is over, your life will be filled with happiness, freedom and joy and there’s no mention of you dying so you’re in no danger.
Basically, the image of war, which I am conveyed with from this particular poem is if you join the war and fight for your country there is no chance of you being hurt or even being killed but as a result you will gain a huge amount of respect, loyalty and you will be an honour to your country. But on the other-hand if you don’t join you will loose everything, your respect and loyalty. From this poem I am given the impression that war is a great thing and it is an honour just to be involved.
The poet makes a clear statement of opinion but this is not actually written in the poem but when having read and studied the poem the reader will realise that there is one clear statement, which is emphasized. The statement is as follows; “if you join the war and fight for your country you’re brave, loyal and an honour and if you don’t then simply you’re a COWARD and an embarrassment. There are certain words and phrases in the poem that emphasize this statement. Words and phrases such as verse 1 “will you send a strangled cheer to the sky. And grin fill your cheeks are red?
But what will you lack when your mate goes by with a girl who cuts dead? “. The above phrase emphasizes the things you will miss out on and not have because you didn’t join the war. There are many words, which have been deliberately chosen to have a particular effect on us and make us think about the war in a particular way. Words such as God, which is, used in verse 3 and 4. Many believed that God took a major part in the war because it was common belief that God was on their side so there was no doubt, that they would for certain win- with God’s help.
There are many techniques, which the poet uses in order to make the tone of the poem and their purpose in writing it clear and obvious to us, poetic techniques such as the rhythmical structure. In this particular poem we can see the type of rhythmical structure used here is the dactylic and trochaic Tetrameters. This means that the two stresses are on the key words and this also makes it more memorable. This can be shown in the first verse of this poem: What will you lack sonny, what will you lack, when the girls line up the street
The final way in which the poet makes this a very persuasive poem is that it has an ABAB rhyme scheme. Recruiting By E. A. Mackintosh This poem is about men going to war and how in the poet’s opinion more men enlisting is factually making matters worse. This particular poem emphasizes that going to war has extremely awful consequences. The poet talks about going to war and the negative affects of war. The poet describes how so many posters and songs were established and created during the war, to help persuade and convince people to go to war.
Numerous amount of propaganda posters/poems and songs were created to help influence people to go to war but this particular poet’s opinion and attitude toward these propaganda posters/poems were negative he described them as “weak”. Fundamentally, the poet didn’t find them very encouraging or positive. Indeed the poet has a very negative attitude towards the people who created and established these propaganda posters/songs; he refers to them as “fat Civilians”. The poem is written in a very sarcastic manner and emphasizes even death as ordinary and normal.
The poet portrays to us the very realistic and terrible consequences which war can lead to. The poet’s purpose in writing the poem was to help persuade and convince people, men in particular that joining the war would simply be ending your life. The poet doesn’t feel very strongly about the patriotic posters/ songs. He describes them as ‘weak’ and not very serious. He mentions in the poem that they have received the message, there’s no need for weak patriotic poems/songs. In Mackintosh’s opinion joining the war is just simply making matters worse.
This is portrayed in the following phrase; “Go and help to swell the names in the casualty lists”. The poet gives me the impression that war simply means death and the consequences of war are extreme, tormenting but very realistic. The poet’s tone of voice is sarcastic because throughout the poem he makes everything seem normal and ordinary. The poet is being very sarcastic, especially in the last three verses where he emphasizes even death as ordinary and normal-“come and die”. In my opinion by being sarcastic the poet is making the poem more effective. He portrays everything as normal, ordinary and realistic which indeed in a manner it is.
Death is a very huge possibility during the war and it is a very realistic issue. The poet talks about even death as ordinary and normal, which I think it is quite effective, the more men join the war the greater, the possibility of the increase in the number of deaths occurring during the war. As the increase in the number of deaths grows people will begin to come to terms with death and as a result death will be a common thing and not soon it will become normal and ordinary if people don’t stop joining. I think the poet’s tone of voice is also persuasive.
The poet uses certain words and phrases, which are very strong which I think help influence and persuade people that joining the war is making matters worse, i. e. “come and die” -these words are very strong but also very influencing and so give us the impression that going to war s simply about dying. The poem is addressed to men who may be considering joining the war. This is revealed to us by the following phrase i. e. verse 1 ” Lad’s you’re wanted, go and help”. The images of war that we are presented with are negative. The majority of the images give us a negative impression of the war, i. . “fat civilians wishing they could go and fight the Hun, can’t you see them thanking the lord that they’re over forty-one? ”
This phrase emphasizes to us how many are grateful they are over the age-limit to join, this emphasizing that they were grateful they weren’t involved. We are also given the impression that joining the war is factually making matters worse, i. e. “go and help swell the names in the casualty lists”. Another image of war that, I am portrayed with is in the last three verse where the poet’s message is that basically men are needed so come, fight and die.
The poet’s makes it very clear that if you join the war you will for certain die. The poet makes a clear statement of opinion which is emphasized throughout the poem several times, which reads as follows, “lad’s you’re wanted come and die”. The meaning of this particular statement is simple if you join the war you will be helping to increase the casualty lists and making matters worse. The poem also has a very strong rhythm: it is in Trochaic Tetrameter, so this makes the poem easier to read and remember. The poet uses very strong and effective words such as; blasted, martyrdom, sacrifice and poor devils.
These are effective because they exaggerate the point he is trying to make, by creating a stronger image. Also he creates a strong image of the actual war; ” more poor devils like yourselves, waiting to be killed by you” and “help swell the names in the casualty lists”. These all show the truth about the “exciting, patriotic adventure”. The Send-Off By Wilfred Owen This particular poem describes the leaving scene, when the soldiers get ready to leave their homes, families for the war. The poem describes the departure as a very dull and emotional scene.
The poem gives us a negative impression of the war and its negative affects. The poet describes to us how the soldier’s chests were covered with flowers as though they were dead. This suggesting a very negative atmosphere as though they’re dead men. The last verse portrays to us how the soldiers were ashamed of being involved in the war because they weren’t bragging about their bravery and patriotism while the other half of them were their dear beloved friends/family were lying dead. The poet’s purpose in writing the poem was to emphasize to people that war is a bad thing and the only outcome of war is death.
The poet’s attitude towards war is negative. Death seems to be mentioned a lot in Wilfred Owen poems. This poem suggests that the outcome of war was grim for the vast majority of the soldiers but those who came home would return home injured or dead. This poem was written to show the difference between the images of a heroic send-off, as imagined by many, the truth of what the send-off the soldiers received was actually like, and how the soldiers felt. The quote below shows us that Wilfred Owen saw “The Send-Off” as a funeral.
The quote leads you to get the impression that death is mocking the flowers and spray and turning them into flowers and spray for funerals. “Nor there if they yet mock what women meant Who gave them flowers The quote; “shall they return to beating of great bells”. Throughout the poem, Owen refers to the soldiers as “they”, because they aren’t trained professional soldiers, but ordinary men with no idea how to control themselves in a war situation. ” They” is more realistic and portrays the men as ordinary, normal human beings and not brave heroes.
In the seventh stanza of the poem it almost sounds as though they are asking a question; “will they return”. I think this portrays to us that Wilfred Owens view of war was from a personal experience, which also tells us that he hated the war and observed it as a grim affair. The following quote emphasizes to us that the men are dead as soon as they get on to the train. “Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray, as men’s are dead” The next phrase has an oxymoron in it Grimly gay. “And lined the train with the faces grimly gay”
By the above phrase Owen portrays to us that the soldiers that are lining up for the train are happy but this shadowed by the fact that they are going to war and may not be coming back and they have been sent off into the unknown. “We never heard to which front these were sent” Pictures of death are also painted in the poem “the Send-off” and I think Owen is trying to put forward the idea that when you are Sent -Off you never come back. The poet uses repetition in the second last verse; “A few, a few too few for drums and yells, may creep back silent to village wells”.
The repetition is also used for emphasis and to make Owens message as clear and obvious that only some men may return. This poem also has a rhyme scheme ABAAB and this makes the poem more memorable. The rhythm is Dactylic Pentameter which makes it much more interesting to read. Dulce Et Decorum Est By Wilfred Owen In the poem, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen, the World War 1 era is reflected through the poet’s use of vivid imagery and poetic techniques. The poem itself presents a blunt impression of the world. The poem addresses the falsehood, that war is glorious.
Dulce Et Decorum Est tells the story of a poison gas attack on the trench. One soldier doesn’t get his gas mask on in time, and the gas slowly poisons his lungs and finally kills him. It is a slow agonizing death not only for the poor innocent soldier but also for his fellow soldiers who are in this helpless situation. These events are taking place in the front-line trenches and in no man’s land. Owen observed this event; he describes and portrays it in detail of sound, sight and smell (etc) of what exactly happened. There are some very strong images created in this poem using similies and metaphors, e. . Like Old Beggars Under Sacks”and “Incurable sores on innocent tongues” These are all very powerful images and it succeeds in horrifying the readers to prove how torturous and merciless war is. The tone of the poem is reflected in these images. The poem emphasizes the futility and pointlessness of war. The graphic and horror of war is presented through a series of images, which are designed to demolish the notion of war being a patriotic and meaningful adventure. Owen creates two powerful images aimed at discouraging the mere thought of war by its emotionally distressing descriptions.
The poet helps this by precisely describing the surroundings and encouraging particularly sinister and dark emotions to surface. Owen suggests that men who are sent to fight are being sent to their death. The futility of war is shown in the first part of the poem where we see the soldiers, fatigued and wounded, returning to base camp when a gas attack is launched on them: ‘Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots but limped on, blood-shod.
All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots… Gas! Gas! Quick boys! The image of the lone soldier dying ‘awakens’ the minds of the people who read the poem to the reality of war as being a terrifyingly sad way for young people to die, and that ideology of patriotism and honour is the cause of such sickening circumstance. Owen is, effectively, placing the blame of the war’s consequences squarely on the shoulders of the society that supports it. The language in this poem is quite simple yet vivid, encouraging the reader to understand the situation and to be emotionally ‘awakened’ in the process.
There are many poetic techniques used by Owen, which encourage and support the main challenge to the typical attitudes of the time. He uses similes such as, ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,’ and, ‘bitter as the cud,’ to familiarise the situation to the reader and to focus on the disgusting truth of war. These similes simplify the theme of his poem without reducing its effect, and make the poem easier to understand. The alliteration of the letter ‘s’ such as in ‘sick of sin’ also works well to this anti-war message as the ‘s’ sound is usually identified to stealth and maliciousness.
The hyphen joining compound epithets ‘knock-kneed’ and ‘blood-shod’, where we again see the use of alliteration, describe the physical condition of the soldiers quickly and effectively, and allowing the reader to easily picture the soldiers in their mind. These techniques work together to easily present the themes to the reader in an understandable way. Wilfred Owen’s extremely powerful poem, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ thoroughly criticises the ideology of war being ‘a sweet and glorious way to die, fighting for one’s country’.
With powerful imagery and simple language, Owen allows the poem to be understood by the reader at large so as to influence as many people as possible. The power of ideology is revealed and condemned by Owen’s writing of poetry and war is appropriately presented as the hideous thing it is. The last line “Dulce Et decorum Est Pro patria mori”, which is Latin and means, ” it is sweet and fitting to die for ones country” is called a lie. Mental Cases by Wilfred Owen This poem describes the traumatising life of the soldiers, after the war.
The poem portrays to us how negatively the war has traumatised and affected so many of the soldiers. Owen describes to us how the very realistic consequences of war have destroyed so many young innocent lives even when the war is over the memories/experiences are left to torture them. The war disabled many of the soldiers not only physically but also sadly mentally. This poem emphasizes to the reader how the horrid war experience tortures the innocent soldiers. Each day is like a new wound being opened leading to pain and suffering. Everything they see is full of blood constantly reminding them of their horrid experience.