In Literature, we read the poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. We had to analyze the poem stanza by stanza and also, answer some questions about the poet and about war poetry. I did this with Maria Roggero.
War poetry (task 2)
We then had to analayze two different poems… Here is the analysis.
Author: Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)
In this poem, it is expressed an attractive picture of death to the weary and battered soldier. Death is presented as a restful sleep where all the stresses and strains of marital life drift off to nothingness.
The opening stanza sets up this scene of comfort that death represents, before we move onto a description of the disharmony and discord of warfare. The final stanza is quite a forceful argument that the soldier should give up his fight.
strewing – spreading untidily;
slumber – a deep, restful sleep;
toil – tiring work;
war-steed – a horse;
pibroch – Scottish bagpipe music typically used in the military;
reveillé – a bugle call used to wake soldiers.
Tone: calming & relaxing, reflective, dream.
The poem tackles in the First World War, occurs at that time and deals with that situation and all of what that implies.
This poem constant makes reference that soldiers need to sleep, to rest because of war. They are tired, exhausted, concerned, so the writer uses the term “Rest” as a metaphor for time, as dying. In this poem, thee word “Rest” can be understood as “Die”. They prefer to die, rather than live surrounded by suffering and by pain.
It is possible to say that the poem “invites” soldiers to die, since death is not described and seen as if it is not feared, but rather welcomed.
The Death Bed
Author → Siegfried Sassoon. He wrote the poem during his service in the Second World War.
This poem shows at the soldier at a hospital bed rather than fighting in the actual war. There are constant flashbacks to the war situation, there are constant reviving moments and episodes of war. The poem can be understood in two different ways → Literally and Metaphorically.
Literary → the voice is in hospital after being at the war service. He is very harmful and is dying… in that context it can be understood that he is laid down in a bed writing the poem.
Metaphorical → the death bed does not only mean that he is in a bed physically dying, but also that he is mentally death. If he recovers physically, we will be mentally ill forever. He is dead in the inside, physiological destroyed.
Extended metaphor of water and waves
It symbolizes how the soldier is in between of life and death, since he is literally dying due to the war and, in a way, also mentally dying because of the trauma that the war has caused that is damaging his mind.
“He drowsed and was aware of silence
Round him, unshaken as the steadfast walls;”
Sassoon uses this literary device so the reader pauses and doesn’t read it without understanding the meaning Sassoon is trying to transmit. Sasson is conveying the trauma that the war caused the soldiers to have.
Theme: Death, War, Life.
My personal opinion towards the poem is the following: I believe that it is a really interesting poem since its conveys the literal consequences and the consequences that are kept inside soldiers mind and own life. The writer is able to show that soldiers are «death» in their inside even though they are physically alive, because leaving in those situations is even worst than being death.
I chose two poems which are called the same, “August 1914” . One is written by Isaac Rosenberg and the other by Vera Brittain.
BY ISAAC ROSENBERG
The writer as a british soldier who thought and died in the first world war.
This poem reflects on the beginning of the First World War, questioning the consequences of its destruction: Rosenberg declares that a hard and cold age of fire, iron and death has been ushered in by the war.
The poem is full of images and symbols.
First stanza. “What in our lives is burnt / In the fire of this?”: The poem starts with those questions— anxious wonder about the consequences of the war. Rosenberg does not shy away from questioning in his poetry, and declaring a lack of knowledge, a limited insight.
“This”, of course, is the war: Rosenberg wonders what is being destroyed by its “fire”, both literal and metaphorical meaning, since it makes reference to the bullets and the devastation caused by exploding shells but also carries associations with hell and sacrifice.
“The heart’s dear granary?”: A granary is where grain is stored for winter. That phrase is a metaphor which compares the heart to a granary. It emphasises the emotional cost of war. if the heart has a granary, we might suppose it is where gathered affections are stored for sustenance— but have now been consumed, by the fire of war. This means tha feelings and emotions are stored, kept inside, forbidden, abandoned because of the war.
Second Stanza. “Iron, honey, gold.”: Iron’s hard and cold nature, the sweetness and preserving power of honey, the preciousness of gold.
“The gold, the honey gone— / Left is the hard and cold.”: Now the iron and the honey are not present. That means that there was not either sweetness or preciousness, but iron, a hard and cold nature. That was caused by war and its effects.
Third Stanza. “Iron are our lives / Molten right through our youth.”:“Iron are our lives” suggests the “hard and cold” nature of the struggle for life alluded to in the previous stanza. This metaphorical element of iron is then transformed, as we read on, into “molten” iron, or heat. This heated iron suggests the misplaced passion of the young men fighting . We can also read these words literally: because molten iron literally is flying right through the bodies of young men on the battlefield, as burning fragments of shrapnel pierce their skin.
“A burnt space through ripe fields,”: As a consequence of war, probably there will have been many burnt fields, but this line can also be read figuratively. The the loss of young men’s lives, razing their “ripe” potential; yet the ripe fields also seem to recall the “heart’s granary” of the first stanza, and the emotional devastation that war has brought with it.
“A fair mouth’s broken tooth.”: The poem ends with a disturbing image of violence done to beauty. Again this line can be read figuratively (a fine civilization is being thoughtlessly destroyed or even every personal life of each soldier) or literally (the faces of handsome young men are being smashed in).
This photo shows the violence present in war… the inevitable death soldiers had to overcome for their country.
“Repression of War Experience” by Siegfried Sassoon
It is a poem making reference to 1918, once the war had finished.
By the title it is show an unwillingness or inability to recall or accept experiences undergone during World War I
“repression,” Siegfried Sassoon pointed out that although a person may not fully register traumatic experiences at the time they occur, repressed memories always return to haunt the sufferer.
In the first stanza, the soldier is at home in England on a summer night. He lights some candles and watches as moths flutter around the flames, wondering why they seek that which will kill them. Almost immediately, however, he finds that the moths trigger memories of his own wartime terrors, thoughts that he has “gagged all day.”
In the second stanza, the longest of the three, the mood changes as the soldier gives himself instructions on how to behave: He resolves to maintain control by lighting his pipe and seeks solace in nature by wishing for a rainstorm “to sluice the dark” with “bucketsful of water.” Needing a more immediate solution, however, he gazes at the books lining the room but becomes unnerved by the sight of a huge moth bumping against the ceiling, which leads him to think about the garden outside the house; he imagines ghosts in the trees, not of his comrades lost in battle but of an older generation, “old men with ugly souls” who stayed at home to die slow, natural deaths. In a final effort to pull himself together, the young man reassures himself that he is far away from the war. All that, makes the reader understands that he tried, forced himself to be “normal”, trying to avoid the effects that war provoked, but it is in vain since he could not forget the suffering he had gone through.
In this last stanza, however, the soldier imagines that he hears the ominous sound of muffled guns on the front lines in France. They are sounds he cannot silence.
This photograph shows a sloldier trying to avoid his suffering in war. His mind and thoughts are taking over him. He was probably listen to bombs, guns, shouts continously and constantly. He is suffering, and going over a terrible situation.