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An Analysis Of War Poetry

2005 words - 9 pages

War consumes the youth of young men and completely alters a person. From numerous poems, it is made clear that war exhausts the youth of young men, and has left their lives with no meaning. These poems are “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Mental Cases” written by Wilfred Owen. Similarly, they both employ the same techniques, such as similes and metaphors. However, a somewhat different perspective is projected through the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae, which dissimilitudes yet intensifies the main message. Whether from a more emotional perspective or from a physical view, war has devastated the prime time of many young men in multitudinous ways.
First of all, a sense of sickness and damage of the mind and body of young soldiers are conspicuously shown in “Dulce Et Decorum Est”. For example, this is clarified by the quote “coughing like hags”. A hag is an old women, and coughing symbolises sickness and some sort of infection. This means that the soldiers are infected and ingested with fatigue and all energy has been sucked out of the soldiers. They are just like old women, idling meaninglessly as their youth was taken away. The “aging” of these soldiers are also shown through the quote “like old beggars under sacks”. Beggars are tired, downbeat and desperately famished for money and shelter. In this quote, we can infer that the young men are desperate for their youths and their dreams that they once hoped to achieve. Also, the simile shows that the beggars are carrying sacks, like they cannot walk fast and properly. However, this could also contain a deeper meaning: the sacks are just like the load of hope and success that they wish to carry with them, but they are struggling to hold onto them- essentially meaning that hope and success have perished. Also, the quote “Men marched asleep” suggests that the soldiers have been corrupted. Slumbering and dormant, they cross the blurred lines between life and death. They are sleeping as if they want to expunge their memories, yet this unfolds nightmares within them. This leads onto my next point: regret.
War has filled the soldiers with regret. This is shown by the quote “Men marched asleep”. Obviously you cannot literally march asleep, therefore this is a metaphor for the aimless life they live at the moment. They are drowned by the cruelty of reality; as a result, they are asleep, as if desperate to get over with their remorsefulness. Also, another quote that shows the regretfulness of soldiers is the quote “disappointed shells”. Shells represent the ammunition that the soldiers have been firing, but also the shells of the bullets that the enemy has bombarded. This quote uses personification, and shows that the the battle was very disappointing as they very possibly might have lost, but also it could mean that instead of bringing them glory and fame, the bullets have sucked away their youth, and these young soldiers are immensely contrite of what they once considered to be a good decision: to...

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