Base Details by Siegfried Sassoon
Base Details is a poem by Siegfried Sassoon and is about how better
off the majors were in the First World War, compared to the good men
that were dying on the front line. It goes into detail about how the
majors were unfit, incompetent old men who did nothing. They were too
willing to send men to their deaths and give everyone orders, while
they lived their luxurious lives and earned lots of money. It has a
regular rhyme scheme except the last two sentences that rhyme.
Sassoon's intention to write this poem was to show how angry he was at
the stuck up majors because they did nothing and got the high life,
while dying soldiers were fighting for their country. He says what he
would be like and do if he was a major and makes a mockery out of
them. He also tries to show injustice because the old soldiers lived
and the young, fit soldiers died.
The words used in this poem are very simple and direct but are very
effective. Sassoon proves that the majors are lazy and in poor
condition by using certain words and sentences,
'If I was fierce, and bald, and out of breath, I'd be with the scarlet
majors at the base'.
Here Sassoon is saying that if he was big, fat and got easily out of
breath, he would be a scarlet major (refers to high up rank, and also
the colour red equalling anger and unfitness).
'You'd see me with my puffy petulant face'.
This implies that the majors are fat by the word 'puffy' and petulant
means impatient and easily irritated. The poet also proves that the
majors are stuck up by using words like 'glum' and 'chap'. These are
words that the working class would not have usually used. The name
'Base' is the military quarters but also implies that the majors don't
fight, they get fatter and more unfit and all they have to do is read
a 'roll of honour'.
Only few figures of speech are used. For...