Compare And Contrast The Way In Which Poets Present Ideas About Soldiers Leaving For War In Joining The Colours And The Send Off

1053 words - 4 pages

The writers of 'Joining the Colours' and 'The Send Off' both use poetry to express their feelings about soldiers leaving for war. Each have similar attitudes about the subject, but use different approaches to try and get their message across. Both question the popular concept of war, including ideas such as heroism and glory. Katherine Hinkson, the poet who wrote 'Joining the Colours', shows the scene from two different perspectives, that of the audience watching the soldiers and also her own point of view. Wilfred Owen simply shares his thoughts by describing the soldiers leaving from a station, although the effect is no less powerful. As Hinkson is a woman, she focuses more on a mother or wives point of view, whereas Owen gives more of the soldiers perspective.

The structure of each poem helps to add to the mood. In 'Joining the Colours', the rhythm is lively and regular. The rhyme scheme is also very simple and consistent, following an ABAB scheme. The constant rhythm and regularity of the verses gives the effect of soldiers marching. This is ironic, as although the scene is a jolly one, the rhythm contrasts with the poets feelings of sadness and despair. The rhyme scheme in 'The Send Off' is also very regular, although the lines vary in length and the verses are split into two and three lines. Owen also uses enjambment, which makes the poem feel disjointed and irregular. This shows that although the process of sending the soldiers off is very organized, the underlying feelings of the men are that of uncertainty and false courage. Both poems use short lines at the end of each stanza. This brings attention to these lines, and they are often the lines intended to be thought provoking. Phrases such as 'Into the dark' and 'As men's are, dead' are used to close each verse, designed to make the reader reflect on what the poet has said.

The atmosphere of 'Joining the Colours' appears to be joyous and cheerful, but the poet introduces an underlying feeling of scepticism and doom. This contrast in mood represents the contrast between her feelings and that of the rest of the crowd. Words such as 'careless-gay' and 'foolish' shows that she thinks that the soldiers are not brave but simply oblivious to the harsh truths of war. In 'The Send Off', the atmosphere throughout the poem is sombre and secretive. This is a contrast with the 'Joining of Colours', whose mood is much more lively and exciting. Words such as 'darkening' and 'silent' give a feeling of doom and being trapped, as if it is the end for the soldiers. Unusually, there are few words that describe the emotion, giving a feeling of emptiness and despair. The feeling of both the poets is that the soldiers have little hope for survival, and both have sympathy not only for them but also the loved ones affected.

In 'Joining the Colours', the language is very accessible as it is quite simple, although various literary techniques are used. At the start of the poem phrases such as the simile...

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