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Comparison Essay: 'the Soldier' And 'disabled'

1567 words - 6 pages

Often others may try to sway us into thinking in a particular way. These influences may be optimistic or sinister, but all have the underlining foundation for us to make decisions with an understanding of their consequences. In the poems, "The Soldier" by Rupert Broke and "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen, a memorable idea in the text is that propaganda is a powerful tool in influencing one's decision making. This is highlighted especially under the contrasting purposes of the two poems. Both war poems reflects the poet's different feelings and presenting their views of war in radically different ways. The poets have polarised views of war, where Brooke crafts it in a reverent and patriotic way, referring to the possibility of death as a noble cause. This is at odds with how Wilfred Owen views the reality and horror of war, as his poem is written in a depressing tone. However, both poems are based on the common foundation of propaganda as a manipulative force in changing the way people interpret things. Various techniques are utilised to emphasise why this idea is memorable. 'The Soldier' is a sonnet that finds a soldier speculating about his possible death as he goes away to war, which he feels should not be mourned but understood as part of a selfless tribute to his country, England. Brooke presents an idealistic view of war, even "If I should die, think only this of me: that there's some foreign corner of a foreign field that is forever England". The word choice "only" conveys a singular purpose, which shows the soldier values patriotism over his own life and thus the idea of "group over oneself". A tone of selflessness and patriotism is contained in the command to "think only this". The notion that this land will "forever" be part of England elevates the sacrifice the soldier is making- simply because an English body lies there. This already signifies how he ignores the consequences and potential death of war, and instead believes the idea that personal loyalty to the country overrides everything else, even sacrificing numerous young men's lives. This poem is written during the first few months of World War 1, when the whole country was swept by a tide of patriotic fervour. The influences that led him to express jingoistic enthusiasm was a product of the heavy propaganda by the government of the time. He was led to believe that if he dies, "There shall be in that rich earth a richer dust concealed". The use of oxymoron in "richer dust" connotes its insignificance, in contrast to being rich. 'Dust' refers to his decaying body buried in a foreign land, thus enriching its soil. He believes his body and English heritage would make that foreign place "richer". Fervent patriotism is shown through the comparative "rich" and "richer", signifying he idea that England is superior. By referring to himself as "A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware", and a "flower who was loved and given he ways to roam", England is personified as a mother who raised and...

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