Hope And War In “The Unconquered Dead”

737 words - 3 pages

War is never peaceful. War and the subsequent conflicts are the most horrid experiences a young man could endure. Tragedy in war runs deep, due to the extreme losses suffered by young men. Dr. John McCrae was a Canadian physician, a member of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. While he worked tirelessly attending to the sick and injured soldiers of the Great War (1914-1918), Dr McCrae gained a reputation for writing poetry. Why would a busy doctor write poetry? McCrae wrote poetry to help him cope with the extreme loss and tragedies of war. His poem “The Unconquered Dead “speaks about how the soldiers must have faith and courage to continue with their difficult task which lies ahead. Even in times of massive loss and despair one must have hope to carry on and to prevail.
Throughout World War One all sides suffered heavy casualties; entire regiments destroyed. Yet the men remain focused on their goal refusing to accept defeat: “Not we the conquered! Not us to blame” (McCrae 1). This first line of the first stanza represents the fact that the soldiers continue with the mission when the battle was lost. This is significant as it demonstrates the hopeful attitude and robust outlook of the soldiers. These soldiers will not accept the burden of blame. The men will not accept this because these soldiers have overcome the loss with a sense of hope. The soldiers have done their best and given their all.
When other regiments have lost all hope the men cowardly turned away from the shell fire, shielding themselves. The ones who have not lost their hope forge over the top: “Some yielded, No not we! Not we, we swear” (McCrae 9). Those soldiers with hope and strength carry out their duty with the highest regard for the honour of their country. They leap from their trenches with no questioning. The author reiterates the fact that when the soldiers have hope they are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice. As a consequence those with no hope stayed behind and shielded the fire. Faith and hope carried those who won forward. Those soldiers are the ones who succeeded in battle. They...

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