“Suicide in the Trenches” is a war poem about how a regular Boy can go from a happy and cheeky person to a person who has to have a drink just to make it through the day.
Siegfried Sassoon say’s that most soldiers who joined up were under the age that was required to join up.
“I knew a simple soldier boy.”
The word ‘Boy’ emphasises the fact that he is young and that he has all of his life ahead of him. This says that this boy is very simple and that he is never miserable. Also it says ‘I knew’ implying that he wasn’t ever seen again.
Also he isn’t given a name which implies that lots of other people (The same age as himself) signed up illegally just because they thought that it would be a better life.
Sassoon uses grinned instead of smiling to show that the boy is content with excitement and happiness.
“Who grinned at life in empty joy”
This shows that the boy is very happy and that he can’t stop himself from grinning which makes him feel really happy and that nothing can put him down or phase him because he’s that sort of person. Also it says ‘Empty Joy’ which implies that he has his whole life ahead of him and that he can choose where he goes.
In the second stanza the mood and the attitude change a lot. It goes from being really happy and cheery to going to miserable and depressed.
“He put a bullet through his brain”
This shows us that to get rid of all of the things that he had seen, he had to destroy the library in which the images are stored. His brain. Also he does this because he wants to kill himself rather than German soldiers have the pleasure.
Finally in the last stanza it’s for how the writer (Siegfried Sassoon) feels about war and how people interpret it.
“Who cheer when soldier lads march by.”
This shows that even though the British public cheer them on, they won’t have to go where they go or experience what the soldiers. They can sit in their home knowing that they will be safe and nothing will injure them.
The author of this book (Siegfried Sassoon) was a soldier during the First World War. In the war he was an officer.
Siegfried Sassoon wrote a letter to the press to read out in parliament. In doing this his General said that he was a traitor and was going to get shot, but his friend (also an officer) said that he wouldn’t of wrote that letter if he wasn’t ill. The illness is called neurasthenia also known as “Shell Shock”
He was taken to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh, where he was officially treated for neurasthenia ("shell shock").