In the second battle of Ypres an artillery officer, John McCrae’s dear friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. A German shell landed near him. Major John McCrae who was serving in the same unit was a military doctor and artillery commander. McCrae was called to conduct the burial for Helmer. After the burial he began the poem In Flanders Fields.
This is a poem of remembrance to commemorate the dead who fought in WW1. It speaks of their sacrifice and serves as their command to the living to press on. (to continue)
• The first stanza provides imagery of the graveyard where the soldiers fought, ‘between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place…’ The poppies blowing between the crosses symbolize remembrance.
• In the second stanza, it shows that the poet is writing from the viewpoint of the people who died in the war for example, ‘we are the dead’ suggests that these are the people who sacrificed themselves in the war and so should not be forgotten.
• In the third stanza, they are brought to life to send us their message. The poet states, ‘take up our quarrel with the foe’ which means that war should be continued to fight against the enemies.
• The line, ‘the torch; be yours to hold it high’ is a metaphor which means to hold the torch high as a precious object of pride. The torch is to represent hope which shows not to give up and continue the battle.
• The last line, ‘though poppies grow in Flanders Fields’ ends on a powerful note that poppies continue to grow and the soldiers will never be forgotten.
Last Slide – Comparisons
In Flanders fields
It makes the audience feel sad but proud at the same time for the soldiers that fought for their country and died and had brought victory. It has the theme of a sad but victorious moment.
The attitude of this poem is serious and mournful, for the death of soldiers.
The message of the poem is for the audience...