War Poems: Compare And Contrast A Pre 1900 War Poem With A Post 1900 War Poem. (The Two Used Here Are "Come Up From The Fields Father" By Walt Whitman And "War Photographer" By Carol Anne Duffy

1221 words - 5 pages

ENGLISH COURSEWORK - WAR POEMSThe first poem is a pre-1900 poem written by Walt Whitman. It is called "Come Up From The Fields Father". This poem tells the story of how a family hear the news that their son has been wounded in battle. Firstly it describes his sister receiving the letter and calling for her father and mother. The poet then goes on to describe the settings of the farm and the background to it."Where apples ripe in the orchards hang and grapes on the trellis'd vines.""The sky so calm......below too, all calm, all vital and beautiful."He sets the scene of a peaceful beautiful place. I think he does this for a number of reasons. Firstly, I think he does it just to set the background to show the reader where the boy lived and what his family were like. Another reason could be that he is showing to the reader that these are just ordinary people who really have no interest in fighting. However, I think the message that Walt Whitman is really trying to portray, is the fact that everything is serene and going brilliantly until this letter arrives. He is trying to get across the idea that this war destroys normal families and stops them being happy. It creates a sad and empty atmosphere for them. The mother senses that something is wrong. She is shaking and is hurrying to see what is in the letter. We see this as Whitman uses short, stopped sentences, spoken quickly."Fast as she hurries, something ominous, her steps trembling."As the mother gets the letter and realises that it is not her son's handwriting, but a strangers. This makes her panic and gives her a sickening feeling."O this is not our son's writing, yet his name is signed."When she sees this, she fears it may be bad news about her son. It shows that the woman is sad, crying and panicking as she hurries to open the letter. She catches the main words of it only. Her son has been shot. She panics and is saddened."Gunshot wound in the breast, cavalry skirmish, at present low, will be better soon"The barely grown up daughter tries to console her mother and tells her not to grieve as the other sisters huddle around. She tells her mother that the letter says Pete will be better soon, but as Walt Whitman shows, the ironic truth is that as they are standing there, their son is already dead. He had died in the few days the letter took to reach them. They are all distressed, but don't know he's dead yet."While they stand at home at the door he is already dead, their only son is dead."At the end of the poem, Walt Whitman shows that some time has passed between the two verses and shows that the mother has slipped into a state of depression. She is wasting away as she is not eating or sleeping and is always wearing black clothes. She wakes up during the night and in the last verse, the poet is suggesting that the woman would like to commit suicide, to be able to be with her son. She feels empty without him and would love to be with him."O that she might withdraw unnoticed, silent from life,...

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