War poetry

Since we read the poem, “Dulce et Decorum Est”, by Wilfred Owen, that deals with World War 1, I have analyzed 4 more poems dealing with war. This was part of a task Pato gave us.

Task 2

Task 3

This is no case of petty right or wrong
by Edward Thomas
This is no case of petty right or wrong
That politicians or philosophers
Can judge. I hate not Germans, nor grow hot
With love of Englishmen, to please newspapers.
Beside my hate for one fat patriot
My hatred of the Kaiser is love true:—
A kind of god he is, banging a gong.
But I have not to choose between the two,
Or between justice and injustice. Dinned
With war and argument I read no more
Than in the storm smoking along the wind
Athwart the wood. Two witches’ cauldrons roar.
From one the weather shall rise clear and gay;
Out of the other an England beautiful
And like her mother that died yesterday.
Little I know or care if, being dull,
I shall miss something that historians
Can rake out of the ashes when perchance
The phoenix broods serene above their ken.
But with the best and meanest Englishmen
I am one in crying, God save England, lest
We lose what never slaves and cattle blessed.
The ages made her that made us from dust:
She is all we know and live by, and we trust
She is good and must endure, loving her so:
And as we love ourselves we hate our foe.

Analysis
This poem is an argument Thomas had with his father about the war. His father agreed with the newspapers which expressed how the Germans where inhumane. But, Thomas had patriotic beliefs. He believed that the war wasn’t about England versus Germany or injustice versus justice, he believed that patriotism had to do with freedom and how Germany was threatening their freedom.

Theme: Patriotism, freedom
Tone: Angry, bitter, ranting, weary and agitated
Literary Devices:

  • Imagery
    There are different types of imagery present in the poem, this are aggressive imagery to describe his father and contrast it with the natural imagery of England and the patriotic imagery of all England. This idea can be seen throughout the whole poem.
  • Symbolism
    “Two witches’ cauldrons”. The poet makes reference to witches since they predicted the future and were able to see different ways how the future could look like.
    “Phoenix”. Thomas uses this mythical creature to represent England and how it is rising from the ashes of the old England and also from the destruction caused by the war.
  • Personification
    Thomas personifies England as a “mother”, to show soldiers why there are fighting in the war. To convey his message about patriotism.

Illustration
The newspaper represents how the media depicted an image of the war that wasn’t entirely true. This caused people to be the type of patriot that Thomas is denouncing. The patriot that despises the German and is in favor of the war.
“I hate not Germans, nor grow hot with love of Englishmen, to please newspapers.”

The phoenix represents England. It symbolizes how England will rise from its ashes and become more powerful and more mystical. England will be able to become a powerful country.
“The phoenix broods serene above their ken”

Smile, Smile, Smile
By: Wilfred Owen
Head to limp head, the sunk-eyed wounded scanned
Yesterday’s Mail; the casualties (typed small)
And (large) Vast Booty from our Latest Haul.
Also, they read of Cheap Homes, not yet planned;
“For,” said the paper, “when this war is done
The men’s first instinct will be making homes.
Meanwhile their foremost need is aerodromes,
It being certain war has just begun.
Peace would do wrong to our undying dead,—
The sons we offered might regret they died
If we got nothing lasting in their stead.
We must be solidly indemnified.
Though all be worthy Victory which all bought.
We rulers sitting in this ancient spot
Would wrong our very selves if we forgot
The greatest glory will be theirs who fought,
Who kept this nation in integrity.”
Nation?—The half-limbed readers did not chafe
But smiled at one another curiously
Like secret men who know their secret safe.
(This is the thing they know and never speak,
That England one by one had fled to France
Not many elsewhere now save under France).
Pictures of these broad smiles appear each week,
And people in whose voice real feeling rings
Say: How they smile! They’re happy now, poor things.

Analysis
This poem by Owen was based on the war propaganda, especially on a photo of three men who were injured and the caption was ‘happy’. Even though the poem doesn’t have stanzas, it can be divided into four parts, set up of the poem (line 1-4), propaganda message(line 5-17), how things really are (line 18-23) and the ironic conclusion (line 24-26). With this poem, Owen wanted to criticize the newspapers. He wanted to show how papers told ordinary people false things about the war, only so more people would support it and be able to recruit more soldiers. But, the reality of the war was completely different.

Theme: Sorrow, patriotism
Tone: Dark, dull, ignorance, ironic, sarcastic
Literary Devices:

  • Personification
    “Said the paper”. Owen personifies the newspaper as a way to transmit his message. He uses this literary device to make it seem as if the promises that the paper are giving everyone about the war should be believed when in reality people should not believe everything they read.
  • Oxymoron
    “Undying dead”. This oxymoron is used with the purpose of conveying the feeling of the soldiers who are still alive, but the war has destroyed them as they practically look dead.
  • Irony
    “We rulers sitting in this ancient spot
    Would wrong our very selves if we forgot
    The greatest glory will be theirs who fought,”
    In this quote, Owen uses irony to show how the ‘rulers’, referring to the government, don’t enter the war. They just send soldiers to sacrifice their lives for the problems they cause. Not only this but, since the people from the government doesn’t actually fight in the war, they don’t know exactly how it is, but choose to glorify it.
  • Simile
    “ Like secret men who know their secret safe”. With this simile, Owen is criticising the papers, because they inform the people how the soldiers are victorious, yet many of them fled to France.

Illustration
The propaganda during that time made ordinary men go to war, because it made them feel important and as if it was a way to show their love for their country. It depicted the soldiers as strong men who were never tired and were proud to be there fighting for their country.
“The greatest glory will be theirs who fought,
Who kept this nation in integrity.”

The newspaper represents the false security it creates. The newspaper sells things that are false and people believe it because they are too ignorant and are brainwashed to see the reality. They believe that the war is going to benefit England in many ways when in reality it will only destroy it.
“Yesterday’s Mail; the casualties (typed small)
And (large) Vast Booty from our Latest Haul.
Also, they read of Cheap Homes, not yet planned”

In reality, the war was nothing that was shown in the newspaper and in the propaganda. Soldiers were incredibly injured and were forced to work and fight even if their body couldn’t handle it. They were living in horrible conditions and were deprived of sleep, which caused them not to work properly.
“Nation?—The half-limbed readers did not chafe
But smiled at one another curiously
Like secret men who know their secret safe.”

Esta entrada fue publicada en 4AC2018, E-portfolio, INGLES, Inicio, Literature. Guarda el enlace permanente.

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