Literature written during the First World War is often very different in terms of subject matter and tone. A crux factor in the understanding of this poetry is recognising the era of war in which it was written. To fully comprehend the attitudes expressed we must look at the purpose as well as take into account the audience.The poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ was written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War. Wilfred Owen is a trench poet highly acclaimed for his portrayal of trench warfare.
Owen is writing out of experience as a result his poem conveys levels of realism and horror similar to that of Sassoon. It is structured into three stanzas. In the first stanza the rhythm is slow this reflects the movement of the men in the trenches. In stanza two he uses disturbing imagery to shock and inform those back home of what the front line is really like.
Owen uses graphic imagery in his Poem “Dulce et Decorum Est” where he describes a dying solider who “plunges, guttering, chocking drowning” these descriptive verbs enable the reader to visualise the gruesome scene. Owen repeats the word ‘drowning’ in stanza two to emphasise the terror which is happening in front of him. In stanza three Owens mood becomes exasperated, he is talking to the reader in this stanza as he says at the beginning ‘if in some smothering dreams you too could place behind the wagon that we flung him in’. Through out the poem there is regular rhyme.This poem is effective as it uses graphic imagery so that the reader can imagine the awful horror in which the men in the war faced. In the last stanza he wrote ‘the old lie’ which was that he said ‘It’s sweet and fitting to die for ones country’. He disagrees with this hence the words the ‘old lie’ in front of it. This shows that he’s in an irritated mood.
The poem ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The poem tells the story of a battle fought in the Crimean War in the nineteenth century. The poem is structured into six stanzas each telling a different part of the battle. In stanza one the men are charging into the valley, in two the order to charge was a mistake, but the men are not afraid, in three they are entering the valley, in four coming out of the valley, in five they are coming out of the valley but some of them are dead, six they have finished their battle. I think he divides the story up in this way as it pushes the progress of this poem while also building up drama and tension in a crescendo of action.
‘Cannon to the right of them, Cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them’, Tennyson uses repetition of the cannons everywhere as it highlights the bleakness and futility of the situation. He uses rhyme in stanzas three, four and five to reflect the irregular structure of combat. In stanza 5 he asks the question, “When can their glory fade?” he says this as we should honour them giving up their live for us. He then goes on by saying in stanza six’Honour the charge they made’ he says this as he thinks that it is glorious thing to fight for our country and we should honour them. The poets mood throughout the poem is grateful as he admires the bravery of the 600. I think the poem is effective as the description shows bravery in the men fighting and also to remember the ‘heroes’.
The poem ‘War Photographer’ was written by Carol Ann Duffy. In the first stanza the man who is developing the photos which he took during the war. It says that the only light is red, I think he says this to represent the blood for remembrance to those who lost their lives in the war.
In the second stanza some memories are hitting home as it says, ‘Home again’ to fields which don’t explode beneath the feet’. Its also says, ‘he has a job to do’, this tells us that he has to put his feelings aside and to get on with his job. In the third stanza it says, ‘how he sought approval without words to do what someone must’, this tells us that looking back now in hindsight he regretted taking the picture instead of helping this mans wife. He has now got a guilty conscience.
The editor will ‘pick out’ five or six pictures for the Sunday supplement, this shows us that it doesn’t really affect him by the pictures. At the very last line of the poem it says ‘he earns his living and they do not care’ this tells us that the readers are only affected momentarily and soon forget and go on with their formal procedure. The poets mood throughout is effective as she controls her emotions, this gives the poem a greater force.In ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ the poet is trying to get across to the readers what it is really like at war and the conditions which they fought in. Whereas in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ he is commenting on the bravery of the soldiers which is effective and in the ‘War Photographer’ which is also effective by getting across the point that when we look at agonising pictures they only effect us for a while before we get on with our lives again.