Contrasts of War Time Poems

The beginning of the first world war resulted in a lot of literature coming out . As the war went on there was a pattern change in the literature, I think this may of been because it was the first world war, society didn’t know what to expect . I believe the first poems wrote were written in the style of propaganda to encourage young men to join the army, as the war probably went on the realities of war were realised and reflected in the poetry. Some were even written by the men in the war as the shock of the war was so harsh that they needed to talk about their feelings, emotion and how they felt.

They couldn’t do anything because of the emotional impact. In this essay I am going to look at three war poems, Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for the game? ‘ Wilfred Owen’s ‘Disabled’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ I will discuss all three poems, and the difference between the three. ‘Who’s for the game? ‘ Jessie Pope. This poem is written by Jessie Popes who is a woman, in those times it was men who mainly dominated the literature, so it was good to see a poem written by a woman. Pope was a reporter so she would of probably seen the effects of war when reporting.

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She talks about war as if she knows what it is was like firsthand. This makes you feel like she a bit of a hypocrite, because she doesn’t know about the real issues, of war. I feel as if, how does she know what it will be like? To me it she comes across, she is trying to criticise others who are too frightened to go and fight for England I also believe that to some people this may look as if, she is not a man and she doesn’t have to go and fight or have that peer pressure from society, so why should she have the right to denounce men, if they do not decide to sign up in the army.

This poem seems to be like those recruitment poster. It appeals to the male pride. The irst sentence of the poem where the metaphor ‘game’ is used to replace war it makes the poem sound fun, exciting, and not dangerous. As the use of the word ‘war’ would of just ruined the whole affect and created an image of pain, and murder, which I feel Popes wanted to escape. As the sentence carries on, it makes you want to be part of this ‘game’ The first stanza where Popes uses red to infer blood, I think the use of red doesn’t sound as gory as blood.

This is what Popes does all through the poem, I think instead of using harsh war images, she changes and uses more relaxed words, which creates a different imagery to Wilfred Owen’s poems. So the poem is not harsh or disturbing. The use of rhetorical questions in the first stanza, makes the answer sound so obvious that it convinces, you that it is your duty to help; it actually makes you want to help. I believe that the answers to the first two questions in the second stanza are a hero, and the last two sounds as if the answer is a coward.

In my opinion you can feel this coming through, and everyone would rather be a hero than a coward. What I noticed from this poem was that the rhyme scheme stays the same all the way through. This adds rhythm and creates a happy fun atmosphere. It sounds so much ike a nursery or marching rhyme, that I instead of thinking of the seriousness of the war you get lost in the excitement . The poem is simply written, that it can appeal to a wide audience, and get the attending message across so clearly that you don’t have to go into depth to realise the real issues.

The repetition in the poem of “Who’s for the game? ” Is just pushed into your mind that in the end you get more and more enthusiastic to be saying yes to every thing Popes ask you this. In this poem Popes asks so many questions, that it’s as if she is talking to you personally, but I think it also makes you question yourself. I think Popes tries to come across as if she knows you, like when she says, ‘lads. ‘ You feel as if you know her and she is a friend. The piece of writing is persuasive like when she says “Go! ” I think she tries to persuade people to go and fight.

In the poem Popes uses phrases like ‘sit tight’ ‘seat in the stand ‘lie low’ to make the reader sound as a coward, if they don’t sign up to go to war. The whole poem sounds like a calling to you, it is as if the poem is directly aimed at you, I think this is because of the direct questions Popes asks. I think the use of sarcasm in the poem, gives me the feeling that the men who read his, whom she is aiming at feel like idiots if they decide not to sign up. The question, “Who’ll give his country a hand? ” seems to sound as there is no doubt, that you will have to sign up.

I believe that this question, gives this idea of how being a part of the war makes you some sort of hero, that persuades people to want to fight, and question men, their place in society. The part of the poem where Popes says “Who would rather come back with a crutch. Than lie low and be out of the fun? ” Make it seem as if you are hurt or die during war it’s ‘no big deal. ‘ I think the use of ‘lie low’ just again reminds you of being cowardly. I hink Popes creates that concept of war being fun, to manipulate people.

She tries to make it sound as if that there is nothing to war, it’s your duty to go and you’re a hero if you do, who would rather not go and be known as a coward. Pope tries to be sympathetic, so we feel we can trust her, she tries to say we know it’s not easy, but who’s still going to have, a go and try ‘shudder gun. ‘ It seems to be as if you have no choice in the matter of going, the part of the poem where it says ‘Job,’ makes it sound as your duty. The poem has the concept of playing and of watching; she portrays that being part of the game is better than being not.

The words she uses ‘gripping,’ ‘tackling,’ makes it sound like a game of football, which you want to part of. She uses words like ‘lads’ to come across friendly, and that were all in it together. The way Popes personifies England to ‘she’ in the last stanza “Your country-calling for you” makes England sound, like a damsel in distress so men feel obliged to help. I think this is a really good poem, and this is very cleverly written with the metaphors and personification. The words, Popes uses gives the right atmosphere I feel she wants to achieve, and the attending message comes across the way she wants.

I don’t agree ith the moral issue of this poem, but I think the talent of the poet is excellent. ‘Disabled’ Wilfred Owen. When I read the title of this poem, I didn’t take much notice of the title but it isn’t until I read on that I realised it’s more deeper than I thought it was. Unlike Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for the game? ‘ Her use of regular stanzas, Owen uses even stanzas. I think Owen does this, as it loses that essence of fun and rhythm, it comes across much more deeper and serious. I feel, in this poem Owen tries to get the reader’s sympathy and I feel he does succeed.

The poem is written so skilfully written, as all he does is describe the situation f the young man,” He sat in a -waiting for dark. ” I believe the end of the first stanza talks about the things he is envious of, it’s what he had ‘before he threw away his legs,’ I feel this sounds as if how his legs were thrown away like nothing, like rubbish. I think the way he uses comparisons of the young boy’s life before the war and after, has a big impact on you. This is because you learn how much he has lost, and how it massively affected him, especially in stanza two.

This is a normal young man and how he misses his normal life, how he won’t be able to do those normal things, have a irlfriend, go out with his friends and take care about his appearance. The poem talks about how girls only look at him out of pity, their eyes turn to ‘Whole men,’ it just makes you feel for the boy. I think that the poem comes across as if it is criticising society for the way that the boy joined the army, it was for the wrong reasons, the encouragement of propaganda and people, the peer pressure.

The boy in the wants to impress others, like his girlfriend “to please his Meg. ” All those fancy things, the pay, the uniform and the marching What distresses me is, when he decides to join the army, and he lies about his age the erson who let him sign up, knew, and he still allowed him to sign up “Smiling they wrote his lie;” I also think how manipulated from propaganda; he must have been to lie about his age. The thing which I think is so troubling, is that because he has lost all his limbs all he can do is sit there think and feel regretful.

All he could do is think about, how his life was before the war? What he has lost and what he misses? The treatment he receives from others. The last stanza where it talks about him living “a few sick years in an institution,” it makes you sad that a boy of nineteen being treated as if he is an elderly. It is as if his life is simple, ‘sitting in the park,’ his clothes are simple ‘ghastly suit grey’ it’s as if his life has literally past away, in a blink of an eye. The use of repetition of “Why don’t they come? ” Is such an influence the reader as I feel he wants to escape.

I feel that he would rather be dead, he has no passion or control over his life, at least if he was dead he would be able to live in peace. I think that when it comes across that someone would rather be dead than alive, you start to think how bad their life must be. I believe this poem makes people realise, even if you didn’t come back dead from the ar your life still wouldn’t be the same again. I think that even though this poem was written in the third person, you still get a lot of emotion through.

‘Dulce et Decorum est’ Wilfred Owen. his poem is describing some ones death at war, so the use of uneven stanzas creates that tone of moodiness and sadness In this poem the use of words makes a big impression on you, as the poem is about creating that imagery of sympathy and shock. Owen uses words like ‘hags’ ‘wrecked’ ‘smelly’ ‘dirty to make you feel sympathetic and appalled by the conditions. I feel as in this poem Owen tries to make the reader nderstand what it is like for people at war. The way he describes the men ‘men marched asleep,’ ‘ drunk with fatigue,’ you can just imagine the tiredness, and the disorderly movements.

That image of someone who is drunk, drunk from just tiredness, you are all over the place and how exhausted you must be, to appear like that. The word ‘trudge,’ reflects the effort, of just walking with that slow energy. There is no smartness of how war is perceived in propaganda, it seems, as if the men as slobs, without boots, ‘limping,’ not marching and the pain they must have gone through to be limping. The word ‘bloodshed’ creates this strong imagery of pain and hurt, I think it is so powerful that it sums it all up perfectly.

The second stanza, there is a complete change in pace as Owen tries to capture the event of a gas attack “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! ” “An ecstasy of fumbling” just makes you feel, how every one must have been struggling for their lives, to keep safe, to find a gas mask. When you think, what people had gone through you can just imagine that closeness and between people, comrades, which you usually don’t associate with men. To watch your friends dying, thinking how you may well be next , and the ways of the death, the orture of the deaths in war were really brutal.

The repetition in the poem is used to empathise, the death of one of the soldiers. You can just visualise someone drowning. ‘Behind the wagon that we flung him,’ it’s just so sad, it’s as if he meant nothing, he was just rubbish. I don’t think it was attended that the soldiers didn’t feel for him, it was just the way they had to carry on and it deeply sadness you. I felt this line was really powerful, as it makes you, think how realistic you had to be. When you read the bit, where someone is dreaming of that dying man it so sad how hen sleeping he is haunted by it.

Where would they go to escape? Where could you go to be peaceful? It sounds so painful, that the word to describe him dreaming is smothering; it’s as if he suffocating in his dreams. When Owen uses the word ‘writhing’ to describe the man’s eyes who is dead, it has this impact on you. Writhing is a word, that is used to show the movement of your body when it is in agony, and just imagining the movement of his eyes in that agony. It really touches you, and made me shiver. In the last stanza where “If you could hear-froth corrupted lungs,” gives you this sickly his auditory and usual image.

In this poem, Owen criticises people like Jessie Popes, that if they could see the reality and suffering of war, they wouldn’t hold the views they do. At the end you get this bitterness “The old lie,” “Dulce et et decorum est Pro patria mori,” meaning ‘it is fitting and sweet way to die for your country. ‘ I think that Owen makes this poem, moving the imagery and use of words. When you concentrate on the words, it makes you realise how truly sad it war was. To be honest, when I read this the first couple of times, I didn’t really feel or think anything.

When I concentrated on the words, I took my time on it, as I would stop and think about them. It really makes you sad and sympathetic towards the people who went out and fought, I feel this poem really gets you thinking, as you really can’t escape the words Owen uses. I think Wilfred Owen’s two poems, give a more realistic idea of war. Wilfred Owen himself was part of the army. Even after Wilfred Owen came back during the war because he was injured, he returned back to fight again. In Owen’s two poems, it comes across he criticises people who held the same types, of views as Jessie popes.