Jan Palach by Jane Mapstone and The drum by John Scott

My opinion of war has changed significantly throughout the term from the impact on the poems my peers and I have read as a part of our G. C. S. E course. I never really understood or really even contemplated on the true horrific facts of war. Now after reading the selection of poetry I can begin to understand that war is destructive and horrific but is inevitable. In today’s society of equality and respect for peoples upbringing, religious believes and status in society it may be perceived that war never happens and we all hide from the fact that people in other country and our own are being torn and ripped apart by this.

War has been a universal topic throughout the history of poetry, which deals with concern for lives families and their countries. My poems for analysis are: Jan Palach by Jane Mapstone The drum by John Scott The reason I choose these to poems is of the fact that they share the same views and believes of war as myself and that is anti-war. The other reason is that they are wrote in an easy format so I may pick out the most important details easily and then take a more in depth approach to the poem “Jan” Palach a modern 20th century poem was written by an inspiration and talent poet of the age 15, Jane Mapstone.

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This poem tells a horrific story of a young student in Prague which in the line of protest sacrificed his on live by self-immolation and died in hospital a few days later. The reason for his protest was media attention and drive to let all the people see what was going on his country. The war in Prague because in 1968 the soviet army invaded it and took control of the country Jan own suicide was brought on by this invasion. The message of this poem is that in some cases war can drive a person to the point that one should feel they should take your own life to get slight attention from your government and of the other people of the world.

Even though in this poem Mapstone puts across the fact of Jan did it for the attention of the media she also add that Jan thought it was not worth it after. Throughout this poem there is a repetitive metaphor of the press and media. This really tells us how much he was craving media attention. This poem is written is written in a narrative style with Jan telling us all about his ordeal. There is an irregular rhyme scheme that helps us imagine the disturbing occurrence. The third line in stanza one puts across a good metaphor and this sticks in my mind.

Jan describes his death as “headline in the paper of your thoughts “the single -word lines make the slow death sound more emphatically. To make his death sound as dramatic as it was. For the next six lines it describes now in our times. Also the quotation marks around the phrase “now who the hell was he? ” can make it seem as though the reader is being spoken to. “Twenty-one Burn Myself To Death” The real details of the time before the self immolation are given in detail and of his preparation those minutes before he stuck the match. as I felt its stickiness running down like blood, down my arms, down my legs is a disturbing simile it does produce a good affect of visual and tactile imagery. The first stanza ends as though Jan has regretted what he had done” I thought maybe I was wrong” to emphasis that his doubt, personification is used “laughing smoke and whirling pain” is very disturbing as he was saying maybe the smoke were evil. It is very clever and affective. The media are mention again only this time as the form of a film as he was watching his death objectively.

The final stanza of this poem is about justification, bringing back yet again the subject of the media and how “Jan Palach” feels that he “A line in the some volume of your memory. The reader is led to believe that Jan Palach indeed did the right thing as he could he could have made a public nuisance and vandalised and destroyed. But I believe Jan could have made a life for himself perhaps a family and a good job as he was at university and was obviously been able to afford and was worthy of his education. But instead he took his own life for his country Jan made the sacrifice in the aim of hope for the children of Prague and their future.

The other poem the “The Drum by John Scott” is another poem which shares my anti-war view and that is why I have chosen this for analysis. The drum was written by Scott in 1792 this makes this it is a Pre 20th century poem. The drum was used to entice young men and boys to fight for their country in. John Scott was a pacifist this means he against all violence and murder. He belong to “the society of friends” or Quakers which are a religious grouping the two stanzas of the poem there are many contrasts in how he himself feels about the use of recruitment under false pretences.

Although we must remember that war is destructive yet inevitable, Scott does not see it like this. We can see that Scott must despise war and its ways of recruitment. The recruiting drum was a way of attracting young men to join up and go to war. It shows that in the end up war is going to be pleasurable as they get a uniform and actually become someone important for the length of time they survive. In the first stanza we get shown the falseness of war and what it is about. By using heavy consonants we can get the real of the drums heavy beat this is also apparent in the in the rhyming scheme of the poem.

This stanza tells us that the stanza tells us about how the drum is used to “lure” or drag the young men “from cities and fields” just so the men can fight for their country in “tawdry lace and glittering arms” perhaps they did this to attract women or make them feel important john scott makes this very apparent in the poem the throbbing constantans make out the sound of the drum and this creates an aural image. The glittering arms and lace are just petty excuses for what is a stupid thing to do. “Ambitious voice” is personified and is suggesting that some one is telling them “To march and fall in foreign lands” this is imperative.

The fall is a euphemism which suggests that they will in the end up properly fall to the ground dead rather than come back alive and gives the impression that it is a fitting thing to do for ones country. This advice is false, it is a lie and the poet despises this fact. This stanza deals with the fact that the thoughtless youth have towards the drum. In stanza two the cruel reality of war is displayed. The reader is able to visualise the towns and villages, which are now “ravaged plains and burning towns” war is about the suffering of the innocent as well as the soldiers then referred as “ruined swains” .

The soldiers are described as mortally wounded with “mangled limbs” uttering “dying groans” leading to “widows tears and orphans” John Scott has written this poem very graphical as the subject of war is hard to write about and explain. He has tried to make it sound as realistic as possible. It is very resonant with the cries and anguish of death In the in the second stanza there is also us e of personification, yet again we are able to visualise the advice given, this time by misery’s hand. Misery’s hand seems to be a frail old woman who has saw the true nature of every war.

He has written this poem in two contrasting stanzas, the first stanza suggests that the men joining up are doing it for freedom but in the second stanza it is revealed that they didn’t at all join for this reason. I thought this poem was really good for the reason that it shows two different contrasts of war. The poem is very concise and taut. It is quite short but gives a lot of impact on the reader. I have enjoyed both poems that I analysed they deliver the true message of war and have made a great impact on my knowledge of what war is really and truly like for the soldiers their families and countries.