Both of the poems ‘The Dug-Out’ and ‘Breakfast’ try to convey a message that is the futility and horror of the war. ‘The Dug-Out’ shows the horror of the war by accentuating the fear of death in the poem. However, ‘Breakfast’ transfers the meaning of triviality by describing the hardship in the breakfast time in the trenches. ‘The Dug-Out’ is written as a single stanza with simple structure and sentence. The poet has chosen this structure to convey striking imagery and therefore to reflect the reality of the war.
The poem begins with the adverb ‘why’ to intrigue the reader and also creates a sense of uneasiness with words ‘ungainly huddled’. The poet chooses to use the metaphor of a candle to portray the solder’s dying as the burning out of a candle. The alliteration ‘guttering gold’ emphasizes the candle imagery and also shares the pain with the reader. ‘You wonder why’ is in narrative voice shows the rejection putting a sense of hopeless. The last two lines are in italic and this highlights its importance.
The metaphor of ‘fall asleep for ever’ symbolizes the death and this ‘remind[s]’ the poet of the other ‘dead[s]’. The emotive language such as ‘sullen’, ‘drowsy’ states the fact that these soldiers are bordering on insanity as the fear of death has scarred them mentally. Sassoon’s view therefore becomes clear, that death has become as commonplace as sleep and war creates fear – especially the fear of death – for every soldier in any mundane condition. The title of the poem ‘Breakfast’ has been chosen to put a sense of ordinarily and triviality.
Gibson chooses to use a simple verse on ‘Breakfast’ as well as ‘The Dug-out’. The poem begins a simple statement: ‘we ate our breakfast lying on our backs’. This straightforward account creates a sense of immediacy and also it begins with a second person narrative – ‘we’ to include the reader. Gibson chooses to use imagery of everyday life to represent the terror and horror of the war. In a betting of a rugby game, Ginger is dead because he ‘raised his head’. The killing of person in a betting during the breakfast time clearly illustrates the dreadfulness of the life in trenches.
The effect of contrast is emphasized by the semi-colon – this makes action more dramatic. The poem begins and ends with the same lines emphasizes that war is in everyday life just as the eating of breakfast and the shelling are also linked. Unlike ‘The Dug-Out’, there is no melancholy or emotive language in the poem whereas Giblson frequently use the simple word and slang to create a matter-of-fact tone and this generates a more horrific feeling upon the reader. Both poems portray the horror and fear of the war and make their point that war is futile by conveying powerful imagery in trenches.
Both of them use the simple stanza and structure to express the feeling of fear and the sense of immediacy in trenches. ‘The Dug-Out’ is set in a mood of melancholy by using the pathos language such as the ‘guttering gold’ candle and describing the dankness that is surrounded with. Nevertheless, ‘Breakfast’ achieves the same level of horror only by simple language as Gibson cleverly connects the war to the eating of breakfast and therefore emphasizes his idea of triviality and fultility.