"Attack" is a poem written in 1917 by Siegfried Sassoon while he was convalescing from his wounds in a hospital in Scotland. He was a soldier who fought in the First World War. Attack is a short, 13-line poem written in speech rhythm with some rhyme. The poem is described in a very vivid way which makes the reader think that the author himself witnessed the scene. The poem begins with the poet describing the setting of the poem. The landscape is in a battlefield where there are still remains of previous battles. The poet pictures it in a way that makes the scene very menacing and uncomfortable. The poem goes on with the soldiers fighting in the attack with their hopes struggling in the midst of war. Sassoon then ends the poem with an impassioned plea, "O Jesus, make in stop!"
One major technique that the author uses in order to convey of the horror of the battlefield and what it seemed to be like to be in an attack is literal and figurative imageries. Examples of literal images are "the ridge emerges", "bombs and guns and shovels and battle-gear", "lines of grey, muttering faces". The poet uses very striking diction that makes the poem sounds more uncomfortable, for example, "scarred slope". The colour of the atmosphere is described as dun and wild purple which accentuates on the menacing atmosphere of the setting. The verbs at the beginning of the poem are very significant as they seem to be particularly strong in this poem, like the description of the tank "creep and topple" over the ridge, the barrage that "roars and lifts" or the men who "jostle and climb to", etc. On the other hand, the poet also uses a lot of figurative images. These figurative images include: "time ticks blank and busy on their wrists", "and hope, with furtive eyes, ..., flounders in mud", etc. These images help to personify and emphasize the meaning of the poem, for example, in line 11:
"While time ticks blank and busy on their wrists"
The figurative image here delivers the...
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