Break of Day in the Trenches

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Courtney Zamarione
Mr. Neuber
Pre-Ap English II 1st hour
February 8, 2013

In life, everyone has a time where they question their chance of survival or their mortality. In Break of Day in the Trenches, by Isaac Rosenberg, he makes a reference that a rat has a better chance of surviving that he does. That even someone more worthless than him is going to survive this terrible thing called war. In this narrative poem, he is at war fighting in France during World War I, questioning his chance of survival. He comes in contact with a rat and starts to have a conversation with it about war and what the rat thinks of war. The author is jealous of the rat and knows that the rat will be the only one who will survive this war. The mood of the poem is casual, because the author is having a conversation with the rat about war. The tone however is sadness. He is fighting in a war where he knows he is going to get killed.

Isaac Rosenberg does a great job of using figurative language to convey his poem to his audience. He uses alliteration to keep the poem flowing and to make it more interesting for the reader. Since the poem has no specific rhyme scheme, the author also uses assonance to add rhyme to the poem. The overall theme to the poem is war is hell. Another theme could be, war can change the way you think about things and also change your perspective on life.

In the first six lines of the poem, the author meets a rat. In lines one and two he is explaining how horrible war is by saying, “The darkness crumbles away it is the same druid Time as ever,” (1.1-1.2). The author is miserable. “Only a live thing leaps my hand, a queer sardonic rat,” (1.3-1.4). He meets a rat while he is fighting at war in a trench. He is saying that the rat is weird and mocking, and that it is the only thing that is live. He uses alliteration when he says, “Only a live thing leaps my hand,” (1.3). “As I pull the parapet’s poppy to stick behind my ear.” (1.5-1.6). The author uses...
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