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Themes
TRENCH LIFE & BATTLE

“Coughing Like Hags” - Dulce Et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen “Guttering, choking, drowning” - Dulce Et Decorum Est, Wilfred Owen “Stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle” – Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen “A great mass of things unclean” – A Dead Boche, Robert Graves “Like several different kinds of Hell” –Brooke, in a letter on his day in the war “So much muscle and blood in the Earth” Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks “Beyond the boundaries of human behaviour” -Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks “The turned soil and torn flesh of war.” - Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks “Meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud” - my sweet old etcetera, e.e. cummings
“You think there’s no limit to what a man can bear?”– Stanhope in Journey’s End, Sherriff

LOSS

“They expected to die” – Birdsong, Faulks
“A dust whom England bore” – The Soldier, Brooke
“Gentleness, in hearts at peace, under an English Heaven” – The Soldier, Brooke “As scared as any frightened child” – The Deserter, Letts “Looking on the face of grief, the face of dread” – June 1915, Charlotte Mew “The soldier dying dies upon a kiss,

The very kiss of Christ” - Summer in England 1914, Alice Meynell “ The holy glimmer of goodbyes” – Anthem For Doomed Youth, Owen “ Each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds” – Anthem For Doomed Youth, Owen

PATRIOTISM

“Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” – Dulce Et Decorum Est, Owen “ Who’ll give his country a hand?” – [i]Who’s For The Game, Jessie Pope “ my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege” - my sweet old etcetera, e.e. cummings
“ There’s something rather romantic about it all” – Osborne in Journey’s End, Sherriff “ He looked splendid. It – sort of made me feel…keen to get out here” - Raleigh in Journeys End, Sherriff “ My hatred of the Kaiser is love true” – This Is No Case Of Petty Right Or Wrong – Thomas “As we love ourselves, we hate her foe” – This Is No Case Of Petty Right Or Wrong, Thomas

WOMEN AND THEIR ROLES

“You love us when we’re heroes” – Glory Of Women, Sassoon “ Come along lads” – Who’s For The Game, Jessie Pope “ Isabel created hundreds (and hundreds) of socks”–my sweet old etcetera, cummings “ Can’t you see it isn’t decent, to flout and goad men into doing what is not asked of you?” – The Jingo-Woman, Helen Hamilton “ We dare not weep who must be brave in battle” – Of All Who Died In Silence Far Away, Iris Tree “ Anyone affected by the war is entitled to comment upon it” – Nasheen Khan

GENERAL

“ Not quite clear…what the fuss was about” – He Went For A Soldier, Ruth Mitchell “ The political errors and insincerities” – A Soldier’s Declaration, Sassoon “ A war of aggression and conquest” – A Soldier’s Declaration, Sassoon “ I am acting on behalf of soldiers” - A Soldier’s Declaration, Sassoon “ An exploration of how far men can be degraded” – Birdsong, Faulks “ You are going to fight and you are going to win.” – Birdsong, Faulks “ They didn’t believe in shellshock at all…it was just cowardice” - Regeneration, Pat Barker “ The pity and terror the war experience inevitably evoked” – Regeneration, Pat Barker “It all seems rather silly, doesn’t it?” – Raleigh in Journey’s End, Sherriff “ My subject is war and the pity of war.” – Wilfred Owen

CRITICAL COMMENTS ON THE WAR CANON

“ Passive suffering is not a theme for poetry” – Yeats “War equates with combat thus limiting the canon” – James Campbell “ The knowledge of combat is a prerequisite for the production of a literary text that adequately deals with war” – James Campbell “Anyone affected by war is entitled to comment upon it” – Nasheen Khan “ The spectator, the contemplator, the opposer of war have their hours with the enemy no less than uniformed combatants” – Richard Eberhart

Pre-WWI Literature

‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Alfred Lord Tennyson • Disastrous incident in the Crimean war.
• “Into the valley of death/ Rode the six hundred” - Celebrates...
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