Edward Thomas and the Theme of War.

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Discuss the ways in which Thomas presents the effects of war in “Gone, gone again”. In your answer, explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form, and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Thomas you have studied.

Throughout the poem the most prominent theme that Thomas includes are the references to the war. In fourth stanza “and when the war began” is a direct reference to the war, due to the context of the verses around it, the reference seems to be written quite bluntly. The first three stanzas have been written quite calmly, it paints a more ‘relaxed’ image in the reader’s mind, whereas it switches to referencing the war, which is a dramatic change of tone compares to the calmer, more relaxed first three verses.

However, even though there may not be a direct link to the war in the stanzas, Thomas may have created war-like subtext inside the stanzas. For instance, "with grass growing, instead of the footsteps of life" could suggest that once a family lived here, long before the war, the house was full of life, however, due to the poem saying "instead" it can lead the reader to believe that now the war is taking place, it is destroying families inside their homes and leaving nothing but the grass to grow, the only life left in the house is a plant that can grow and spread quickly, much like a virus. Also, within the stanza, Thomas uses imagery to create a better picture in the readers' mind. For example, "outmoded, dignified, dark and untenanted" suggests that what was great is now crumbling, with all the life it once held has gone, leaving it "untenanted", however, due to the war, it remains "dignified" because of how the inhabitants may have died in the war. This can also be linked back to the previous stanza, wherein Thomas writes that the "war began to turn young men to dung", this could mean that the bodies of the once living are now fertilising the fields and how war destroys and kills everything, it kills them, but...
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