Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were British poets and soldiers, regarded by many as the leading poets of the First World War. Their shocking, realistic War poetry on the horrors of the trench and gas warfare ended in them being institutionalized for their beliefs.
Firstly, Siegfried Sassoon will be analysed in Base Details and explore how he exploits the War in his poem.
Base details is based upon Sassoon enlightening the readers of the truth about the Majors in the War and what they were really like. Sassoon includes himself into the poem to portray to the reader how if he were a Major, how his attitude would differ, ‘If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath.’ This beginning line strongly indicates to the audience Sassoon himself is imagining he was one of the Majors during the war. Cleverly, Sassoon is here ridiculing the Majors by merely calling them old, overweight and that they were bullies. Straight away the reader feels a sense of Sassoon is going to tell the truth in this poem and speak out for what he believes in.
The structure of the poem is very simple and set out in two stanzas with ten syllables on each line. This gives the rhythm of the poem to flow and symbolize a nursery rhyme.
Language in poems indicates to the reader the tone and authority of the poem. Sassoon, throughout the whole poem uses childlike language that represents a nursery rhyme cadence. ‘…Last scrap’ this quotation shows how the majors think of the War to be a game and that it meaning to them. Sassoon purposely uses the reference of ‘scrap’ to present to the reader that the war was meaningless to the Majors and how they did not see the true horror the War caused.
By using the alliteration of ‘puffy petulant’ it demonstrates the plosives used of the ‘P’ sound; which strongly indicates the annoyance in Sassoon’s tone toward the Majors and wider, to the War. To continue, Sassoon uses plosives and childlike language to portray the Majors in an appalling light, as we the audience know and understand how dreadful the war was.
There are many stylistic devices that prove of Sassoon’s dislike toward the War. ‘…And speed glum heroes up the line to death’ this powerful quotation consists of an oxymoron. It shows how the Majors would quickly rush the heroes over the trench; only for them to be killed. Alliteration provides the constant remembrance of certain words; ‘…Guzzling and Gulping in the best hotel’ Sassoon explains here how during the soldiers being killed and seriously injured by the War, the Majors would be rudely eating and drinking in a repulsive manner. The expression of ‘gulping’ could also be a dual meaning of gulping their guilt away and hiding their remorse through the metaphorical state of enjoying themselves.
Throughout the whole poem, Sassoon uses deep meanings behind his poems to portray his dislike toward the War, ‘I’d live with scarlet majors at the Base’ The use of scarlet represents the British troops uniform of what Sassoon would be wearing, but also the emblematic meaning of blood and death. Conversely, the title itself gives the reader an indication of the poem, ‘Base Details’ is a dual meaning of Army details and also ‘Base’ symbolizes the basic and blunt truth Sassoon is going to tell the reader about the war.
Base Details has strong imagery throughout. The strongest imagery is of bald, old Majors in the finest hotel greedily eating whilst the soldiers are dying for their country. ‘Poor young chap I’d say’ This line represents the anger Sassoon felt toward the War by selecting ‘Young’ as it illustrates how young the soldiers were during the War.
Siegfried Sassoon is trying to achieve impact on the reader. He explains all the true horrors of the War and is blunt and too the point about it in his Poem. He sees the war for what is really is and depicts the Majors to be oblivious and ignorant toward the War. The Majors see the War as a game with ‘scrap’ ‘youth’ and ‘toddle’ being...
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