How Does the Poet Convey the Horrors of the War in ‘Attack’?

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How does the poet convey the horrors of the war in ‘Attack’?

The poet conveys the horrors by using personification, onomatopoeias and other interesting techniques. In Sassoon’s poem ‘Attack’ he includes: Lack of hope, loss of human identity, sacrifice of life, desperation of soldiers and the disorganization and discomfort of war.

The horror of war is portrayed in the way that the soldiers are deprived of their human identity and are just seen as a ‘thing’ and not individuals. In the middle of the poem Sassoon uses an ambiguous line that can be interpreted differently. The phrase is “Lines of grey”. This could be a man’s face and how it is talking about the mud getting embedded in the lines on his face; which are making them look grey. However, it could also be the long line of soldiers standing; they are not being recognized individually but more as a whole. They are described as grey because they are covered in mud and they are obviously sad and keeping their faces down so they can’t be seen. The next line that takes away the soldiers’ identity is “muttering faces”. This is taking away their integrity by saying that it is a large number of people; the soldiers aren’t being recognized. So as the soldiers are not being perceived properly it is magnifying the horror of not being ‘seen’ by the others around you, a sense that you are on your own.

The poet describes the ruthlessness of the war through the desperation of soldiers and the sacrifice of life. At the end of the poem Sassoon says “grappling fists” this is using a present participle, which is giving you a sense of immediacy; that this is happening now. To be grappling something you are trying to hold on in desperation, but this task is now unsuccessful because of the fact that they are using their fists. The poet also uses “to meet the bristling fire” this is more a sacrifice of life rather than desperation because the men have to ‘jostle’ and ‘climb’ over their trenches to get shot at. It is...
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