‘Who’s for the game’ is a conversational poem through which Jessie Pope’s representation of war encapsulates the jingoistic opinion of her culture: that war was fun, jovial and full of glory that any young man could earn if only he had the courage.
In essence, this poem is based around the comparison of war to a sporting game and in lines 1 and 2 we can see this metaphor being created with the words “...the game, the biggest that’s played” and “game of a fight.”. This lighthearted tone continues when Pope utilises the idea linking nature of rhyme to contrast the ‘courageous’ options and the ‘cowardly’ options, as can be seen in lines 2 and 4. After reading these lines, it is clear to the reader that Pope has represented war as a game noble and glorious.
On line 11 Pope suggests that the worst thing that could happen to a soldier is to return home on crutches - not death - and on lines 7 and 8 Pope asks every young man if they want to take part in the “show” of war or if they want to just sit in the “stands”. These 3 lines make evident the crux of the second side to Pope’s representation. In saying that the worst thing that could possibly happen to a soldier is coming home on crutches, Pope has represented war as not only noble and glorious - but harmless!
The modern world hadn’t yet experienced war on as large or costly scale as World War 1 and Jessie pope was only one of many poets whose poems are evidence of this fact. Who’s For The Game is a quintessential jingoistic poem of that time - one that represents war as honourable, noble, and ultimately, a glory machine for which to work one must only have the same amount of courage that is needed to play a game of sport.
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