Topics: Siegfried Sassoon, World War I, William Butler Yeats Pages: 57 (23808 words) Published: March 4, 2013

1. SIEGFRIED SASSOON (Blighters; They; The Hero; The General) - Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English poet and author. He became known as a writer of satirical anti-war verse during World War I. He later won acclaim for his prose work, notably his three-volume fictionalised autobiography, collectively known as the "Sherston Trilogy". Siegfried Sassoon was born on 8th September 1886 at Weirleigh, near Paddock Wood in Kent. After Marlborough College he went to Clare College, Cambridge, but left without a degree. For the next eight years lived the life of a country gentleman. He spent his tie hunting, playing sports and writing poetry. Published privately, Sassoon's poetry made very little impact on the critics or the book buying public. On the outbreak of the First World War Sassoon enlisted as a cavalry trooper in the Sussex Yeomanry. In May 1915 Sassoon became an officer in the Royal Fusiliers, and was posted to the Western Front in France. Considered to be recklessly brave, he soon obtained the nickname 'Mad Jack'. In June 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for bringing a wounded man back to the British lines while under heavy fire. While in France he met the poets Robert Graves and Wilfred Owen. After being wounded in April 1917, Sassoon was sent back to England. Sassoon had grown increasingly angry about the tactics being employed by the British Army and in July 1917 published a Soldier's Declaration, which announced that "I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it." Sassoon's hostility to war was also reflected in his poetry. During the war Sassoon developed a harshly satirical style that he used to attack the incompetence and inhumanity of senior military officers. These poems caused great controversy when they were published in The Old Huntsman (1917) and Counter-Attack (1918).

-Blighters- In ‘Blighters’ Sassoon can’t wait until the war is over. The love for the war is gone and he doesn’t think he is still the "old Huntsman". When he wrote this poem the war was probably busy for a long time. He must have had some terrible experiences and that is noticeable. In the first sentence he calls the trenches his house, "The house is crammed: tier beyond tier they grin", the soldiers get a bit crazy, they are stuffed together in a trench with terrible experiences, they don’t smile because of happiness. In the second sentence he says that they talk about the war, which is no glorious friend anymore but has turned into “a show”. "While prancing ranks" is also a ambiguity, if you die you ‘prance a rank’, but they also changed trenches every week so you could heal at the trench in the back and fight at the trench in the front. “The harlots” in the third sentence is another ambiguity: it could be seen as the war itself or as the enemy. Then at the end of the first stanza they get cynical about the Leader (‘Kaiser’), they complain about their bad situation. In the second stanza he is honest that he wants to go home and stop the war. He wants a tank to come in their trench to start the liberation with the melody of ‘Home, sweet Home’. He wants to get home, and stop getting mad in the trenches making bad jokes about the dead. ‘Blighters’ is very direct that he wants the war to stop. ‘Blighters’ is divided in two stanzas and Sassoon uses symbolism. In ‘Blighters’ he has more then one nickname for the war, for example “ the Show “ in the second sentence of ‘Blighters’. The ‘Blighters’ was written in the war. It is about the war and give very clearly opinion about it. The death is an important subject. There is a lot figure of speech, he never calls the war a war, he has always another metaphor or simile for it. Sassoon also uses the weapons as some kind of ambiguity. The tank from ‘ Blighters’ in the fifth sentence is an understatement....
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