Suicide in the Trenches – an analysis
What is the meaning of war? What is war like? How do soldiers feel in a war? Glorious? Depressed? This poem accurately shows the harsh but sadly true reality of war - death, suicide and depression. Indeed, as quoted by Sir Williams Henry - “Nobody in his right mind would enjoy war”. The point of view is third person. This is effective in showing one case of suicide, in third person observation, representing the depression and desire to quickly die in everyone else. Life is really worse than death - and this is shown through the eye-catching title “Suicide in the Trenches”. The word “trenches” further emphasized that not only is this depression possessed by one young soldier boy, but also by many others in war. The setting is in depressing, smelly, and stuffy trenches as the title has blatantly stated. The story is about a young soldier boy’s transformation from a happy and innocent person into a depressed soldier who desires to kill himself, because life is really worse than death. The poet deliberately uses the small boy as an example to gain the reader’s sympathy. The structure of the poem is three stanzas with four lines in each. The rhyme scheme is A-A-B-B in each stanza. This seems to be a rigid structure, but it really does bring out how one’s initial carefree innocence and freedom is being lost once he enters the cruel and depressing battlefield, or in this case, trenches. The tone in the poem is obviously a bitter and sarcastic one as we can see from the last stanza - “You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye...”. Sassoon strongly feels the general public is unable to empathize with soldiers because there is no way to understand what war is like. Through this bitter and sad poem, the poet tries to bring out the theme of the poem - nobody can understand what war is like without personal experience. The language the poet uses is clever in conveying the theme - a balance of symbolism, diction and alliteration is put...
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