The Effects of War in Mametz Wood and Futility

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Compare how poets present the effects of war in ‘Mametz Wood’ and in one other poem from Conflict. The poems that I will be comparing are the poems, Mametz Wood and Futility. Both Mametz Wood and Futility are about the death of ordinary men in the First World War. They both contrast the images of men and earth and both are concerned with the memory of the dead. Owen's work, however, seems angry at the indifference of nature to the fate of innocent men. Sheers' poem sees a deeper connection between the two elements. The earth itself becomes a kind of witness to the meaningless tragedy. Mametz Wood is written in three-line stanzas. The length of the lines changes. In some cases (for instance lines 4 and 12) the longer lines very clearly break up the neat form of the poem. These suggest the uneven ploughed field or the chits of bone rising out of the ground. The use of full-stops shows there is a clear, regular structure within the poem: a single stanza is followed by a pair of stanzas, then another single stanza is followed by another pair. The final, seventh stanza acts as a conclusion. This structure reflects the changing focus of the poem – from the land (the single stanzas one and four) then bones and people (the paired stanzas that come next). The final stanza then joins these three things into a single image: the 'unearthed' skulls singing in celebration. Futility however is written in a sonnet form but is not structured like one. The two stanzas each show different feelings that the persona has for example it starts off with hope and confidence and ends in despair. The poem begins with a statement that suggests an action happening now. The sun is seen as something positive. The second stanza begins with a different statement. The narrator is no longer thinking of the man who is dying but life and death generally. We can therefore work out that the man has died and the sun has made no difference. The sun then becomes the object of the poet's anger. The key...
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