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1914 poetry

By rayraygreen Oct 14, 2014 763 Words
In the poetry of 1914 there is both crude propaganda and poems that are subtle and deeply moving if naïve. The poetry in 1914 had purpose for why they were written. Some were written with the intent of trying to enlist more men for the war because the authors believed that all men should fight for their country. While others were to show everyone that war is not so glorious and there is nothing sweet about fighting for their country. Either way, they all used naïve idealism or sometimes crude propaganda but at times they were deeply moving. In Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for the game’, she gives us crude propaganda throughout the whole poem. She gives ordinary circumstances and links them in with war, showing who is heroic enough to ‘grip and tackle the job unafraid’ and who is too cowardly that ‘he’d rather sit tight’. Also, Pope subtly forces any man who decides to stay home to feel guilty and faint-hearted, she uses another form of propaganda. However, she tried to make the war seem easier than it was so she wrote the poem like a nursery rhyme, in a patriotic and jolly way. She relates the whole poem to a game to decrease the seriousness of the war. Pope uses subtle persuasion to further convince more men to go to war: ‘Who knows it won’t be a picnic -not much- yet eagerly shoulders a gun?’ In the last verse, Pope uses direct address (‘you’) to make the reader feel like she is talking to them. Also, direct address is subtle persuasion but it gets straight to the point. However Pope understates the whole concept of war which can be a kind of deception (propaganda). As we can seem, Jessie Pope’s attitude towards recruitment for war was ardent. By contrast in ‘Death’ the imagery of beauty is moving. Throughout the poem fleeting beauty is portrayed e.g. in the words; washed, sunset, quick, blown, ended, changing. The adjectives from the poem that are listed normally don’t last long giving a sense of brief purity. This poem is deeply moving. In every line there are examples of this: ‘Washed marvellously with sorrow, swift to mirth.’ This technique causes the reader to sympathise with the soldiers and their families. Also, caesura is used fairly often in the poem. Its effect is to separate and juxtapose certain ideas and images. The poem starts off dark and cold: ‘sunset’, ‘alone’, ‘ended’: but towards the end of the poem it turns light and holy: ‘And lit by the rich skies… He leaves a white unbroken glory, a gathered radiance, a width, a shining peace, under the night’. Notice the poet has written ‘He leaves a white…’- ‘He’ refers to God. England to Her Sons by W.N.Hodgson is deeply moving from start to finish. Hodgson portrays the war as chivalrous and states just how costly a sacrifice it is to send England’s ‘children’. Making the war seem chivalrous makes it feel like an honour to fight. Also, the wording is slightly archaic making it feel like tradition to fight for your country. Not only is it chivalrous but it is also extremely patriotic, showing how important it is to protect the country. This poem was meant for the parents of the soldiers, it was meant to be a comfort, to assure them it was the right choice letting their son go to war. Similarly Brooke’s sonnet ‘The Soldier’ is also subtle and deeply moving. ‘If I should die, think only this of me:’ -this is the poem’s first line. The first clause shows that he acknowledges and accepts the fatality of going to war: the second clause is an instruction, even after death he is instructing the reader to think about him. This soldier is very devoted to his country as he constantly repeats the word ‘England’. The last line in the poem is ‘In hearts at peace, under an English heaven’. This shows that even after death he will still remain English and he will go to an English heaven. To conclude, even though I only gave three poems of deep movement, we can see that most are moving, and few have crude propaganda. Some poems are harsh and discourage the admiration of women as the war was terrible, scarring and they believed that they didn’t deserve the glory. It is clear that these poem topics can vary but we can all agree that they are full of feeling, the pain these soldiers went through was unspeakable and channelling their emotions through poems educates all of us.

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