Background Facts About Vernon Scannell (1922 – 2007)
These might help you understand some of the emotions involved in the meaning of the poem.
Vernon Scannell was a British born poet. He came from a poor background . He always loved literature, but became more seriously involved in it about age 14. His father fought in the First World War, and similarly, Scannell was swept up by the action of WW2. He always hated Army life and deserted* soon after enlisting in 1940. He was caught and imprisoned, but released early in order to take part in the Normandy Invasion, better known as the D-Day landings. Being referred to medical institutes and hospitals throughout his career in the army and deserting twice shows how much he loathed the post. He found nothing in his temperament that fitted for the role of a soldier. This is reflected in some of his war poetry, such as the Walking Wounded, a brusque poetic representation of the cold reality of war. Many of his experiences in the Second World War carried through in to his poetry, as did that of his father’s involvement in the Great War.
Background Facts and Overview of the Poem
This is a brief insight into some of the purposeful ideas behind the poem.
Themes: War; Childhood; Excitement; Nostalgia (not such a main theme) Stepping into the action of the war from such an early age inevitably had a lasting effect on Vernon Scannell. Having a rough, unstable childhood (always struggling financially and constantly moving around the country for these reasons) meant that he was faced with many adult problems at arguably too young an age. This is very much reflected in the poem, because the child is faced with fear and uncertainty even when playing this friendly game. This poem seems deceptively simple on the face of it, but when inspected more closely is full of complex terrors and woes. The theme of the poem is childhood. Look out for some hidden references around this theme, such as child observation, and...
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