Both poets have stylishly fashioned poems which revolve around the common underlying theme of war, but each poet has employed different devices of both language or style and form to create poems which, while on the same theme, relate starkly different messages. “The Dead-Beat” (Poem A) is about a situation whereby a major war is happening and the persona is at lost, not knowing what to do – just shooting his weapons around (hoping to kill his enemies) before he himself died whereas “Killers” (Poem B) talks about the position whereby the persona is witnessing the war instead of being in one. ‘Sixteen million men’ risked their lives to be in a war, either to kill or to be killed.
The tone for poem A is likely to be sarcastic and ironical whereas the tone for poem B is melancholic and subtle. Poem A is sarcastic and cynical as the persona is actually cursing himself when he fell into the trench, a descriptive account as to what had happen in the first stanza. “He dropped, - more sullenly than wearily. // Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat,” The use of metaphor is clearly seen in the line as well. The persona described himself dumb like a cod and weighty like meat. This implies that the persona is just too oblivious and clumsy. As much as he should be thinking about the situation of the war, he is pretty much worrying more about his own safety and priority. Also, the idea of sarcasm is obviously portrayed in the last line of the couplet in poem A, “That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!” Death is more towards the emotional and depressing situation however the idea of onomatopoeia, “Hooray!” which is actually the sound of celebration and joyfulness, totally retract the idea of a solemn state. Therefore, it shows the paradox and ironic tone of poem A.
In contrast to poem A, poem B has a melancholic and morose tone instead. The usage of words such as “young warm blood” in the second stanza and “beat on my head for memory of them” in the fourth...
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