19 October 2006
War Poetry Analysis: Comparison between A.E. Houseman's "Here Dead Lie We Because We Did Not Choose" and Walt Whitman's "Reconciliation"
The XX century was marked by warlike conflicts; the biggest of them were the two World Wars, which affected the entire world in many different ways, without forgot the millions of people dead in them. As result is not rare that most part of the English poetry created in the beginning of the last century have as main subject the war, for this we can find a richer variety of poems, which show to us so many different points of view of war and tell us diverse experiences of life. For this reason, I will make a comparison between the poems "Here Dead Lie We Because We Did Not Choose" of A.E. Housman and "Reconciliation" of Walt Whitman. And if is true that both poems share the same topic, their clearly differ among them.
In Housman's poem, there is a dead young men talking to us of the futility of heroism, and a dark suspicion about that courage and cowardice, virtue and vice, are almost the same, since life does not matter anyway, is for this reason that they said: "Here dead lie we because we did not choose / To live and shame the land from which we sprung" (1-2). But the beautiful and naive youth, naturally think different. They think that when they die at their age, they have suffered a tragedy, but, paradoxically, they have chosen not to live. And when they said: "Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose; / But young men think it is, we were young man." (3-4) they are still refusing that life does not matter, and with their dead they lost everything. Housman would give them the final word and in the end he is not about to contradict them.
In the Walt Whitman's poem, we have two possibilities to read this poem, the first is taking the point of view of a veteran of war, whom was in the funeral of someone of "the other band", who was killed by him in the war or take the poem from the point a view of a...
Bibliography: Housman, A.E. "Here Dead Lie We Because We Did Not Choose"
Whitman, Walt. "Reconciliation"
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