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  1. Newbie
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    Poetry Analysis - Help


    I would be really thankful if someone corrects my essay! I hope I didn't make too many mistakes

    Thanks in advance!

    Suicide in the trenches -Siegfried Sassoon

    I knew a simple soldier boy
    Who grinned at life in empty joy,
    Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
    And whistled early with the lark.

    In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
    With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
    He put a bullet through his brain.
    No one spoke of him again.

    You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
    Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
    Sneak home and pray you'll never know
    The hell where youth and laughter go.

    The war poem ''Suicide In The Trenches'', which was written by Siegfried Sassoon in 1918, describes the change that war conflicts on soldiers. It is about an untroubled young boy until he goes off to fight in Word War One, where he commits suicide.
    Sassoon points out the psychological effects on soldiers, who fought the war and also the depression they have afterwards.

    The poem is written in iambic tetrameter and consists of twelve verses in three stanzas.
    Each stanza is divided into two rhyming couplets. The style of the poem seems very simple to understand without any difficult words.
    At the beginning of the first stanza the image of a happy, young, and perhaps rather naive boy is shown. Due to the personal pronoun ''I'' (v.1) the poet demonstrates a connection to the character or may have shared similar experiences in relation to war.
    The use of the alliteration ''simple soldier boy'' portrays how innocent the boy is and maybe doesn’t really understand the concept of war. Moreover, the metaphor ''grinned at life in empty joy'' suggests to a happy carefree young man without having faced any hardships in his current life. It also gives an image to an immature boy who turns into a soldier. He sleeps soundly even ''through the lonesome dark'' (v.3). In every way, the boy seems at peace with himself and untroubled by any worries. It also foreshadows the fears that the solider will have in the night because of the war. He will not longer be able to sleep soundly again.
    His whistling (v.4) highlights his carefree personality once again. The lark, which is a spring bird, symbolizes youth (v.4). The fact he arises with the lark ''early'' represents enthusiasm. A young soldier boy who is excited for an adventure.
    For the second stanza the poet chooses winter for the setting, which symbolizes the harshness and coldness of the war.
    Next, the boy is described as ''cowed and glum'' (v.5), which is a contrast to his previous ''grin''(v.2). Moreover, the season changes from ''spring'' (symbolized by the lark) to ''winter'', which refers to ''death'' or ''the last step''.
    The next line ''crumps and lice and lack of rum'' builds up the depressing setting surrounding him. ''Crumps'' shows that destruction is still occurring around him while he is there ''cowed and glum'' on his own. ''Lice and lack of rum'' shows the dirtiness of the area. The ''Lice'' suggests diseases in the trenches, whereas ''lack of rum'' shows the little supplies the soldiers have.
    The detailed description of the worse circumstances of the soldier sharpens the situation, where the young soldier commits suicide by putting ''a bullet through his brain''(v.7). The assonance ''no one spoke of him again'' shows how many soldiers will be forgotten after their deaths. The individual personalities are lost and no one will ever remember them.
    In the last stanza the personal pronoun ''you'' (v.9) is an accusatory, which points at those who glorify war and convince young men to go to war. "Smug-faced crowds" is used to show how the crowd thinks that they are patriotic for cheering on the soldiers when in reality, they can't relate to the soldiers because they have never experienced war. They cheer for those who come home but don't acknowledge the dead and forgotten.
    Furthermore, ''kindling'' is a reference to adding kindling to fire, which can be destructive and out of control. It implies that the people who send men to war are adding to the fire that makes the war on purpose.
    "The hell where youth and laughter go" brings out the poet's feelings about war. His view of war as an evil hell contrasts with the public's view of war as a glorious place.
    Sassoon wants the public to know that they are sending young boys off to hell. They will never forget war and perhaps never leave. If the boys return, their "youth and laughter" will be gone forever.
    He criticizes the crowds of people, who cheer on the war and the soldiers.

    The tone changes throughout the poem. The tone of the first stanza is happy, innocent and naive, which is created by the young soldier boy. The beginning makes the innocence and happiness of the boy clear before the First World War. Whereas the tone of the second stanza changes completely. It is sad, depressing, yearning, dark and gloomy, which is highlighted by the winter trenches and the anxious attitude of the boy. In verse seven and eight it even becomes more depressing and sad, when the boy commits suicide.
    The tone of the last stanza is still depressing but also angry and sarcastic. It sums up the message that war is a terrible thing. And the innocent soldiers going to fight will never be able to erase those awful memories from their mind after the adults they trusted, lied to them about the reality of war. War has caused the innocent young boys to become inhumane soldiers without any feelings or emotions.
    All in all Siegfried Sassoon is clearly against war and wants to show the reader how horrifying the life as a soldier is.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
    English Teacher
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    Re: Poetry Analysis - Help

    When are you going to submit your essay/poem analysis to your teacher/tutor?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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