Essay on Siegfried Sassoon's "The Rear Guard" Analysis

903 Words Nov 21st, 2013 4 Pages
Independent study: Siegfried Sassoon’s “The Rear Guard”

Groping along the tunnel, step by step, He winked his prying torch with patching glare From side to side, and sniffed the unwholesome air. Tins, boxes, bottles, shapes too vague to know, A mirror smashed, the mattress from a bed; And he, exploring fifty feet below The rosy gloom of battle overhead. Tripping, he grabbed the wall; saw some one lie Humped at his feet, half-hidden by a rug, And stooped to give
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Because of this, the poem gives the reader a feeling of panic and urgency towards the soldier. It’s written in third person which leads the reader to believe that Sassoon is talking about either a friend or an acquaintance.

The poem has a ‘bouncy’ feel to it because Sassoon used rhyme throughout. The use of rhyme like “creatures muffled sound… in his hair…the twilight air” not only gives a bouncy feel, it also causes the reader to read the poem faster as it flows well and with good rhythm. This is very fitting for this poem as it links in well with the feel of panick.

“Groping” is a very carefully selected word to start off the poem. It’s a very powerful word which dives right into the poem without any warning right into the action. Sassoon may have decided to use this to show that the person talked about is struggling with what he’s doing. It may seem a small thing to think about but actually Sassoon is giving us an insight into war time and how everything was a struggle, but if you weren’t there, you never really know how bad things got.

Sassoon describes the torch in a similar way to how one would describe an eye. It says how “He winked his prying torch with patching glare”. Winking, prying and glaring are all verbs related to an eye and it shows that this is the soldiers’ substitute to vision as it’s pitch black. Because the torch flashes on and off, it

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