Soldiers As Instruments Of Death In Siegfried Sassoon's Figurative War

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Register to read the introduction…  It is unlikely that the officer feels any sorrow for the individual; if there is any sorrow, it is for the loss of the potential killing that this figurative war machine could have produced.  This objectification of soldiers as instruments of death is echoed in Siegfried Sassoon's Counter Attack: "Down, and down, and down, he sank and drowned, // bleeding to death.  The counter-attack had failed" (Silkin, p130).  The fact that this poem ends with the statement, "The counter-attack had failed," indicates that this individual's death, viewed from a macroscopic perspective - that is, the perspective of the elites - is insignificant: significance is seen to lie in the fact that this killing-machine's production had been halted, and it's task remains incomplete.  Two additional quotes implying the insignificance of soldiers is in A Working Party: "He was a young man with a meagre wife // And two small children in a Midland town..." (Silkin, p94) and in All Quiet on the Western Front "...almost all of us are simple folk.  And in France, too, the majority of men are labourers, workmen, or poor …show more content…
 The soldiers became alienated from their own government: their own country had lied to them.  When Paul returned home on leave in All Quiet on the Western Front, he experienced a similar sense of disillusionment and dislocation, as illustrated in the following quote.  "I imagined leave would be different from this.  Indeed, it was different a year ago.  It is I of course that have changed in the interval.  There lies a gulf between that time and to-day.  At that time I still knew nothing about the war, we had only been in quiet sectors.  But now I see that I have been crushed without knowing it.  I find I do not belong here any more, it is a foreign world" (Remarque, …show more content…
 Of course, this is not what the elites wanted their soldiers to think about; they wanted efficient killing-machines that would not notice the discrepancy between what they were witnessing war to be and what they were told about war.  They wanted their soldiers to believe in courage, to believe in patriotism, to believe that dying for one's country is the greatest honour.  These are the concepts that ensure that killing-machines do not malfunction and that elites can wallow in their vanities; however, people are not machines, and vanity does not justify

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