The Soldier Poem Analysis

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The First World War caused a change that shifted the style and language of poetry, moving it away from traditional themes to express the loss and despair that came from experiences on the brutal hell-scape of battlefields. The “Great War” saw advancements in mechanized weaponry and the constant bombardment of mortar shells, machine gun fire, and chemical weapon attacks combined with the primitive tactics of trench warfare made for a particularly hopeless situation on the front lines. The Modernist writers that emerged from the romanticized Georgian era were labeled the “lost generation” both in that many had lost their lives during the war and those who survived had lost their faith in empirical politics and in some respect their humanity …show more content…
Brooke is considered a Georgian poet and he adheres to the traditional form of the sonnet in “The Soldier.” The sonnet is in general a love poem and this is certainly that, as the poem touts a love for country. It presents a glorification of war, romanticizing death, and establishing a sentimental portrayal of dying for one’s country. Brooke embeds quintessential elements that define patriotism with the first stanza, creating an attachment to the homeland and the second stanza being a proclamation of devotion to the homeland. From the beginning the tone of patriotism is established as the speaker states that he wishes not to be mourned because “There is some corner of a foreign field / that is forever England…” (line 2, 3). His body claims small portion of foreign earth that now becomes English soil as his “dust” or body now lays claim to that land. The speaker’s statement indicates that no one should feel sorrow for him or feel regretful of a life lost. There should be no sadness because in essence, he has accomplished his mission. In that regard it means that no death is ever in vain, that at the very least the soldier conquered the land for England. Brooke presents the idea that the death of a soldier is to be considered honorable and noble and that sacrifice in the service of the country is never …show more content…
Sweet and decorous” (Greenblatt 2037). It’s also the title of an anti-war poem by Wilfred Owen “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” Owen looks at the realities of war, painting a picture of death on the battlefield that is far darker than the trumped-up patriotic rhetoric presented in Brooke’s poem. The speaker describes a reality only known to the soldiers on the front line. He describes the men of modern warfare not as the heroes of myth filled tales, but as “old beggars..., Knock-kneed, coughing like hags” (1, 2), ill equipped and exhausted their flair for battle extinguished. He goes on to present the memory of a gruesome chemical gas attack and the final moments of an unlucky soldier “flound’ring like a man in fire” (12) drowning “under a green sea” (14) of gas. As opposed to a nobler fall that claims the land for England, the speaker in Owen’s poem can only helplessly watch his comrade plunge toward him “… guttering, choking, drowning” (16). The wounded soldier is writhing in agony gasping for air, but instead can only inhale the putrid smoke cast by the enemy. The depiction is not a magnificent warrior’s death, but is vile and nightmarish, as the dying body convulses with “… the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs” (21, 22). The final

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