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    War Poetry Essay Summary

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    Rupert Brooke, who never experienced war himself, writes patriotic poems and glorifies dying in honor of one’s country. In contrast, Wilfred Owen, who started writing poetry as part of his therapy for shell shock, writes about the senseless killing and traumatic events he and many other soldiers faced. In the famous poem “The Soldier”, Rupert Brooke captures the sense of love for ones country. Rather than focusing on the horrors of war and dying in battle, the author glorifies fighting for England, which is personified s a mother fugue in the following passage.

    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven. (9-14) Brooke uses words that have positive connotations, such as dreams, happy, laughter, gentleness, and peace, which give the poem a calm, soothing, and gentle feeling. Brooke describes soldiers dying for England without any gory details, and instead with pride and in honor of their country. Brooke does not portray the true artfulness of war like Wilfred Owens realistic poem, “Dulcet Et Decorum Est”.

    Owen calls “Dulcet Et Decorum Est”, meaning how sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country, “The old Lie”. Having been through war himself, Owen believes many people have a misconception about war being glorious, and he certainly does not romanticizes it, as one can see in the first stanza of the poem. “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots/ But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; / Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots… (5-7). The rhyme scheme Owen uses creates Juxtaposition between the seriousness of the realities of war and the way it is described.

    Rhyming is usually used to make poems more lighthearted, yet in this case Owen creates a rhythm similar to marching soldiers. Owen depicts the suffering of soldiers and the realities of war with gruesome imagery, while Rupert Brooke focuses on the glorification and heroism of war. As Tim O’Brien states in the novel The Things they Carried, “If at the end of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel hat some small bit of rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the victim off very old and terrible lie" (68).

    This goes back to Owens idea of “The old Lie. ” He believes that if anyone were to go to war and experience the traumatizing events he did, they would not say that dying for your country is brave and honorable. Participating in war is not an easy thing to do, and while it can definitely give a person a feeling of pride for fighting for their country, not every soldier chooses to go to war and not everyone feels this way about war.

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