Compare ‘The Soldier’ written by Rupert Brooke and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ written by Wilfred Owen

Lately we have studied two poems that were written during the time of World War One. They were ‘The Soldier’ written by Rupert Brooke and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ written by Wilfred Owen. Both of these poets were soldiers involved in fighting during World War One.

‘The Soldier’ is an uplifting and optimistic poem looking at the positive side of dying for your country when going to war. I think the poet Rupert Brooke wrote the poem to send home to his family to reassure them if he died it would be peacefully and not in pain.

In the first stanza Brooke is saying that if he dies while away in this foreign country, that he’ll leave a part of England there. The following quotation is an example that he is English through-and-through:

“A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,

Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam.”

He was born and brought up with a certain kind of English lifestyle and culture. He then goes on to describe the flowers and winding paths making us think of England as idyllic and peaceful. He uses personification in the first line of the quote. It compares England to a woman giving birth to a child and bringing it up.

In the second stanza Brooke describes England as a country of no evil and that he will remember it forever, he’ll always have happy memories from the past when he lived in England. Some of the best memories being times he’s spent with the people he loved. The final line in stanza two is:

“In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.”

This conveys that England has shaped him into who he is and he is proud of it.

‘The Soldier’ is a sonnet. A sonnet is a 14-line poem used to express personal feelings. His choice of words describe his personal feelings as well. These words all add reassurance to the poet’s relatives that if he dies, it will be peaceful. Examples of the words used to describe the peacefulness are: “blest, dream, gentleness, peace and heaven”.

One of the main features that the poet uses in this in this poem is repetition. The most widely used word that the poet uses repeatedly is ‘England’ and ‘English’ adding to the patriotism and significance that England has to him it isn’t just a place it represents a culture and a set of values as well.

The structure of the poem is that it has two verses and 14 lines in total. The rhyming scheme is-

A B A B C D C D – E F G E F G

Each letter represents a line, two lines with the same letter means that it rhymes.

Brooke uses alliteration, the consonant that is being repeated is an ‘f’, it is a soft sound yet again showing calmness and peacefulness:

“That there’s some corner of a foreign field

That is forever England.”

Other alliteration such as:

“Her sights and sounds”, “Dream happy as day”, And, laughter, learnt of friends”.

All these show how the poet feels about the possibility of his death. He is optimistic and knows he is prepared to die fighting for his country.

The other poem ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ written by Wilfred Owen is also a sonnet. ‘Doomed youth’ mean all those young men to be sent to war and on the front are destined to die. In the poem the poet expresses his views on what should happen to these people when they die. They all should be given a funeral and a proper send off, even those on the battlefield. You can tell this because throughout the poem he mentions funerals and church services.

The first stanza suggests the horror of death and how they compare these men to animals

” For those who die as cattle.”

There deaths have been brutal and violent. The first stanza demonstrate this, it is full of noise and violence to show the pandemonium of the battle compared to the funeral they would have had at home and how it differs:

“No prayers, bells, nor any voice of mourning save the choirs”

The second stanza is more peaceful and shows the grief of the relatives when they find out what’s happened and in the second stanza it looks at the kind of send off they would have had if they had been at home. It uses words such as ‘candles’, ‘hands of boys’, ‘their pall’, ‘holy glimmers of goodbyes’ and ‘flowers’ all things that are related to a church service. The final line of this poem depicts the morning of the soldier’s relatives:

“And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.”

When a death occurred during this period the families who had lost people they loved, closed the blinds to show their sadness and to keep the rest of the world out. In this case the consonant being repeated is ‘D’. D is a harsh sound stressing the relatives coping with losing a loved one.

This poem is also a sonnet it shows personal feeling of what the poet though about not getting a proper send off.

The rhyming scheme is-

A B A B C D C D – E F F E G G

The poem ends with a rhyming couplet that means the last two lines rhyme.

In the first stanza the poet uses onomatopoeia to demonstrate the sound on the battlefield:

“Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle”

It is also an example of alliteration.

This poem is against war and the inappropriate way these men have lost their lives. The general mood of he poem is anger and sadness. Anger because the young men died unnecessarily without having much of a life and sadness because all these people are dying needlessly and others are mourning because of this.

‘The Soldier’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ are both sonnets with two stanza and 14 lines but both poem are completely different in their take of the same situation.

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