Task of the week:
- Check out the following page: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/70139/the-poetry-of-world-war-i
- Choose one poem and prepare an analysis.
- Compare it to “Soldier, Rest!”
- Illustrate it with pictures and explain which different parts of the poem they illustrate.
- Post the analysis in your blog.
Done by: Trinidad Torrendell, Sol Bernusi, Victoria Lupi & me.
Both poems are totally different. Rupert Brooke (“ The dead”) and Sir Walter Scott (“Soldier, rest!”) present different points of view. In the following poem, Soldier rest, Scott paints an attractive picture of death to the weary and battered soldier/hunter. Death is presented as a restful sleep where all the stresses and strains of martial life drift off to nothingness. The main characters of the poem, the soldier, are made to obey orders as the title says “Soldier, rest!” which take them to death, give up, war is over, so their lives. In this poem, death isn’t represented as being something to fear as it frees the soldier’s mind of fighting and danger that are presumed to dominate his life.
On the other hand, “The dead” written by Sir Walter Scott shows war as an honorable act and experience highlighting the positive aspects of war. At first he tackles with the daily routine of men before going to war, they are loved, they feel happiness, etc. He creates a warm atmosphere shared with the colours and times of the day, the weather. However, suddenly all this comes to an end when they become soldiers and have to face death. He also indicates, in the line ‘washed…to mirth’, that yet this life was not perfect and that they too have their share of problems and unhappiness, but still they do not hesitate to laugh it off as being part and parcel of life. When it says “dawn is their” it represents that their time to shine has come and that they appreciated the little things in life like: friendship, love, happiness.
This may have to do with the fact that he never took part in war and never saw action because he died before entering into the First World War (1914-1918). That’s why he could ignore the ravages of war, and glorify it as an experience that renders the soldier above the ordinary mass of humanity.
We believe that both poems mention war as part of humanity though both them treat them in a totally different manner. We identified ourselves with the second poem as in some point we are in the same place as Rupert Brooke, we like people to defend our nation and values but we don’t take part in it. We talk as outsiders. Did you ever take into account the million lives that were sacrificed during a war? Is war the best way to sort out conflict between nations?