IWA / Attack

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  • Attack / IWA
    • Opposite Settings : Danger v Safety
      • feeling of a real sense of danger for the soldier, a sense of fret and worry comes from this setting
        • colour to describe the sun 'wild purple' creating a dark, sinister intensity
        • personifi-cation of the sun as 'glow'ring' transforms the conventional image of sunrise to make the scene seem more menancing - gloomy contrast to a normal sunrise sense danger
        • heavy syllable describes ridge as 'dun' creates an ominous tone
      • sense of safety even though the speaker is praying for her life
        • latin phrase 'As the vox humana swells' make us aware the speaker is in the safety of church
          • metaphor 'swells' to create a lasting image that the speaker remains in the church for the whole poem, in a safe environment
    • Opposite : Terror v Complacency
      • imagery to paint a very dark picture 'smouldering' 'menacing scarred slope'
        • present continuous conveys the ongoing threat and we feel terror towards the life of the speaker
        • personifi-cation of the 'slope' evokes a physical visualisation and the sense of human danger and terror is once again shown
      • onomatopoeia 'barrage roars' captures deafening sound of the artillery fire as they bombard the enemy tench in preparation for the men going over the top
        • contrast to 'creep' conveys the intense violence
      • alliteration and metaphor 'muttering faces, masked with fear' paints a very confronting picture of what it is like to be a soldier - again see terror soldiers must have faced
      • terror that we see presented by Sassoon directly contrasts with the complacent attitudes Betjeman portrays in the speaker of IWA
      • speaker implores to God 'oh bomb the Germans' violent imagery in prayer to show the speaker's complacent assumption that God is violent and shares her prejudices
      • 'I have done no major crime' B highlights the speaker's egotism and complacency by using personal pronouns
        • personal pronouns repeated many times as well as inclusive pronouns to emphasise further the speaker's complacent assumption that God is violent and shares her prejudices
      • speaker lists things serious and frivolous as if they were all equally important - are to her
        • hypermetric line 'free passes, class distinction' also emphasised by the rhetorical, alliterative triple and the repetition of 'free' shows the speaker's tone and style has changed to that of a political propagandist
          • implication is that the speaker is complacent and would not have much understanding of the larger concepts of speech and democracy
    • Opposite : Hardship v Comfort
      • repeats 'and' - soldiers burden and weight of fear that has been placed on their shoulders
        • mental and literal sense, soldiers been given the responsibility of beating their enemy for their own country and the pressure to do so is mentally stressing
          • slows pace conveying the soldiers slow movement, stressed weight of their kit, weight is also symbolic of their oppressive fear - true hardships faced by soldiers
      • alliteration 'furtive eyes and grappling fists' captures frantic panic of soldiers as they face certain death
        • verb 'flounders' confirms futility of their attack and reflects the poet's bleak despair as the slaughter of so many men, describes fate of men, very pessimistic word captures their thrashing around in death
      • noun 'glove' speaker's wealth from very beginning, comfortable position in life
        • speaker's half-hearted christianity apparent - promises to attend 'Evening Service / Whensoever I have the time'
          • even more prominently shown in the rhymed couplet that ends the poem 'I cannot wait / Because I have a luncheon date.'
            • speaker is leading a very comfortable lifestyle, stark contrast to how the speaker is living in Attack
          • hyper metric line is hurried over when we read it, suggesting that the speaker is trying to fit God into her busy schdule
    • Religious References
      • Attack - soldier makes an agonising appeal to God just before his death
        • final line 'O Jesus, make it stop!' - hard-hitting, now in first person, more personal than before
          • caesural pause emphasises the desperate cry of despair to God that brings the poem to a dramatic conclusion
            • personal cry changes entire depersonal-ised perspective of the poem
              • Sassoon focuses on the individual how yet stands for the masses, the individual who cries out to Jesus
                • terrible impression left with - it wont stop, and faith, hope and all other signs of humanity are useless in this environment of mechanised destruction
                  • Sassoon's use of religious language see a real plea from a soldier who is in true danger - stark contrast to the selfish pleas the speaker makes in IWA
      • patronising attitude towards God and the reader thinks she is over him
        • conventional language of praise of worship in the speaker's direct address to God 'Gracious Lord' 'dear Lord'
          • motivation for speaker's prayers continually is shown to be a series of base motives and no in any sense spiritual or noble
            • conventional liturgical language 'We will pardon Thy Mistake' instead of speaker asking for pardon, it is God that she graciously offers to pardon
              • sibilance of 's' 'Thy sake' emphasises her supposed charity, her ludicrously superior attitude is more likely to delight us with its silliness than to offend with its blasphemy
                • 20th century audience reaction to this ignorantly blasphemous remark would be uproarious and possibly guilty, laughter, because blasphemy is a guilty pleasure - orthodox religion maintains that God makes no mistakes
  • Conclusion : Attack better for both relaying the truth of war which was uncommon in the 20th century and as it gives an interesting and remarkable insight into the life of a soldier during battle.


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