'Bayonet charge' by Hughes

  • Created by: sp.15
  • Created on: 13-12-19 20:22
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  • 'Bayonet charge' by Hughes
    • Ideas about power and conflict
      • A single soldier charges towards the enemy in a conflict situation.
      • The soldier acts out of fear, not patriotism (love of your country), in the conflict.
      • The poem challenges patriotism: fear leads to confusion and questioning war.
    • Context
      • A bayonet is a blade attached to the end of a rifle - for use in close combat.
      • The war is likely to be WW1 - but it could be any 20th century war.
      • Many soldiers joined the army as a result of propaganda posters that mentioned "king, honour, human dignity etcetera" - Hughes shows these are forgotten in war.
    • Language
      • Violent imagery (metaphor and similes): "bullets smacking the belly out of the air"
      • Language associated with nature shows how the natural world is affected by human warfare: "field of clods", "green hedge", "shot-slashed furrows", "hare..."
      • Sarcasm in "etcetera" - patriotism is forgotten when your life is in danger.
    • Form
      • Third person, focuses on an unnamed, single soldier - could apply to many soldiers.
      • Stanza 2 has only 7 lines (stanzas 1 and 3 have 8): the soldiers stop suddenly.
    • Structure
      • Starts "in media res' - in the middle of action: the soldier is shocked into charging.
      • Time seems to stand still in the second stanza: the soldier is very aware of danger.
      • End - stopped line at the end of the second stanza emphasises time standing still.
      • Caesura in last line of stanza 2 creates pause before action re-starts with "then..."
      • In the third stanza the soldier acts on instinct, not because of patriotic feeling.
      • Repetition of "green hedge" (stanzas 1 and 3): reminds reader of natural world.
    • Quotations to learn
      • "suddenly he awoke and was running"
      • "patriotic fear"
      • "a yellow hare"
      • "king, honour, human dignity, etcetera"


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