Mametz Wood - Quotes, Context and Form & Structure

  • Created by: Noah_S
  • Created on: 23-03-19 18:00
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  • Mametz Wood
    • Owen Sheers
      • Written in 2005
    • Middle
      • "‘Twenty men buried in one long grave"
        • The farmers’ ploughing of the land becomes a kind of funeral in the present day for the dead soldiers.
        • The number ‘twenty’ shows how the men were buried en masse, and were not given a respectful send-off
      • "the earth stands  sentinel"
        • The earth is personified as a guard or soldier keeping watch over the remains of the bodies and keeping them safe.
        • The sibilance has a slow, respectful sound of a funeral, as if the earth is showing its respect to those who fought and lost their lives.
    • Context
      • Mametz Wood
        • A scene of fierce fighting during the Battle of the Somme (WW1)
        • Soldiers of the Welsh division were ordered to take Mametz Wood, the largest area of trees on the battlefield.
        • There were 4,000 casualties, with 600 dead.
      • Owen Sheers
        • Grew up in Wales
          • Soldiers of the Welsh division were ordered to take Mametz Wood, the largest area of trees on the battlefield.
        • The history and identity of Wales has formed a large part of his development as a poet
    • Beginning
      • "For years afterwards"
        • ‘Years’ and ‘afterwards’ signals a long gap between the event and the discovery of the bodies. 
        • ‘For years’ suggests that this was a daily occurrence that the famers were churning up bits of bone and dead bodies continuously.
      • "the wasted young"
        • The poet uses emotive language to express his feelings on the futility of war.
        • The adjective ‘wasted’ emphasises the fact that these men were extremely young when they dies a needless death. It also refers to the decaying process of the bodies in the earth
        • The noun ‘young’ emphasises the fact that these soldiers never grew up to be anything more.
    • Form and Structure
      • Written in Seven Three-line stanzas.
        • The poet concentrates on a different aspect of the event in each stanza.
        • A single stanza is followed by a pair of stanzas.
          • This structure reflects the changing focus of the poem – from the land (the single stanzas one and four) then bones and people (the paired stanzas that follow).
      • The length of the lines changes.
        • In some cases (for instance lines 4 and 12) the longer lines very clearly break up the neat form of the poem.
    • End
      • "have only now"
        • The adverb ‘only’ refers to the fact that these men have been buried on their own and undiscovered for years.
        • The point he makes is that because the soldiers die so young, only now that they have been discovered, do they finally get to speak and tell their story.

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