The Soldier - Rupert Brooke

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  • The Soldier
    • Context
      • The poem was written in 1914, so no large war like WWI had happened yet and therefore people did not understand the effects, hence the positive representation of war in Brooke's poem
      • Brooke died from a mosquito bite while serving in the royal navy and did not get to fully experience what being a soldier included
    • War
      • "laughter", "friends", "gentleness"
        • creates a positive image of war, encourages people to join, gives false expectations for the joyful experience they could have from a poet who has yet to discover the horrors of war
      • "hearts at peace"
        • war gave the men peace
      • "all evil shed away"
        • implies that war is a cleansing and holy experience
      • structure and form
        • sonnet form - implies an overall feeling of love and appreciation, therefore implying a love for all that surrounds war
    • Death and Loss
      • "hearts at peace"
        • death is portrayed as a positive thing here, showing that after death due to war, the soldier is at peace and happy
      • "If I should die"
        • directly addressing reader
          • has an accepting, uncaring tone, showing that he is happy to die in these circumstances (fighting for his country)
      • "English heaven"
        • shows how he believes that death will connect him to his country again, depicting his positive ideas of death in relation to his home
      • "a pulse in the eternal mind"
        • although he is no longer alive, he has a pulse and lives on in eternity, which implies an afterlife, and therefore is a positive representation of death in relation to war
    • Faith and Worship
      • "washed by the rivers"
        • portrays war as a cleansing, baptism-like experience for the soldiers, as if it will wash away there sins
      • "all evil shed away"
        • makes war seem cleansing and free of all sin, possibly peace restoring for soldiers - a religious experience
      • "peace" and "heaven" in final line
        • implies that war is what allows people to get into heaven and find peace, implies that God agrees with war and promotes it
      • "blest"
        • depicts the idea that God has blessed them and their country possibly adding a layer of protection or a straight pass into heaven
          • encourages men to join the war
    • Love
      • structure and form
        • sonnet form, which shows the extent of the love he feels for his country
      • refers to England as "her" throughout
        • shows a human like type of patriotic love for his country, as well as a need to protect it as women are often seen as fragile and the weaker sex who need men, especially in 1914, when the poem was written
        • "Her sights and sounds"
      • "a body of England's"
        • creates a human image of England and personifies it, which, along with referring to the country as a "her", forms an image of something that needs to be loved and protected by the soldiers
      • "laughter, learnt of friends: and gentleness"
        • gives a heavenly,  peaceful image of the war and what's given to them by England, showing his adoration and love for what the speaker believes England has given him
    • Sense of Place
      • "foreign field"
        • although it is describes as "foreign" the poet makes the battlefield seem like home throughout, as if England is everywhere
      • "in that rich earth, a richer dust concealed"
        • when the men are dead and buried on the battlefield, they are "richer" and therefore more important then the earth they're buried under, making the place their own
      • structure and form
        • sonnet from, implies a love for his home and country as that is the main theme of the poem
        • "England" repeated four times, shows a fixation on his country and how it is always in his mind, even while away from home
      • "English heaven"
        • implies that even after death he will feel at home and a part of his country, even if he dies in another

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