waterloo / wesminster

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  • The Field of Waterloo / In Westminster Abbey
    • Brutality of War
      • Waterloo
        • personification + violent+ emotive language - butterflies, particularly fragile insect 'beaten about by the heel and toe' emphasises indiscriminate destruction as armies engage in battle - reflects on soldiers
          • sympathetic tone - butterflies - metaphor 'sick of the day's long rheum' noun 'rheum' longevity of war
            • unpleasant discharge assoc. w/ illness conveys speaker's sense of disgust at horrors of war
        • laments on destruction of ears of corn - futility of war, metaphor 'miry tomb' - battlefield
          • imagery shift to plant life destroyed by the battle, stresses thwarted potention, plants, almost ripe, will never reach their full potential, symbolism again continues - young men fighting who will die in war
        • verbs, adjectives - vivid picture how brutal warfare can be to the natural world 'scarred' 'terrible' 'sick' negative nature of war, euphemism, 'guesses him safe' unexpected nature of war, naive, lies for positivity
          • symbolism of fragile creatures represents the youth and innocence of young men sent into battle and their fate
      • Westminster - complete opposite
        • selfish 'don't let anyone bomb me', spiritually lazy, 'protect the whites' racist, zeugma - list, materialistic focus
          • only cares about herself during time of war, went to church not to pray for soldiers fighting for her country but so that she herself didn't get attacked 'Don't let anyone bomb me'
            • metrically short line, missing word - 'please' half-rhyme with 'easy'
          • sense of racial superiority 'Keep our empire undismembered...protect the whites'
            • hypocrisy, assumes God is violent, WWII Germany + Italy + Japan against allied forces US + GB
    • Setting
      • Westminster
        • alliteration of 'b' highlights beauty in the safety of religious references, ironic safety as speaker thinks she is in danger, praying for her life
          • 'beauteous fields of Eden' suggestive of a number of hymns again setting emphasises, prelapsarian image of Eden highlights the irony that mankind is far from innocent when basking in an aura of conventional religious piety
            • complacency from beginning as she thinks she is in grave danger, ostentatious use of latin also suggests a pompous, conceited character using latin to impress others
        • 'vox humana swells' latin and metaphor makes us aware of the setting for the very start, metaphor emphasises movements of organ and that the speaker is continually safe in church throughout the whole poem
        • church, safe compared to the battle field
      • Waterloo
        • how nature is being destroyed - danger
        • 'crushed' verbs = chaos and destruction, carnage + horrors of war, 'abandon' 'scattered' 'beaten ' bruised'
        • verbs show effects on animals lives, not normally considered in war poetry, usually ignored when effects of war are described
          • their innocent and unobtrusive nature makes the effects on their lives more moving
            • simple style, mimics dialect used in rural background, simplicity more convincing and honest poem
              • William Barnes - local schoolmaster in Dorchester, inspiration to write with a similar theme - published poetry about rural life in local dialect
            • Untitled
        • 'hedgehogs household the sapper unseals.' alliteration+ sibilance - danger animals exposed from all directions
          • conveys rhythm and pace of battle - pulls us through at a fast pace, 'fled' 'flash' verbs of motion - fast
          • also internal rhyme to reflect the rhythm and movement associated with soldiers taking to the field in battle
    • Nature of War
      • Waterloo
        • 'larks eggs scattered' vulnerable image of nature - fragile juxtaposed with destructive forces of war, consequence of war lose our children metaphor
          • 'worm asks what can be overhead' hints at devastating human destruction taking place above, black humour morbid tone
        • chaotic nature 'white scuts flash' 'swallows abandon' no time to react - unexpected nature of war, 'foulf red flood' gruesomeness extend of blood loss
          • swift verbs of motion 'white scuts flash' capture panic and terror felt by rabbits trying to flee advancing calvalry
            • personififed rabbits reflecting how human soldiers had to run and flee
              • represents destruction of natural world and humanity as a whole
            • juxtaposed with heavier onomatopoeic 'thud of hoofs' menacing power, understand coneys fear, brings to life, violent and despairing tone
            • onomatopoeia alliteration 'terrible treat' forceful wheels of artillery destroy the landscape, sympathetic tone, captures terror of animals
      • Westminster
        • missing her luncheon date casual change in tone - should be hard times during war, seems to lead a normal war free life
          • half-hearted Christianity 'Whensoever I have the time' even more so in more personal and revealing rhymed couplet 'I cannot wait'
          • clearly sheltered from reality of war, comfortable, normal ife, 'glove' well off bouncy trochaic rhythm of this line immediately - indiction of her style of speech as rather peremptory
            • poet satirises not just this women but entire English upper class, British society at time was rigidly divided into social classes
        • unchristian spitefulness in pride she offers to send 'white feathers to cowards'
        • calm + sheltered, oblivious the what is actually happening in warzone 'Thy Mistake' egotistical attitude, thinks God is wrong
          • audience reaction to this ignorantly blasphemous remark would be uproarious, guilty, laughter, guilt pleasure, orthodox religion maintains God makes no mistakes
    • Death
      • Waterloo
        • disturbing imagery, hyperbolic metaphor assoc. w/ worm bloodshed worm does not yet know 'foul red flood' blood spill, alliteration greater stress on image, gore of battle, subtly reflects enormous scale of human loss and suffering
          • enjambement relentless process of destruction, fast pace
        • 'miry tomb' so many deaths, muddy swamps, extended metaphor soldiers die before they grow up
          • alliteration 'greened but will never gold' 'bud' 'bloom' used emphatically in final line reinforce brutal reality of war, repetition of 'never' further aids sense of tragic loss and waste
            • tone in final verse shifts to sorrowful and fatalistic, reflects premature death of plants, symbolism young men killed in battle, dont have a chance in life
      • Westminster
        • selfish 'listen to a lady's cry' 'bask beneath' beauty not spirituality war?? 'Bomb the Germans' blunt vague plea minimal understanding of war 'Shares go down'
          • inclusive pronoun 'our' shows patriotism, typical pre-war British upper class attitude, focusing on one woman's selfish and condescending manner
        • 'undismembered' 'gallant blacks' racial superiority even though 'blacks' are fighting for her safety, rhymed couplet emphasises her hypocrisy in her personal plea
          • zeugma 'books and boots' 'distinction..' emphasises what speaker thinks is important, what she stands for, lists things both frivolous and serious as equal because they are to her, lady would not have much understanding of political issues, materialism and class consciousness
  • thinks she is a pure Christian, exposed hypocrisy in church, only pray when they wanted something,
    • poet religious man wanted to expose flaws in church, satire rather than a sermon, readers can see their own hypocrisy
  • Waterloo - terza rima, effect of condensing imagery in each verse, stands out more prominently, links verses - relentless process of destruction battle creates, fast pace created
    • Westminster - satire / dramatic monologue, more woman reveals - her flaws, exposes her to ridicule and comtempt
      • seven sextets, trochaic tetrameter captures domineering tone

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