They-Siegfried Sassoon

  • Created by: Ayo
  • Created on: 25-04-18 09:19
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  • 'They' by Siegfried Sassoon
    • sassoon
      • greatest of the English poets to have survived the war
      • born into a wealthy family
      • went to Marlborough then Cambridge
      • invalidated in 1917
        • met notable pacifists
        • convinced he had to make a statement on the conduct of war
        • was sent to Craiglockhart where he met Wilfred Owen
      • returned to the Front in 1918 and died in 1967
    • features
      • comprised of 2 stanzas
        • equal length
        • six lines of iambic pentameter
        • ABABCC rhyme scheme
          • rhyming couplets at the end of each verse give a sense of finality
      • 1st stanza
        • uses caesura and pauses
        • semicolons and colons
        • stilted effect suggests insincerity
      • 2nd stanza
        • strong rhythm
        • more natural and confident response from the men
        • call and response structure
      • contrasts the moral improvement to soldiers promised by a Bishop with the damage and moral degradation they receive
        • 'They' are the idealised British soldiers of whom the Bishop speaks and are unlike the real soldiers who go to war
    • Bishop's stanza
      • "The Bishop tells us"
        • represents the figure of religious authority in the poem
        • Church of England
        • speaks confidently on a situation which he has no real knowledge of
        • embodies a brand of religious cant and hypocrisy that was deeply unpopular amongst many men at the front
      • "When the boys come back/They will not be the same"
        • the meaning of the poem turns on this observation
        • war changes men
        • easy familiarity, patronising tone, referring to them as boys
        • alliteration creates plosive sounds
      • "for they'll have fought in/ a just cause"
        • alliteration is employed again to give a rhythmic force to the Bishop's statements
        • just cause reinforces sense of right and wrong which is exemplified in this poem
        • deals with popular platitudes
          • war is just
          • war is right
      • "their blood has bought"
        • explicit comparison to Christ
        • bought man eternal life by dying for their sins
        • see 'Redeemer'
      • "New right to breed an honourable race"
        • pseudo-scientific language
        • popular around turn of century
        • Social Darwinism in 'They' denotes their right to breed a new race through their sacrifice
        • elitist attitude
        • Rupert Brooke's The Dead and Peace
      • "They have challenged death and dared him face to death
        • personification of death reinforces religous rehetoric
          • just as Christ overcame death so have these "boys"
    • the "boys'" stanza
      • "We're none of us the same"
        • anguished agreement echoes the first line
        • subverts the Bishop's prediction
      • "For George lost both his legs"
        • colloquial tone includes omission of words "of"
          • portrays the men as they really are
          • language is not romanticised
        • grim litany of injuries follow
          • spells out the true consequences of war
      • boys are named rather than idealised and generalised
        • George
        • "Poor Jim"
        • And Bert
      • "And Bert's gone syphilitic"
        • sexually transmitted disease
        • soldiers on leave commonly visited prostitutes
        • brothels were graded for soldiers
          • red for privates
          • blue for officers
        • irony between breeding and sex
      • "that hasn't found some change"
        • irony illustrates Sassoon's satirical point
          • a massive change has occurred
          • unlike the one suggested by the Bishop
      • "the ways of God are strange"
        • Bishop interrupts the men
          • resorts to idiotic cliche
          • cyclical- ends the poem with the same speaker introduced
    • connections
      • ideas of home
        • 'The Pavement'
        • 'If We Return'
      • Christ illusions
        • 'The Redeemer'
        • 'The Conscript'

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