The Soldier VS Mametz Wood - Comparison

The Soldier VS Mametz Wood - Comparison

Similarities

  • Context: Both poems are set in WW1 - Mametz Wood was a battle within the Battle of the Somme, and The Soldier was written at the time, when the speaker was about to go to war.
  • Idea of remembrance: both speakers wish for soldiers to be remembered - Brooke says 'if I should die, think only this of me', and Sheers tells us that the earth is 'reaching back into itself for reminders of what happened'. These both show that sacrifice should be remembered and soldiers respected.
  • Patriotism: Sheers shows his love for his country (Wales) by choosing to write about a battle that is rarely remembered - he attempts to achieve justice for the huge sacrifice of the 38th Welsh Division that suffered a huge loss for victory. Brooke wrote 'The Soldier' in a sonnet format to show his love for England and repeats the words 'England' or 'English' six times in the poem, which reinforces the idea that he has strong feelings of affection for the country of origin.
  • Both speakers define the men in the poem by their actions - in 'The Soldier' the speaker (Brooke) wants to be remembered 'only' by his sacrifice (also link with the title - he is 'the soldier'). In 'Mametz Wood' Sheers uses impersonal pronouns ('them') when talking about the soldiers, so they are anonymous. This achieves the effect of reminding the reader of the volume of lives lost, as well as the anonymity of the men due to them being forgotten.
  • Role of the earth: in both poems the earth (nature) has a fairly positive role. Brooke implies that his death will be positive because the place that he falls (on the earth) will win land - 'there is some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England'. Sheers tells us that the earth is wounded ('tended the land') but works to guard the soldiers - 'even now the earth stands sentinel'.

Differences

  • Perspective: Sheers writes from a future POV, and recognises the negative impacts of war ('the wasted young'). On the contrary, Brooke wrote with a positive view and is sure that his sacrifice will bring victory - not be in vain ('there's some corner of a foreign field that is for ever England').
  • Structure: Brooke shows his love (patriotism) for England by using a sonnet (typical love poem) with a Shakespearean rhyme scheme to show pride in literary heritage. Sheers, however, wrote Mametz Wood as a remembrance poem so it is slow and regular, flitting between focusing on the soldiers and the land every other sentence.
  • Although both poems discuss death, Sheers goes into deep description of the state of the soldiers 100 years on, and how grotesque/macabre the image is. The Soldier - 'if I should die' and a ref. to the funeral service: 'in that rich earth a richer dust concealed'. Mametz Wood - 'the wasted young' and 'a broken mosaic of bone' 'their skeletons'.

Overall comparison

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