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Bayonet Charge
Suddenly he awoke and was running ­ raw
In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy,
Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge
That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing
Bullets smacking the belly out of the air ­
He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm;
The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye
Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, ­
In bewilderment then he almost stopped ­
In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations
Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running
Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs
Listening between his footfalls for the reason
Of his still running, and his foot hung like
Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows
Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame
And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide
Open silent, its eyes standing out.
He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge,
King, honour, human dignity, etcetera
Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm
To get out of that blue crackling air
His terror's touchy dynamite.…read more

Slide 3

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The poem is about a He's in uniform we can picture him as a The word raw suggests his fear. This
soldier's experience of a soldier. The poet uses the pronoun "he" word can have several connotations such
violent battle. It rather than naming the soldier to keep as pain/discomfort or inexperience, as if
describes his thoughts him anonymous. It suggests that he is a he had been taken out of his peaceful life
and actions as he universal figure who could represent any and thrown into war.
desperately tries to young soldier.
avoid being shot. The
On the fourth line we
opening words of the
are shows that he's
poem sounds like he's in
confused while facing
a vulnerable confused
Suddenly he awoke and was running ­ raw gunfire. The word
state. It also proves this
`dazzled' creates
is real, In raw-seamed hot khaki, his sweat heavy, imagery of the sparks
even though it seems
Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge of the bullets
like a nightmare. The
ricocheting around
opening suggests he That dazzled with rifle fire, hearing
him. The violent
was trying to escape Bullets smacking the belly out of the air ­ imagery on the fifth
from the reality he is in.
He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm; line further describes
the sound and impact
The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye of the shots.
Sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, ­
The contrast between patriotic
ideals and reality is seen His rifle seems useless further
through a powerful image ­ the emphasising the horror and
reason he went to war. The physical pain of the battle.
soldier's overriding emotion and The end of the stanza highlights the instinctive
motivation is fear, which has reaction of a soldier to firing from the enemy.
replaced the more patriotic Dying for your country seems irrational and
ideals that he held before the therefore Hughes forces the reader to question
violence began. patriotism.…read more

Slide 4

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The poet uses a lot of enjambment The soldier wonders
The second stanza pauses the action and rather than neat line endings. This whether he is a pointing
the soldier wonders why he is there. creates a haphazard effect which second in the cold
Bewilderment results from the run for life represents the soldier's urgency clockwork of stars and the
and the patriotic awareness sweats from and desperation as he stumbles nations. This refers to the
his chest like molten iron. forward. destinies of the people and
nations and the element of
cold clockwork that goes
into all that. Here the
soldier could also be
referring to the
In bewilderment then he almost stopped ­ government. They all
In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations disappear because they
don't matter anymore.
Emphasises the Was he the hand pointing that second? He was running
soldier's insignificance.
Like a man who has jumped up in the dark and runs
The word `clockwork'
suggests he is a cog a Listening between his footfalls for the reason
in a machine. The Of his still running, and his foot hung like His awareness in the
words `size' and second stanza is that
`nations' further
Statuary in mid-stride. Then the shot-slashed furrows
he was running like a
emphasise his man who has jumped
insignificance. in the dark all the time
Alliteration is also wondering why he was
used in the words running. He listens for
`cold clockwork'. The word
the reason of his still
`statuary'
running. Using
suggests the
someone blind
soldier has
suggests there is no
turned to stone.
rational reason for
war.…read more

Slide 5

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The structure of the poem makes the
The mood in stanza Some alliteration of the letter `c' and the word fourth sentence the longest and therefore
three is of extreme `threshing' (a machine used for harvesting) emphases the `green hedge', a natural
terror. In the suggests pain and fear beyond expression. There image that sits away from and contrasts
beginning, the soldier is some use of shocking imagery to bring home with the violence and terror of war.
believes patriotism is the sights and sounds of war. This helps to
the most important convey the sense of confusion and fear to the
reason for joining the reader more strongly.
The poem has been written by
war, but in reality he Hughes to portray the soldier
soon realises the most as being alone so you can
important issue is Threw up a yellow hare that rolled like a flame focus on the protagonist. The
staying alive. The soldiers' dilemma is
soldier's overriding And crawled in a threshing circle, its mouth wide emphasised throughout the
emotion and Open silent, its eyes standing out. poem. After hesitation the
motivation is fear,
He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge, soldier decides to fight
which has replaced persuaded by a kill or be killed
the more patriotic King, honour, human dignity, etcetera scenario.
ideals that he held Dropped like luxuries in a yelling alarm
before the violence The word `etcetera'
began. To get out of that blue crackling air
suggests Men join up for
His terror's touchy dynamite. patriotic reasons but
none of that matters
when in a battle. Hughes
lists the reasons that
He's been reduced to a people have for fighting
The impression of basic level of existence. and possibly dying for
determination is He's attacking out of The last line suggests that the
their country. By using
given, with the word desperation, not moral soldier's about to lose control
`etcetera', Hughes
"plunged". principle. Kill or be killed. of his emotions which is a
suggests they are not
consistent theme throughout
even worth listing.
the poem.…read more

Comments

Georgiaaugust

Thank you so much for sharing this! Thank you so so so much!

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