World War Change in Poetry Essay

AQA English Lit A 1B World War 

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Ann
  • Created on: 07-04-15 22:04
Preview of World War Change in Poetry Essay

First 556 words of the document:

Ann Zaheer Due: 08.10.14
How has poetry changed in consequence of 1914-1918?
Vitaï Lampada ­ Sir Henry Newbolt
The Call ­ Jesse Pope
Dulce et Decorum Est ­ Wilfred Owen
By analysing poetry before and during various stages of war we can infer the
changes effected by the events that took place in 1914-1918. Additionally by
using different poets who each have different perspectives and experiences we
can ascertain the point of view of the individual and how it shapes their poetry.
`Vitaï Lampada' is a Latin quotation from Lucretius and translates to `torch of
life'. This makes evident the intended audience for the poem; classically educated
public schoolboys not unlike Newbolt himself. The purpose of the poem was to
teach the boys the decorum and the etiquette of war, that is to say they should
keep it a clean fight and maintain a stiff upper lip. The phrase `Play up! Play up!
Play the game!' was repeated with emphasis on playing the game and not
necessarily "winning" the game. It links the sports field to the battlefield and
trivialises war making it nothing more than a `game'.
Vitaï Lampada was written in 1982 and any battles that took place at the
time were with regards to the Empire. Any enemy forces faced were far weaker
than the British forces, so there was emphasis on British character and being
generous towards a weak opponent. This reiterates the idea that Britain would
be the likely victor, `The river of death has brimmed his banks' and that death
would be an unlikely outcome as Britain was so strong and better than everyone
The views that Sir Henry Newbolt conveyed in Vitaï Lampada were still
seen in early world war poems such as `The Call' by Jesse Pope, which was
published in 1915. The doggerel verses are patronising and belittle the audience.
The audience is somewhat similar to that of Vitaï Lampada, however it is aimed
at everyone who is fit to fight as opposed to just public school boys likely to
become officers. Pope contrast the ideas of bravery and cowardice, `Who's going
to win? And who wants to save his skin?' this conveys the two extremes that the
men have to choose on or the other. They are either brave soldiers partaking in
the glorified battle or they are cowardly and weak for choosing not to fight. By
juxtaposing these two ideas the poet is attempting to convince them to join the
war effort.
Conscription was not introduced until January 1916 so until then all men
had fought voluntarily, with the state using propaganda to convince them to
enlist. `The Call' was part of that propaganda campaign, published in newspapers
to recruit more men. The poem has three stanzas the first discusses enlistment,
the second progresses to over simplify the what War is actually like and the last
stanza discusses the celebration and glory after the War, making no mention of
the death and casualties that were so commonplace. Throughout the poem the
phrase `Will you, my laddie?' is repeated to reinforce this patriotic vision and

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Ann Zaheer Due: 08.10.14
instil the message into the men. The use of the pronoun `you' directly addresses
the reader includes them in the rhetoric. The noun `laddie' connotes a wiser tone,
that is to say it is as if it is a grandfather is asking as opposed to the state
imploring them to join the War.
In Vitaï Lampada the overall message was with reference to the `Empire',
similarly in `The Call' `the Empire' is explicitly mentioned.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all resources »