The poem is focused on a nameless soldiers thoughts, feelings, and actions in combat in the first world war.
Through the poem we see how the intensity of war is able to dehumanize the characters thoughts and beliefs and make them comtemplate their purpose in the whole ordeal.
Structure and Form
- The poem has three similarly structured stanzas - the first with 8 lines, then 7, then 8.
- The poem begins in medias res - "suddenly", which reflects on how the character is thrown into action. It could also reflect on the soldiers realisation fo their actions.
- The initial fast pace is broken down through the use of hyphenation throughout the poem.
- Second stanza isn't as action packed as the others and is shorter - this could reflect on the change in focus of the soldier as he considers his actions.
Language and Imagery
- Consanance is used in the poem (heavily in the first stanza) - the repetition of the "h" sound could express the soldiers heavy breathing
- Written in third person - could this be a reflection of the man no longer feeling that he is himself? It makes the character universal and makes him representative of all of the soldiers that fought in the war.
- Oxymoron in the last line - "his terror's touchy dynamite", suggests that his fear could ruin him at any second.
- Imagery is used to show how patriotism has been able to control the soldiers minds - "the patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye"
- Decreasing force is used by the soldier as the poem goes on. He starts off "running", which conveys a determined and focused man, and ends up having "plunged" which suggests that he's lost grip on the whole situation and is no longer in control.
Rhythm and Rhyme
- Theres no rhyme scheme in the poem, which shows the lack of order in the situation, and could portray how confused and disorientated the character feels.
- Reality of battles
- Conflict - effects