BAYONET CHARGE, Ted Hughes
1) The poem is about a soldier's experience of a violent battle. It describes his thoughts and actions as he desperately tries to avoid being shot.
2) The soldiers overriding emotion and motivation is fear, which has replaced the more patriotic ideals that he held before the violence began.
FORM: The poet uses a lot of enjambment rather than neat line endings. This creates a haphazard effect which represents the soldiers urgency and desperation as he stumbles forward. It could also represent that the soldier is exhausted and overcome with fear leading him to take desperate breaths in the middle of his sentences.
STRUCTURE: The poem starts in the middle of the action and covers the soldier's movements and thoughts over a short space of time. The middle stanza describes a pause where time seems to briefly stand still and the soldier moves from confusion to terror as the reality of his situation becomes more violent. The final stanza represents a a return to panicked movement as he runs to safety.
UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE: The poet uses the pronoun "he" rather than naming the soldier to keep him anonymous. It suggests that he is a universal figure that could represent any young soldier.
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE: The poet uses powerful figurative language to emphasise the horror and physical pain of the battle.
VIOLENT LANGUAGE: There is some use of shocking imagery to bring home the sights and sounds of war. this…