Bayonet Charge

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"Suddenly he awoke..."
This poem instantly grabs the reader's attention - it's dramatic, as it begins in 'medias res'. The word 'awoke' could be open to alternative interpretation: a) from sleep b) from a daydream c) from reality.
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"- raw in raw-seemed hot khaki..."
This is an interesting word choice of 'raw' and the repetition expresses the feelings: a) 'fresh' and inexperienced b) like a descriptive word of meat - disposable c) over-used d) young e) maybe he's hurt (red-raw) - reflects his body.
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"...hot khaki, his sweat heavy..."
This shows how he is in uniform - readers can picture him as a soldier. The description of 'sweat heavy' gives an uncomfortable image - shows the experience of the soldiers.
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"Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge..."
The action of 'stumbling' creates a sense of pathos for the soldier. This image shows the harsh conditions of the soldier. The 'green hedge' could symbolise hope, health or nature.
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"...dazzled with rifle fire..."
This shows that he's confused and that he's facing the gunfire. The word 'dazzled' is open to alternative interpretation: a) maybe it shows the sun shining off the bayonet b) the shock c) sarcastic
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"Bullets smacking the belly out of the air -"
The enjambment from the previous line puts emphasis on the word 'Bullets'. The bullets are personified here, with onomatopoeia used. The violent imagery describes the sound and impact of the shots.
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"...the belly out of the air -"
The hyphen is open to alternative interpretation: a) running out of breath b) difficult to talk about c) short-life of the soldier d) interruptions e) Bullets passing by.
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"He lugged a rifle numb as a smashed arm;"
The action of 'lugged' links back to the idea of him being sweaty - it shows he is overcoming something difficult and is uncomfortable. The simile here also foreshadows injuries and reinforces them. The description shows that his rifle seems useless.
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"The patriotic tear that had brimmed in his eye..."
"The patriotic tear" could show his motivation for war or maybe he is questioning his motivation. "...had brimmed" is in the pluperfect tense - it shows that it happened a long time ago and the pariotism has now gone (links to the poem 'Flag').
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"...sweating like molten iron from the centre of his chest, -"
The simile here suggests that patriotism is irrational: a) represents the core of the earth and so his inner feelings b) his heart pumping out of control c) he was tough but is now losing it.
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"In bewilderment then he almost stopped -"
The word 'bewilderment' has the word 'wild' hidden inside, perhaps this is referring to 'the survival of the fittest.' This stanza pauses the action and focuses on him wondering why he is there. It suggests doubt - 'What am i fighting for?'
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"In what cold clockwork of the stars and the nations..."
This sentence emphasises the soldier's significance. 'Stars' could either represent the end of time or possibly fate.
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"In what cold clockwork..."
The 'clockwork' refers to time: a) it could symbolise how mechanical the clock is and so showing the monotony of it all b) or it could show the slowing of time - end of life.
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"Was he the hand pointing that second?
This is a very powerful rhetorical question - it asks the question: 'Who will be selected for death?'
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"...in the dark and runs..."
This is an unnerving situation - it is sudden and a realisation.
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"Listening between his footfalls for the reason of his still running..."
Using an image of someone blind and irrational suggests there's no rational reason for war.
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"...foot hung like Statuary in mid-stride."
The 'foot hung' could be him being injured or maybe him resisting. The word 'statuary' shows as though it is as if the soldier is turned to stone by his indecision.
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"Then the shot-slashed furrows..."
The sibilance here is very dramatic and could reflect the sound of the bullets.
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"...a yellow hare..."
The colour 'yellow' could symbolise gas and the 'hare' could either be him or him dodging the bullets and running around.
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"...rolled like a flame..."
The simile here emphasises the frantic movement and suggests confusion.
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"And crawled in a threshing circle its mouth wide..."
The 'threshing circle' could be referring to the monotony of war. This is a distressing image of out-of-control movement. The gas is personified here with 'its mouth wide open' - gives it more power and control.
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"...open silent, its eyes standing out."
This suggests pain and fear beyond expression. 'Its eyes standing out' could refer to a soldier dying. Refers to the phrase of 'Rabbit in headlights.'
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"He plunged past with his bayonet toward the green hedge..."
The action of 'plunged' shows that he must carry on, despite his own feelings. The repetition of the 'green hedge' restates the symbol of hope. It contrasts with the violence and terror of war.
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"King, honour, human dignity etcetera..."
These are the lists of reasons as to why people go to war. Using the word 'etcetera' suggests they're not even worth listing. It is a stab at patriotism, as he can't be bothered to go on. It is almost as though he is being sarcastic.
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"Dropped like luxuries..."
He has been reduced to a basic level - he's attacking out of desperation, not moral principle. It sounds as though war is important.
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"His terror's touchy dynamite."
This suggests as though the soldier's about to lose control of his emotions.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"- raw in raw-seemed hot khaki..."

Back

This is an interesting word choice of 'raw' and the repetition expresses the feelings: a) 'fresh' and inexperienced b) like a descriptive word of meat - disposable c) over-used d) young e) maybe he's hurt (red-raw) - reflects his body.

Card 3

Front

"...hot khaki, his sweat heavy..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"Stumbling across a field of clods towards a green hedge..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"...dazzled with rifle fire..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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