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Grass By: Carl Sandburg PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo, Shovel them under and let me work-- I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them.

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Presentation on theme: "Grass By: Carl Sandburg PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo, Shovel them under and let me work-- I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grass By: Carl Sandburg PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo, Shovel them under and let me work-- I am the grass; I cover all. And pile them high at Gettysburg And pile them high at Ypres and Verdun. Shovel them under and let me work. Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: What place is this? Where are we now? I am the grass. Let me work.

2 Austerlitz: Major battle of the Napoleonic wars, fought on December 2, Nearly 25,000 men died. Napoleon Bonaparte and his army of nearly 70,000 soldiers defeated a force of Russians and Austrians numbering about 90,000. Austerlitz is in the present-day Czech Republic. Waterloo: The final battle of the Napoleonic wars, fought near Waterloo, Belgium, on June 18, 1815, and resulting in more than 60,000 casualties. British forces under the Duke of Wellington, General Arthur Wellesley, and Prussian forces under Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher combined to defeat Napoleon.

3 Gettysburg: Major battle of the U.S. Civil War in which Union forces of General George G. Meade defeated Confederate forces under General Robert E. Lee near the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 1-3, 1863, resulting in 45,000 to 50,000 casualties. The battle turned the tide of the war in favor of the Union. Ypres (pronounced E pruh): Town in Belgium that was the site of three major World War I battles (October-November 1914, April-May 1915, and July-November 1917) that resulted in more than 850,000 German and allied casualties. Verdun: Indecisive World War I battle between the French and the Germans fought at Verdun, France, from February to December, Total casualties numbered more than 700,000.

4 Questions 1.What key words or phrases are repeated? What effect does this have? 2.The dominant rhetorical strategy is personification. What is personified? How does this help produce the tone of the poem? 3.What is/are the tone(s) of the poem? Is it legitimate to see two diametrically opposing tones here? If so what would they be? 4.Allusions also play a major role. Identify the allusions and discuss why these particular ones are used. 5.What is the point of view? What does this contribute to the poem? 6.If one of Sandburg’s contentions is that people forget about war and fallen heroes, does the fact that many war memorials and statues, cannons, and plaques dot the landscape at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg contradict this?

5 7. The poem is written in free verse. Free verse ignores standard rules of meter in favor of the rhythms of ordinary conversation. In effect, free verse liberates poetry from conformity to rigid metrical rules that dictate stress patterns and the number of syllables per line. French poets originated free verse (or vers libre) in the 1880s, although earlier poems of Walt Whitman ( ) and other writers exhibited characteristics of free verse. Does the absence of end rhyme strengthen or weaken the poem? 8.Which of the following BEST expresses the theme of the poem? Why? Theme 1: After humans kill one another in recurring wars, they let nature cover up their dirty work. Theme 2: People forget the lessons of history. Consequently, they repeat the mistakes that caused the wars of the past. Theme 3: People forget the fallen heroes of war after several years pass and grass repairs battlefield scars. Theme 4: Nature goes about its business dispassionately and ineluctably even in wartime.


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