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ATTACK DREAMER S By Siegfried Sassoon
/sassoon.htm /sassoon_siegfried.shtml /pst_sassoon.html Biographical Details Siegfried Sassoon was born in Kent, in He studied at Clare College in Cambridge but left without a degree in Until the age of 28, he lived as a ‘country gentleman’ playing cricket and golf and writing poetry.
At the start of the war, Sassoon enlisted as a cavalry trooper but was transferred to the Royal Welch Fusiliers as an officer in May 1915 where he met Robert Graves. Nicknamed ‘Mad Jack’ for his courage on the battlefield. Decorated twice and awarded the Military Cross in 1916 for helping a wounded soldier back to the British lines under fire. Involvement in War
Views on War His early war poetry held a more 19 th century romantic view of war, such as his poem ‘Absolution.’ Robert Graves, a more experienced front line fighter, told Sassoon this view would soon change (which it did).
Dreamers By Siegfried Sassoon
Message / Purpose During the war, there were numerous strategies to lure men to volunteer for war. Many were tempted by the glory they would receive. They were deceived by the lies of ending by Christmas.
In Siegfried Sassoon’s poem, Dreamers, the main purpose/message is that war isn’t the way that media depicts it. He indicates that when men are in the middle of war, they no longer think of the glory and tremendous acts of heroism…
Instead they dream about their “firelit homes, clean beds, and wives”. Sassoon is suggesting that war is a horrible ordeal with the terrible sights of bloody, torn bodies and the sounds of constant bombing. It is at those times that soldiers dream about much more mundane and normal things such as their homes.
Poem Analysis “Soldiers are citizens of “death's gray land” [battlefield] "gray" - drawn out, bland, nothing, no hope/emotion "citizens" (significant word choice) - suggests they have been there long and become part of that world “Drawing no dividends (profit/payouts) from time's tomorrows. “ - getting no hope from the prospect of tomorrow because they could die “In the great hour of destiny they stand” - fate decided soon - like they are being controlled - no say in their own fate
Poem Analysis “Soldiers are sworn (alliteration) to action, they must win” -their only way out is a glorious death but they are expected to fight bravely and with honour and glory “Soldiers are dreamers” - as if there is no way out - only a dream but not reality [there is also the repetition of at the beginning of line 1, 5 and 7 with 'soldiers are' ] “Some flaming, fatal” (alliteration) -emphasizes the fierceness “They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives” - contrast with first line
Poem Analysis In the last 6 lines there is the repetition of the word “and”, there is also no full stop, only one at the end. It is listing - emphasizing all the things that they are missing - ‘and’ shows it is ongoing “spats” in the 2nd to last line means 'cloth or leather material worn by fashionable men over the middle part of the shoe to cover the instep and ankle'
Poem Analysis Also, this poem is a petrarchan sonnet - it has an octet which opens the scene and then develops it, followed by a sestet - the first 2 lines of the sestet creates images that contrasts dramatically with those in the octet and the ending lines that follow it and emphasizes the poor conditions that they suffered in. There is no rhyming couplet at the end. The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEFEF
Attack By Siegfried Sassoon
Message / Purpose In this poem Sassoon conveys the horror of war. The many language techniques used, such as imagery, convey the awful environment of war, and how unlike it is from how it was promised to these men back home. It shows how war leaves man – helpless and desperate. Time becomes their enemy and they have lost all hope. It also shows how war causes a loss of faith, seen in the plea to religion, and shows how much of a lie the promise of the glory of war was, in that the propagandists at home used God to appeal to men to fight for their country.
Sassoon wrote this poem in autumn 1917, while at Craiglockhart Military Hospital, ‘recovering’ from shell shock and is based on his experiences in battle the previous spring (earlier in the year). This poem was written after his public protests against the war (including his letter in The Times), so at this time he would have held strong anti-war views. This is why the poem is so clearly against war. Sassoon was known for his belief that the war was being unnecessarily prolonged by the authorities, which the very last line of the poem could reference. SOURCE: Within context of the poem
Poem Analysis It is a short poem of 13 lines and only one stanza written in speech rhythm with some rhyme -The detach structure of the poem represents mankind losing direction and virtue in life in times of war
Poem Analysis “At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun” - opening lines describe the new day emerging - creates an almost calm picture, which further emphasizes the unexpectedness of the later attack The word “glowering” is used to describe the sun, suggesting that nature itself is disapproving. “Smoldering” is also used to describe the sun covered in infected smoke, due to human action