Henry Treece Poems Analysis Paper

Published: 2021-09-11 01:05:09
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Category: Poetry

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Charge of the light brigade’ is a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The queen appointed him Poet Laureate and so therefore this poem is very patriotic and describes the soldiers as heroes and doesn’t go into detail about how they died and doesn’t use gruesome details because he’s trying to keep the moral up. ‘Conquerors’ though is the opposite. It is a poem written by Henry Treece who was actually in the war and he recollects when he came back from fighting and came across a small abandoned village where he illustrates the destruction of war and how it affects innocent people.
Therefore this poem highlights the negative impacts and is propaganda against the war. ‘Charge of the light brigade’ is about the Crimean war in southern Russia and it outlines both the heroism and obedience of the troops but also the stupidity of war. He wrote this poem for people to remember this famous event but also not to forget the lessons that should be learnt from it, the destruction of mistaken orders. But also to boost the moral and letting people at home know what’s going on.
He did this by writing the poem as a ballad with simple stanzas, with simple language with regular rhyme and rhythm. In the first few lines of the first verse the phrase ‘half a league’ is repeated three times one after another because it gives the image of galloping on horses which is what they’re doing. On lines 4 and 8 there is also repetition of the phrase ‘rode the six hundred’. ‘The six hundred’ being the soldiers and therefore emphasising how many lives went to waste. On line 6 Tennyson uses speech ‘Forward the Light Brigade!
When Was The Charge Of The Light Brigade
Charge for the guns! ‘ as though an order was being given out showing you what it’d be like being there and showing the soldiers trusted their officer and did what he said. And then on line 7 it tells us they are riding into the valley of death, which shows they were doomed from the start and had no hope. The command ‘Forward the light Brigade! ‘ is repeated at the start of verse 2 to show that the officers were confident of what they were doing unaware they were wrong, maybe thinking themselves better then who they were.
Tennyson then asks the question ‘Was there a man dismayed? ‘ to show the loyalty and obedience of the soldiers giving them respect because they were ignorant of what was going to happen. Tennyson then tells us that ‘someone has blundered’ showing that a mistake had occurred and that things were wrong. Even though a mistake had been made the soldiers do not question their orders, and this is shown on lines 5-7 where it writes ‘Theirs not to-make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die. This then gives the soldiers respect and insults the generals for leading others, not themselves to death, but also shows the honour of the soldiers that they are willing to die for their country. When the men reach the valley it claims there was a ‘cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, cannon in front of them’, which creates suspense in that they were out numbered and were doomed.
Then the pace of the poem increases with strong verbs such as ‘volleyed, thundered, stormed and boldly’ and that also creates noise and havoc. There is also alliteration on line 5 ‘Stormed at with shot and shell’ and strong metaphors ‘jaws of death, mouth of hell’ that emphasises how terrible war was but doesn’t highlight the gruesome parts. In the first few lines of the forth verse the word ‘flashed’ is repeated and so gives the effect of lots of movement and everything is chaos.
Tennyson also uses the word sabre meaning a broad sword and that shows the date of the poem. Tennyson describes the Light Brigade as “sabring the gunners there” and that shows that the British had swords whereas the Russians had cannons, indicating it wasn’t a fair fight but also how terrifying it must have been for the soldiers realising someone had made a mistake. On the eleventh and twelfth lines Tennyson delicately and subtly describes their death by writing “Then they rode back, but not the six hundred. This doesn’t bombard us with facts or figures of how many soldiers lost their lives but just claims that not everyone rode back, so as to keep the moral up because he was writing to be patriotic as a Poet Laureate. Verse 5 is very similar to verse three in that exact lines are repeated “cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them” but in the third verse it tells us there was a “cannon in front of them” but the difference in the fifth verse is that there was a “cannon behind them” this then shows us without telling that the soldiers are now fleeing and have turned around.
The verse also uses past tense such as ‘fought’, which tells us they’re not fighting anymore and changes the lines “into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell” from the third verse, into “came through the jaws of death, back from the mouth of hell” that shows they are returning. In the final verse Tennyson is very complimentary about the soldiers, asking, “When can their glory fade? ” which is patriotic, and tells us to “honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade”.
This then indicates we should honour the soldiers but not war, for the soldiers were just told what to do and should not be blamed for their own death. The last line is then patriotic to end the poem with “Noble six hundred” again praising the soldiers but saying nothing of the generals and therefore boosting moral and making people want to join the forces not because they wish to die but to have a life to be proud of and people to honour them. ‘Conquerors’ is a memory of the poet, and the atmosphere of the poem is subdued because it tells us of the negative aspects of war.
The poem differs then in the way that the first poem ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ deals with the war going on at the time and how we should be patriotic whereas ‘Conquerors’ describes the aftermath and how we should deal with the consequences. The poem has no regular rhyme or rhythm for otherwise it would take the focus away from the sombre atmosphere and the message it is trying to convey. In the first line it tells us ‘by sundown we came to a hidden village’ and that portrays that they’ve been travelling all day and maybe a few days on their way back from war.
It writes ‘the air was still’ which is a contrast from war which they’ve just experienced, and ‘no sound met our tired ears’ not only shows us the men are tired but also how loud the war must have been and how it would have strained the ears and so they are going from extremes. Treece then uses onomatopoeia to describe the surroundings such as ‘drip’ and ‘swinging’ and also pathetic fallacy to mirror the soldiers’ feelings ‘blackened trees, broken pane, drip of rain’. Treece then describes a ‘dead bird in a rusting cage’, which highlights the destruction war caused on innocent victims such as this bird.
It then tells us they ‘hurried through the weed-grown streets’, which is not only descriptive but shows they didn’t want to stay and see all the destruction they had caused by fighting or winning the war and to see what had happened because of them, and making them feel guilty so enjoying the success of their conquest but poignantly ignoring the consequences for success heroism and winning are perceived as virtues whereas death destruction and upset as sins, but in a war situation these virtues and sins are inevitably intertwined to such a degree to make them in separable, and as the poem here points out, different eyes will see or ignore different parts.
This feeling of this part of the poem is quite different to that of Lord Tennyson due to the fact that the writer was involved in the horrors that he was writing and was concerned in the reality of war and not the glory of it. Then it goes on to say that a ‘gaunt dog started up from some dark place’, this illustrates the dog isn’t used to visitors and again the harm war had caused on innocent animals because it was so thin and Treece also uses a simile to show how important this is; ‘legs as thin as sticks’. Then proclaims it ‘shambled…. into the wood, to die at last in peace’ and that outlines how the dog had suffered if death was better than living. The next line ‘no-one had told us victory was like this’ is probably the most important line of the poem, for it is the message of the poem and it is why Treece wrote it.
It is enlightening us of the destruction winning a war causes and because we won the war the problem becomes our responsibility. For at the time you do not think of anything else and you are ignorant of side effects. On lines fifteen and sixteen Treece exposes that ‘not one amongst us would have eaten bread before he’d filled the mouth of the grey child’ and this presents that the soldiers didn’t want to cause this suffering even though they did because they fought, but were oblivious to what was happening to non-fighting citizens. The last line ‘there was not one who did not think of home’ gives you an idea that the men are not only homesick but also hoping nothing as devastating as this has happened at their home, to their families.
The poem ends gloomily trying to make you think about the negative aspects and dire consequences of war but also that war doesn’t just end when the fighting stops but leaves a dark shadow of suffering for a long time after. And the title ‘Conquerors’ uses irony in that conquerors usually springs happiness to mind but this poem shows what people do to become ‘conquerors’. Here then we have two very different poems, but with the same subject because they were written for two different reasons. ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ being written by the poet laureate is patriotic and meant to promote high moral whereas ‘Conquerors’ is written by Treece who has experienced the horrors first hand and wants to make people more aware of wars consequences.

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