Loading presentation...

Present Remotely

Send the link below via email or IM

Copy

Present to your audience

Start remote presentation

  • Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
  • People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
  • This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
  • A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
  • Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article

Do you really want to delete this prezi?

Neither you, nor the coeditors you shared it with will be able to recover it again.

DeleteCancel

Make your likes visible on Facebook?

Connect your Facebook account to Prezi and let your likes appear on your timeline.
You can change this under Settings & Account at any time.

No, thanks

Last Post

music by longzijun.
by

Kirsty Joyce

on 2 September 2014

Comments (0)

Please log in to add your comment.

Report abuse

Transcript of Last Post

Last post
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking drowning.
Before beginning her poem Duffy makes an explicit reference to Wilfred Owen's poem from the First World War Dulce et Decorum Est.


Analysed by Kirsty Joyce
Carol Ann Duffy's - Last Post
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking drowning.
If poetry could tell it backwards, true, begin
that moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud...
but you get up,amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into its wounds;
see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches, kiss the photographs from home -
mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die.
Dulce - No - Decorum - No Propatria mori.
You walk away.
DULCE ET DECORUM EST – these are the first words of a Latin saying often quoted at the start of the First World War, meaning "It is sweet and right.”

Owen’s ends the poem with the full saying: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
“it is sweet and right to die for your country”
This propaganda would be used during the First World War to pressure young men into joining the Army, boys under the age of enrollment would even lie about their age to join the army as they believed it was a great honor to fight and die.

Owen’s uses this propaganda, contrasting it to the horrific vivid images of war that he describes to reject and challenge the propaganda and the beliefs about the “glory of war” society held at the time.

Duffy references Owen’s poem as the purpose of her poem is similarly to reject propaganda surrounding war and emphasize the true horror of war.

You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too -
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert -
and light a cigarette.
There's coffee in the square,
warm french bread,
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queueing up for home. Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from history; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings.

You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food.
You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile.

If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would.
but it can't... ?

the poem seems unfinished. The blunt end links back to the harsh "begin{ing]" of the poem. Duffy's purpose here was to remind readers of the reality of war, it was not a story, poets are not magicians that can turn back time, there is no happy ending.
"If poetry could truly tell it backwards,
then it would."
Duffy uses the idea of time running backwards in more than one of her poems, suggesting that she often reflects on the past.

'Last post' imagines what would happen if time ran backwards and those killed in the First World War came back to life; their lives would still be full of possibilities and filled with "love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food."

By personifying poetry and playing with the idea that it could turn back time, Duffy shows how powerful she believed the written word to be.
"If poetry could tell it backwards,"
"true, begin
the moment shrapnel scythed you to the stinking mud..."
The use of enjambment emphasizes the word "begin", By using this very blunt word to start a graphic, emotional story of war and death, Duffy shocks readers with the uncaring tone used, dehumanizing the soldiers to emphasize how war takes away humanity.
The use of sibilance in this line along with the graphic imagery suggests anger, the repeated 's' sounds work well to make readers hiss out the line as if they are disgusted by what they are reading.

These techniques contrast and show that Duffy is parodying the harsh ways the soldiers of WWI were treated.
"but you get up, amazed, watch bled bad blood
run upwards from the slime into it's wounds;"
The alliteration in this line, almost makes it a tongue- twister, slowing down the reader and allowing them to think and reflect more on the words, this emphasizes the damage that war does.

The diction used creates a graphic image in the readers mind, reminding us again of the horror of war.
The wording "it's wounds" can be interpreted as extremely dehumanizing if we question to what "it" Duffy refers. This supports the idea that she is trying to emphasize how war strips people of their humanity.
Bled Bad Blood
"see lines and lines of British boys rewind
back to their trenches,kiss the photographs from home- mothers, sweethearts, sisters, younger brothers
not entering the story now
to die and die and die."
Listing the family members and loved ones of the soldiers, makes the loss seem much greater because they are given back their humanity.

The list also works to emphasize the quantity of soldiers that died and loved ones were left behind to grieve.
"to die and die and die"
The repetition of "die" further empathizes the huge scale of death and the polysyndeton give this very simple line a huge impact, the repetition of the basic conjunction "and" gives the line a childlike quality, emphasizing how many of the soldiers were still children themselves, the loss of innocent vulnerable children creates a much stronger image than that of the brave and honorable soldiers whom society thought were fighting and dying for them.
Dulce - No -Decorum - No - Pro patria mori.
You walk away.
Duffy again references Wilfred Owen, this time more openly showing her rejection of propaganda she takes an even more direct route, literally ripping apart the saying. the repetition and isolation of "No" make this line powerful, creating an image of strength and defiance.
NO it is not sweet. NO it is not right. NO to accepting the death of the innocent.

Duffy ends this first stanza "You walk away."
This choice of wording is cleverly ironic as very few soldiers ever walked away from the war.
This short sentence following the extremely powerful longer broken up line, gives the reader a sense of relief. The action is simple yet strong and highlights how easily their lives could have been saved, if they had rejected propaganda and been allowed to simply walk away.

"You walk away; drop your gun (fixed bayonet)
like all your mates do too -
Harry, Tommy, Wilfred, Edward, Bert -
and light a cigarette."
"There's coffee in the square,
warm French bread,
and all those thousands dead
are shaking dried mud from their hair
and queuing up for home."

"Freshly alive,
a lad plays Tipperary to the crowd, released
from History; the glistening, healthy horses fit for heroes, kings."
"lean[ing] against a wall," is a casual gesture often displayed by teenagers, it strongly challenges the description of soldiers as "heroes" and "kings" from the previous line of the poem. This contrast shows the difference between what these boys were, and what society expected of them and forced them to become.
"You lean against a wall,
your several million lives still possible
and crammed with love, work, children, talent, English beer, good food."
"You see the poet tuck away his pocket-book and smile."
This phrase is repeated from the very first line, giving the poem a cyclical nature. Linking the end back to the beginning reflects the theme of time rewinding; by the end of the poem readers have gone back to the start, making no progress. Duffy used this to emphasize the recurrence of war.
By giving the faces and stories names, Duffy gives the soldiers back
their humanity and therefore makes the deaths personal and therefore more tragic.

“When one person dies, it's a tragedy, but when a million people die,
it's a statistic.”
- Joseph Stalin

Duffy uses language and techniques such as lists to emphasize the massive amount of death caused by war, but she simultaneously uses emotive language and imagery to keep every individual soldiers humanity so that each of the millions lost is a tragedy.

By rhyming bayonet with cigarette, she contrasts the violence of weapons and war with a normal part of cultural, making readers more aware that there was a valuable unique human life behind each bayonet and uniform.
"coffee in the square," "warm French bread," these lines convey relateable images of life, community and "home". The unimaginable image of "thousands dead" is inhumane and strongly contrasts the personal image of community created in the previous line emphasizing the full extent of the tragedy.

The rhyme of "bread" and "dead" emphasizes the strong contrast between imagery of life and death. Duffy is building up the readers image of life before using enjambment to suddenly disappoint our expectations and bring readers back down to the harsh reality of the huge amount of death that war brings.

The image of soldiers returning home and "shaking dried mud from their hair" creates negative imagery of war, destroying the belief that it is glorious and honorable, instead reflecting the realistic image of the cold, the dirt and the death of war.

"Freshly alive, a lad" this language create images of innocence, youth, vulnerability, therefore making death more tragic.
"crowd" invokes an image of community, personalizing the tragedy.
Duffy uses enjambment to highlight that the soldiers were "released," this language suggests imprisonment, and that now they have been set free from the war, in which they were forced to fight and die. Therefore they have been freed from "History" and the apparent honor that came with death.
"English beer [and] good food" represent normality and humanity, this image of patriotic culture is relateable, personalizing the soldiers.

The "beer" and "good food" also contrasts with the coffee and french bread the soldiers received before war. This shows that without the war these boys and men could have gone on to do whatever they wanted and created a better life for themselves, they were free.

The possibility of "beer" that would never be fulfilled, could also suggest the soldiers youth, they may not have been old enough to drink "English beer", but they were old enough to fight and die for England.
Perhaps the poet is a reflection of Duffy herself. She is smiling, because the novel idea of a world where poetry could turn back time was humorous and entertaining but sadly not possible. Despite the power of words, the poems couldn't protect the boys against the bombs, bullets and gas.

With use of alliteration "healthy horses fit for heroes" Duffy emphasizing her appreciation and respect for the soldiers who were forced to fight and die. The use of "king" creates an image of bravery and grandeur, supporting this suggestion.
The loss of "several million lives" is a number too high for anyone to imagine. Like our Earth very few people will be able to see from a different perspective and view the full scale of the extent of the tragedy of war as it is far too great.
Duffy uses a list to slows down the rhythm of the poem, and emphasizes the amount that so many boys and men lost to fight and die in the war.
"love...children" - These are things that humans are biologically designed to crave, these relateable desires create sympathy from the reader.
Thank you for watching,
By Kirsty Joyce
Full transcript