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Conscientious Objector by Millay

prompts to analyse and argue

Mr Wood

on 11 April 2013

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Transcript of Conscientious Objector by Millay

Conscientious Objector by Edna St Vincent Millay A conscientious objector is someone who refuses to fight because they think violence is wrong. In the poem, we see Edna St Vincent Millay presenting this viewpoint. The most important technique she uses is Personification is when an idea or thing is presented as becoming a PERSON to allow the writer to explore the nature of that idea or thing. For Millay, war is against DEATH. And death is: a BULLY interested in MONEY busy and RAPACIOUS always wanting more Death is strong, mounted in a position of superiority. Death picks on the weak and poor. He acts like a slave driver. Death is interested in money, and wants more of it. but what about the... MORALITY It's easy to say "War is bad." The Narrator's position is ABSOLUTE It's black and white, and it sees the issue in terms of good and bad. Obviously, pain and suffering are wrong. But the wise old Edmund Burke said: You might say "This poem was written before the persecution of the Jews, and Millay changed her mind about pacifism in the second world war." And you would be right. But can we stand by and let evil happen?
Are we conspirators with death by not opposing ‘him’? Should the narrator be happy to merely describe Death as picking on the weak without doing anything about it? The narrator takes pride in his / her position MORAL SUPERIORITY which suggests a The impact of the poem comes from PERSONIFICATION But it may be that this is the moral weakness. DEATH doesn’t kill people. PEOPLE kill PEOPLE. By personifying DEATH, Millay can show that war is about money and abuse of power. But it also means that the people who exploit it are let you know - doing the right thing
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