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Suicide in the Trenches
Transcript of Suicide in the Trenches
Suicide in the Trenches
I knew a simple soldier
Who grinned at life in empty
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With crumps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet through his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you'll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
by Euna, Andrew, Ana, Aaryaman
- Written in WW1, published in the 1918 poem collection: "Counter-Attack & Other Poems"
- The poem describes the change that war inflicts on soldiers
The psychological effects on soldiers who fought the war
Form & Structure
Rhythm & Rhyme
Language & Devices
- Sassoon's parents separated when he was four.
- In 1895 Sassoon' father died of tuberculosis. This could have affected his life in a big way, and might have impacted his poems.
This could be why his poems are so negative.
the cruel fate of soldiers
ignorance is bliss
- Has 12 lines and 3 stanzas (iambic tetrameter).
The depression the soldiers have because of the war
not affected by negatives
FORM & STRUCTURE
- Suggesting that the poet actually thought about form and structure.
- In addition, the same year that he wrote Suicide in the Trenches, he went back to the front where Owen was killed and he was wounded.
This could have also affected this poem by channeling his negative feelings.
- Uses full-stops effectively: in third stanza, last line, it is short to emphasise how miserable the front lines are and how quickly the boys life ended.
- Sassoon was commissioned to go to war which could relate to the boy in the poem.
- The final stanza gives a sense of a warning tone, and some jealousy.
directly speaking to readers
- Also in the third stanza, the use of commas makes it seem like a list thus emphasises the horrible conditions in war.
life and death
war is strict
war attracts the young and happy, and kills them
- In the first stanza, there is a light tone - the happiness of the soldier.
- Then the next stanza is less positive - winter connotes the coldness and the loss of life.
- Trenches add on the thought of death and war.
no will to live
- Then suddenly the pace of the poem picks up, and the tone becomes harsh and dark/gloomy.
- Sassoon changes his tone in each stanza, in a way like he is telling a story with a meaning
- Rhyming couplets - like a nursery rhyme
- Shows the difference between the death of the war and the life of the people at home - and warns
This poem is effective.
Tone - like a story or nursery rhyme
THANK YOU FOR LISTENING