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Aftermath - by Siegfried Sassoon

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Michael Jackson

on 13 April 2015

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Transcript of Aftermath - by Siegfried Sassoon

-All his poems contain a deep meaning and an important message.
-Best remembered for his angry and compassionate poems of World War I which brought him public and critical acclaim.
-Avoided the sentimentality and the patriotism like many other war poets at the time.
-Focused instead on the horrors and brutality of trench warfare.
-Pitied the soldiers who sacrificed their fruitful lives at such a young age.
-Bashed the generals, and politicians for their blind support of the war.
-Public reaction to his poems was fierce.
-Many complained that his poetic depictions of war was too extreme.
-Captured the feeling of trench warfare and the weariness of British soldiers for a war that seemed never to end.
-His diverse use of imagery and techniques is what makes him an exceptional war poet. His poetry evokes the reader about the hardships during the war.
Have you forgotten yet?...
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow
Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.

But the past is just the same-and War’s a bloody game...
Have you forgotten yet?...
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.

Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench-
And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’

Do you remember that hour of din before the attack–
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?

Have you forgotten yet?...
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget

Biography
-Born in a wealthy Jewish family in Kent, England
-Lived the leisurely life of a cultivated country gentleman before the First World War
-Educated at Cambridge and Clare College.
-Pursuing his two major interests, poetry and fox hunting.

Biography
-Served at the Royal Welch Fusiliers at 1916
-Earned the Military Cross for bring back a wounded soldier during heavy fire-After participation, he changed his initial opinion about war.
-Threw his Military Cross in the ocean.
-Wrote a letter of protest to the war department called "The Soldier's Declaration"
-Withdrew from service
"I believe that this War is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it,"
Works
Aftermath - by Siegfried Sassoon
Biography
-In response for the protest, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Craiglockhart after being ruled that he was suffering from shell-shock and needed medical treatment.
-Met fellow War Poet Wilfred Owen in Craiglockhart and the two befriended each other.
-Wilfred Owen is known today as the greatest War Poet and many of his poems draw influence from Sassoon.
First Stanza: A B B C C D D A A

Second Stanza: A A E E F F

Third Stanza: G H F G I I

Fourth Stanza: A A

The poem opens with a rhetorical question and this is repeated through each stanza, at the start or the end.
Rhyming Scheme
Simile
Our daily lives = "traffic checked while at the crossings of city-ways:"
The haunted gap refers to the dreadful memories of the soldiers.
-The waste of time for war is also emphasized.
-Time ties in with the idea of memory
Allusion: Spring alludes to new life, which could also mean children. The line could possibly mean remember to tell your children so history wont repeat itself.
The repetition of "
You
," is used to grasp the reader's attention into the poem.
"And" is used to creatively show the daily activities that never stopped and continued on. ?" This shows that their work was tedious, in the mud and never stopped.
One can easily visualize the images involved during the war.
Even rain wasn't helpful to the soldiers as it did not wash anything away. This is ironic because rain brings a new beginning but it caused trouble for the soldiers as the fighting conditions would become worse due to a wet climate.
One can see a sense of frustration and anger in the soldiers about the war in the third stanza.
The health of these young strong soldiers turned into "Haggard faces" and "Doomed" lives shows the young generations sacrificing their lives on something that won't help them gain anything.
Sassoon also shows his comrades dying and losing their lives, this only brings sorrow and sadness among the family.
He shows a child's life turned into a nightmare. And the mask represents death.
People are moving on and not remembering the past, just like vehicles of traffic.
"Taking your peaceful share of Time."
"Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you'll never forget."
Do
you
remember the dark months
you
held the sector at Mametz–
The nights
you
watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets?
Do
you
remember the rats; and the stench
....
Do
you
remember that hour of din before the attack–
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then
As
you
peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do
you
remember the stretcher-cases lurching back

"The nights you watched
and
wired
and
dug
and
piled sandbags on parapets?"
"Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench."
Imagery
"And dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain?"
"And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then."
"As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back"

"With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-grey
Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?"
Tone/Mood
-Sombre evident in the themes of impurity, corruption, death and suffering:
"dirty-white"
"hopeless rain"
"the stench of corpses rotting"
"doomed and haggard faces of men"
"dying eyes"
Philosophy:
Ethics
Is there any morality in war?
Is the act of killing in the battlefield justified?
‘Masks’ could be both literal (meaning gas mask) and figurative (meaning the faces of the men no longer look human)
Double Meaning: Mask
Critical Approach:
Biographical
Poem documents the events and experiences of his life during the First World War and the hardships and traumas that he endured.
"Do you remember the dark months you held sector at Mametz?"
Full transcript