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"The Charge of the Light Brigade" analysis

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Sarah Johnson

on 8 April 2013

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Transcript of "The Charge of the Light Brigade" analysis

"The Charge of the Light Brigade"
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson Background Information of the Poem:


written by hand on December 9, 1854

written about the Battle of Balaclava (a Ukrainian town) which took
place during the Crimean War

the war was fought between Russia, Britain, Turkey, and France because Russia wanted to gain control of the Dardanelles--an important British sea-route

the battle took place on October 25, 1854 A little background info And even
more info! About the Author:

born on August 6, 1809

was the 4th born of 12 children

Studied at Trinity College at Cambridge

was named Poet Laureate by Queen
Victoria in 1850
Poet Laureate: noun, (in Great Britain) a poet appointed for life as an officer of the royal household, formerly expected to write poems in celebration of court and national events

in 1884, accepted a peerage to
become a Lord Now, let's get to the poem. "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.
IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sab’ring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred. V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred! Let's look

further. "The Charge of the Light Brigade"

I
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!” he said.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
II
“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. imagery personification assonance/consonance alliteration enjambment
caesura simile metaphor repetition rhyme The distance shows the struggle of the men in the army.

The making of death to be a proper noun shows that the author wasn't just referring to plain old death but giving it more importance and weight. The diction use of "valley" refers to graves. Valleys are lower than sea level and are between two "walls." This is like a grave which is below ground level and has walls all around.

The caesura makes the reader have to pause which build suspense in the reader as to whether or not the men get out.

All of the repetition adds to the powerfulness of the poem and is the speaker's way of getting its point across. The lines underlined in this part of the poem are lines that hold many literary devices. The lines "All in the valley of Death/ Rode the six hundred" have imagery, enjambment, a repeated lines, and a metaphor. These all work together to help emphasize the fact that the army was entering a place where they could easily have their lives ended, III
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred.
IV
Flashed all their sabres bare,
Flashed as they turned in air
Sab’ring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred. imagery personification assonance/consonance alliteration enjambment
caesura simile metaphor repetition rhyme The repetition of the word "cannon," along with the imagery, creates a picture of hundreds of cannons all shooting at the army. The imagery creates a scene in the reader's eye of cannon balls being shot mercilessly and landing all about an army.



The valley is being personified as having a jaw and then compared to death.
The valley is personified as having a mouth and then compared to hell.


The repetition and assonance shows importance of line in revealing the work of the army.



The alliteration gives the line a pleasant tone and shows the importance of the line.




A picture of people being flung back from the blow of sword is created. V
Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.
VI
When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred! imagery personification assonance/consonance alliteration enjambment
caesura simile metaphor repetition rhyme This repeated part does the same for the poem as it did in part III of the poem and even adds a little more to show the soldier's struggles.

Throughout the whole poem, the rhyming adds a pleasantness to the poem keeping the reader engaged even though the topic is not very happy itself.



The continuous mention of the number of soldiers shows the speaker's distress over the deaths during the battle.


repeated section that has same meaning as before Refers to the people fighting. Cossacks are a group of people and Russians are as well. Now, it's time for some analyzing. The meaning of the poem is that the soldiers who fought (and those who died) in the Battle of Balaclava should be honored and not just forgotten. I just know you're dying to know how these all help the back up the meaning of the poem. Well, here you go... Poetry usually has hidden meanings that have to be sifted out through the literary gunk piled on top of it. A poem, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, does not follow the norm, though. This poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” does not use literary devices to hide its meaning, but rather uses those devices to support it. The meaning of the poem is that the soldiers who fought (and those who died) in the Battle of Balaclava should be honored and not just forgotten. This is clearly stated within the poem and is extremely hard to miss.

The last few lines of the poem state “Honour the charge they made!/ Honour the Light Brigade,/ Noble six hundred!” (Tennyson). Those lines explicitly reveal the meaning of honoring and remembering the men who fought and died in the Crimean War—specifically that Battle of Balaclava. Now, those few lines themselves could be considered a poem, but Lord Tennyson did not believe so and made his poem what it is—a six stanza’d, 260-word poem. The need for the added length was to argue why the “Light Brigade” should be honored.

The poem was jam-packed with literary devices from the first stanza all the way through to the end. One line that is continuously repeated through the poem is “into the valley of Death” (Tennyson). This line is imagery that creates a picture of people entering their death in an area where there is nowhere to run because there are “walls” on both sides. . The line goes further, though because of the speaker’s diction choice. The use of the word “valley” does more than just create the image of walls surrounding the battle. It refers to graves which are below ground level and have walls, just like valleys. These two things put together with the fact that the line was repeated three times, adds to the emphasis of the line. The author made the speaker repeat these lines to show just how much the soldiers were risking when they rode onto the battlefield.
Another device used in the poem to help back up the meaning of the poem is assonance. In lines such as “Flashed all their sabres bare” (Tennyson), the repeated vowel sound nonchalantly causes the reader to focus on the lines and understand their meaning. The soldiers had to fight with swords and at great lengths. The speaker chose to repeat the sound in “sabres” and ‘bare” in order to the reader’s attention on this fact to help explain why the Brigade should be honored and not forgotten.
A third and final literary device that is prominent in the poem is repetition. The words “the six hundred” are repeated in every stanza of the poem and this is used very slyly. The repletion just seems to be a nice way for the author to end each stanza and make them all look nice. The truth is though that the repetition was used by the speaker to stress the lives that were risked and lost in the Battle. With the constant reminder of the number of soldiers, the speaker is able to relate to the reader that the men fighting were not a huge group and worked painstakingly hard.
Every piece of literary devices used in the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade”—those explained and those not—are all used by the speaker to argue the meaning of the poem. Each device used helps to support and build up the purpose of the poems meaning. The meaning of the poem is that the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Balaclava should be honored. The devices all show how hard the soldiers fought and how they put their lives on the line to protect their respective countries. Here's where I got my information Works Cited

"The Charge Of The Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson." The Charge Of The Light Brigade by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.

""The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson Is Published." History.com.
A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord. "Poetry Out Loud : The Charge of the Light Brigade." Poetry Out Loud : The Charge of the Light Brigade. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2013.
This proves it:
"Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred!" This backs it up:
repetition
imagery
diction
many other literary devices Well, that's that!
"The Charge of The" "The charge.." Prezi created by Sarah Johnson
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