“Six young men” by “Ted Hughes” who was a son of a soldier in the First World War and was one of the two percent of his regiment that survived Gallipoli. This poem is on a picture of six young men who are about to go to war. Hughes is criticising war and saying that it pointlessly takes away the live and future of the young men who participate and die in war.
Hughes describes each man individually saying “one imparts an intimate smile… one is ridiculous with cocky pride” he then abruptly says a short and truncated sentence of “six months after this picture they were all dead” this evokes in the audience an image of how abrupt their death was and how abruptly them and all their personalities were wiped out. Hughes changes the perspective and tone of the poem very suddenly and the contrast of these two tones effectively conveys the shock and the pointlessness of the men’s death.
Hughes then goes on to describe many scenes of tranquillity and nature such as “you hear the water of seven streams fall, to the roared in the bottom “this scene of peacefulness is contrasted in the next paragraph to the scenes of war and descriptions of each man’s death such as “fell back dead with his rifle-sights shot away” which conjures up the horrific image of a person who has been shot in the head.
These directly contrasting images makes more obvious the appalling ways the men die and makes their deaths and war seem even more pointless or gruesome. Hughes also says “that man’s not more alive whom you confront… then any of these six celluloid smiles are” This is saying how that any normal man is not any more lively and full of life then the men in the picture are. Hughes is saying that the young men in the picture had as many things to look forward to and experience as any normal young man now would have.
He also says how all the things that a young man would have to look forward to was all cut short by the war and its need to gather young men lives and end them is unnecessary and pointless. “Six Young Men” is a poem written to show pointless war. Not only because it is horrific and ugly but because it also pointlessly consumes many normal young men’s lives which have so much to look forward to.
Courtney from Study Moose
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