Download paper

Compare and Contrast Poems "Here", by R.S. Thomas, "Reservist" by Boey Kim Cheng, "Attack" by Siegfried Sassoon and “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen Paying Particular Attention to Their Statements on Human Violence and Human Nature

Literature Essay The four poems that are going to be analyzed below offer different statements on human nature and the subject of human violence. The poem “Here” by R. S. Thomas, a man of devout but questioning faith, centers on the themes of doubt and guilt. In the beginning stanza, we can see that the poem is the reflection of the persona, which we then realize is his questioning about religion.

This is suggested by the quote “You can feel the place where the brains grow” which conveys the idea that the persona is wondering about something and that this is what he will develop through the poem and also shows he is an intelligent man, “like a tree”, old and wise, idea reinforces by the quote “the footprints that led up to me” which show he has a different perspective on life that most of us have, he can see everything he went through to get where he is now with perspective.

The fact that it is told in first person suggests it is a poem about introspection and self-awareness, but in the following stanzas we can begin to think it may refer to the humankind as a whole, not just the persona.

This is conveyed by the questions he makes, “Why, then, are my hand red/with the blood of so many dead? ” where he talks about the bad things men has done as a whole. The diction of “mislead” also conveys the idea of the mistakes humanity has committed, but here it implies that it was not its fault, but that men where led to act wrongly, for example soldiers who are persuaded to commit atrocities in war.

Top Experts
Chris Al
Verified expert
4.9 (478)
Allan Brooks
Verified expert
5 (893)
Professor Harris
Verified expert
4.9 (457)
hire verified expert

The idea of religious doubt and uncertainty is further developed by the rhetorical questions “Does no man hear when I pray? ” and “That they will not do as I say? ” because he prays but nothing happens and by knowing the author’s background and his questioning faith we can deduce from this quote he is not completely certain there is a God listening to his prayers. they also show the feeling of helplessness and despair: “That they will not do as I say? ”.

The last stanzas convey a complete sense of helplessness, “the clock of my whole being is slow” shows that he is now old and that it is “too late to start”, too late to change. He will have to accept to live his life as it is, and he “must stay here with my hurt”. Boey Kim Cheng’s “Reservist” treats the issue of human nature through the condemnation of war and how it makes life monotonous and restricted. It depicts war as something repetitive that happens every year by saying “Time gain for the annual joust”, as if there was no way of preventing it. By saying “to tilt at the old windmills” the author refers to the fact that the soldiers strike at windmills instead of actually fighting, which suggests that Cheng believes war is useless and pointless. This ironic comment shows that the author condemns war. The diction of “creaking bones”, “suppressed grunts” and “battle-weary knights” conveys the idea of the tiredness and exhaustion soldiers suffer from, and that they cannot escape from it as they are doomed to fight forever.

The second stanza has a more critical tone, and the simile “like children placed in carousels” is successful in expressing that the soldiers could not escape, they were trapped there with no way out and no choice. The quote “emerge unlikely heroes with long years/of braving the same horrors/pinned on our tunic fronts” is a condemnation of war because it says that the soldiers are seen as heroes for having committed atrocities, society celebrates and encourages war, and all those horrors are shown in the pins and badges in their tunics which are worn as something to be proud of when they actually represent the atrocities they have committed.

The poem “Anthem For Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen, one of the leading poets of the First World War, is strictly critical of the atrocities of war even from the poem’s title, unlike the poem “Attack” by his friend Siegfried Sassoon. The rhetorical question with which the poem begins convey that soldiers die as animals and that they will never have a proper and dignified funeral, saying that the only bells that will ring for them will be “the monstrous anger of the guns” and “the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle”. The diction here emphasizes the critical tone of the poem .

Siegfried Sassoon’s “Attack” is also critical and condemns war. This can be seen through the diction in “tanks creep”, “clumsily vowed” and “muttering faces” which are words that undermine war and the greatness it was given by the government. We can even say that in a way Sassoon makes fun of the futility of war, idea reinforced through the metaphor “masked with fear” which shows that the soldiers did not want to be there but they were forced to stay there and fight; time even “ticks blank and busy on their wrists” because it passed by but it did not matter as they were not going to live, they were destined to fight a pointless war.

Furthermore, this poem is more descriptive and graphical than the others, including visual images such as “Tanks creep and topple forward”, “The barrage roars and lifts”, “men jostle” that are successful in depicting the battlefront and making the reader create an accurate image of the place. Towards the end, hope is personified in a hopeless way, saying it “flounders in mud”, and it ends with a desperate prayer for ending the war “O Jesus, make it stop! ”.

Save for “Here”, all the poems refer directly to war and include martial language such as “call to arms”, “court-martial” and “fanfare” in “Reservist”, “guns” and “rifles” in “Anthem For Doomed Youth” and ”tanks” and “trenches” in “Attack”, among others. Although war is not explicitly referred to in the poem “Here” we can understand through the quote “with the blood of so many dead? Is this where I was misled? ” that it is talking about the horrors of war.

The four poems however reflect upon life and human violence. In “Here” R. S. Thomas blames society for having “misled” and forced humankind to make terrible things the persona regrets. In “Reservist”, the poet denounces the pointlessness of war and the fact that soldiers are obliged to fight without escape. On the other hand, Wilfred Owen strongly criticizes war and its glorification in an attempt to show everyone that it is not glorious as people thought it was, as well as Siegfried Sassoon does through “Attack”.

This two last poets actually fought in the First World War so they present a view of war based on their own experiences, that is why they provide accurate descriptions of the horrors experienced in the trenches, so as to defy and condemn the glorification of fighting in the war. Taking everything into account, it can be said that the four poets have similar views on the subject of human violence although they express them in different ways.

They all condemn violence and war by stating it as worthless and without a point, and they all provide statements on human nature and humanity which are expressed in their poems, left to us to find them. Here http://www. coursework. info/GCSE/Religious_Studies__Philosophy___Ethics_/Religions/Christianity/Christmas/My_understanding_of_the_meaning_of__Here_L123781. html reservist http://factoidz. com/reservist-by-boey-kim-cheng/ Emily Dickinson http://www. gradesaver. com/emily-dickinsons-collected-poems/study-guide/section1/ Pagina copada

Cite this page

Compare and Contrast Poems "Here", by R.S. Thomas, "Reservist" by Boey Kim Cheng, "Attack" by Siegfried Sassoon and “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen Paying Particular Attention to Their Statements on Human Violence and Human Nature. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7