The Negative Perception of War in Modern Society

Categories: Poems
About this essay

In today’s contemporary society, war and everything referenced to it is seen as utterly negative. Philosophers, historians, novels and poems all portray the negativity of war; however the question to ask is whether or not anything good can come out of war. In this essay, I will be evaluating a number of poems to see to what extent they agree to the following statement; “War does terrible things to people, and people do terrible things in war”. To be able to give a proper response to this statement; I require analyzing each poem individually, providing proof of arguments against or for the statement.

The poems which I have selected are in the accordance of how good arguments they provide.

The first poem that I will analyze is Heroes. When first reading the title, words like patriotism, honor, loyalty, nationalism and devotion comes to mind. All of these words are very positive and give a positive aspect to the war; they also give the reader admiration behind the actions of the soldiers; however the poem itself portrays something quite to the contrary to that.

Get quality help now
checked Verified writer

Proficient in: Nazi Germany

star star star star 5 (339)

“ KarrieWrites did such a phenomenal job on this assignment! He completed it prior to its deadline and was thorough and informative. ”

avatar avatar avatar
+84 relevant experts are online
Hire writer

Merely by reading the first stanza you relies which direction the poem is headed towards. The poem takes away the so called ideal image of a hero and replaces it with “a poor little chap with chubby cheeks and knees grinding each other”. It then goes on to describe the death of the protagonist and then states that “no cross or medal was put to his chest or to his name or to his family”.

Get to Know The Price Estimate For Your Paper
Number of pages
Email Invalid email

By clicking “Check Writers’ Offers”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We’ll occasionally send you promo and account related email

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Write my paper

You won’t be charged yet!

Thus the reader is left to bewilder over whether or not anything positive may come out of fighting a war.

The aspect of the war which attracts a lot of people to join the army (heroism) doesn’t seem as attractive after reading this poem, as it is clear that the real heroes/brave men aren’t remembered. Similarly another poem by Ruthveen Todd called These are the facts shows how soldiers aren’t remembered. The poem compares the fame and recognition of Art to Soldiers and comes to a conclusion that an art piece is worth much more as people remember it and recognize it; whilst soldiers that die in wars are just “nuisance, liable to stink, a breeding-ground for flies, a test tube for disease”. In conclusion, the two poems clearly show the negativity of the war and show how “war does terrible things to people”. The first impression evoked out of the title (heroes) is clearly eradicated after having read the poem and the second poem does nothing but to reinforce the first poems view. Thus one can clearly see that the so called “terrible thing” that these poems demonstrate is that the true heroes are never remembered, and thus the idea of joining for heroism doesn’t seem as attractive.

The second poem I will analyze to see to what extent it agrees with the statement is Truce by Paul Muldoon. Truce, as the title says is about peace/armistice and is one of the few poems in the booklet that provides a non-violent and peaceful aspect of the war. The poem describes a temporary ceasefire on a Christmas day in the First World War and thus just shows that war does not always do terrible things to people and people don’t always do terrible things in war. The allies and axis have a peaceful gathering to “exchange names and addresses”. This poem shows how war may lead to friendship, peace, brotherhood and overall goes to show a positive aspect to war where people aren’t doing terrible things such as killing. The poem is a symbol for what wars are fought for which is the ultimate goal of peace. Unlike Truce (which is a peaceful portrayal of a part of the war); the poem How did they kill my grandmother? shows another aspect of war. The poets name is Boris Slutsky and the aspect of the war, which is covered by this poem, is the affect of the war on civilians.

The poem is very cold, factual and straightforward providing a detailed description of how civilians may get killed in the war. It’s about a grandmother who stands up against the Germans and ends up getting killed because of her courage. “A bullet struck her hair, and kicked her grey plait down. My Grandmother fell to the ground. That is how she died”. How did they kill my grandmother? Is yet another poem that goes to show, that terrible things do occur in the war, and thus this poem is clearly supporting the statement.

The Holocaust by Charles Reznikoff covers a very major aspect of the Second World War not covered by any other poem. The Holocaust is about the persecution of the Jews and the mass massacre of them by the axis Germany, under the leadership of the fascist Adolf Hitler. The poem is very factual and cold, very similar to the poem by Boris Slutsky. It describes how the process of gassing the Jews took place in the camps. It is clear from the brief description that I have provided that the poem is for the statement, that people do terrible things in war, as it is clear that the gassing of the Jews by the Germans is a terrible thing. “Among the dead, families were to be seen holding each other by hand, hands tightly clasped together”; a quote from the poem that just shows to what extent this poem agrees to the statement.

There is absolutely nothing in this poem that provides an argument against the statement, and if I were to judge this essay purely on this poem I would have come to a conclusion that the poems demonstrate to high extent to agree with the statement. Another Poem called Retribution; by the poet Ilya Ehrenburg describes a dead girl beside a bridge and how the soldiers see this as a symbol for what they are fighting the war against. Like Holocaust this is yet another example of a poem, with a central theme of the terrible things people do in war and thus another argument for the statement.

In conclusion it is clear that the poems in the booklet provide arguments for the statement of “war does terrible things to people and people do terrible things in war”. Merely by going through 6 poems I have come to a conclusion; though I see it is natural for war poems to cover aspects of the war that agree with statement, as war involves people getting shot, killed, raped, assaulted, burnt and sometimes even gassed; even the few attractive aspects of war are ridiculed such as glory, heroism and patriotism. Thus one can conclude that the booklet demonstrates to high extent to agree with the statement, as the majority of the poems cover aspects of the war that are clearly horrific and there is hardly any mention of anything good to come out of the war in the poems.

Similar topics:

Essay about Loyalty
Cite this page

The Negative Perception of War in Modern Society. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

The Negative Perception of War in Modern Society
Live chat  with support 24/7

👋 Hi! I’m your smart assistant Amy!

Don’t know where to start? Type your requirements and I’ll connect you to an academic expert within 3 minutes.

get help with your assignment