The role of the Author
What can you determine/understand about the writer of the text? What are his beliefs and values? What does he want the reader to experience and understand?
The writer of the text has experienced war and the deaths that have occurred throughout. He understands the rituals and respect that the country follows when theses deaths occur such as drawing-down blinds. He has experienced bombs and guns which helped him to be able to express the fear and depression of death to his friends and fellow soldiers as well as the families feelings towards the death of their loved ones. He wants to give the readers a sense of actually being there when the bells are ringing out and the feeling that the family has when one of their loved ones has died as well as people’s friends.
The writer might have experienced being on the front line as he seems to know the constant sounds of guns of bombs going off around him. I assume he has been there a long time as well as he seems to constantly be hearing their sounds. He might have returned back to his hometown or village after being on the front line as he listens to the church bells ringing out for the dead. He writes from a personal point of view so we can also assume he has had many people he is close with die and the bells have rung out for his loved ones. He may be with people he loves like family and they are all mourning the death of loved ones as he watches them pray and sees grief-stricken faces. There are contrasting images as he tells of how the scene of death is every soldier is treated as another number.
What has been included?
” No mockeries now”- This word Mockeries explains the way the writer is feeling about how some of the dead soldiers have been treated. He believes that some of the soldiers have been treated like number as they have fought and died for their country o the battle field only to be left and forgotten by their own country. This sentence contradicts this idea as no Mockeries now means that the soldiers who survived and watched their friends die now understand that war is not enjoyable and that the consequences deadly. This sentence helps us to understand what is being taken place as the soldiers understand that war is not fun and that they know once they die a bell will ring out to represent their life and then they may be forgotten by their country and left on the battle field.
“From sad shires” This sentence and word sad shires represent the way the towns and villages from which the soldiers come from feel. The towns have become run down and depressed areas due to the war and the tole it has taken on them. Not only have the men been taken away from their wives, families and loved ones many of them will not be returning due to death, this causes the towns atmosphere and whole state to go into a depression.This helps us to understand the text in more depth as it gives of the message to the readers that war and death has changed towns into a dark, glum state as the people feel depressed as they miss and lose their loved ones and many know they wont be coming back from where they have fallen leaving them wondering where there bodies could be laying.
“Drawing-down of blinds” This action represents a mark of respect to the fallen soldiers and to tell the world that someone has died. Many families once hearing their loved one has died at war draw their blinds to respect them. This gives of the atmosphere the family are feeling as when you draw a blind the room becomes dark and glum, this helps us to understand the way the family is feeling as they have just lost someone they loved and knew so these people are experiencing depression as they find out there soldier has died. It is also a mark of remembrance of the soldier who has died because the family and friends who pull their blinds are showing respect to the soldier who has gone to war to fight for his country. We understand that in drawing these blinds it gives a lot of sadness and darkness to the writing as readers we feel sorry that a soldier has died and many people will be missing him.
language techniques: what has been included?
“These who die as cattle” This simile is comparing the soldiers who have died at war to cattle. This technique has been chosen to help represent the way the soldiers are being treated as they put themselves at risk for their country. This techniques helps us to understand that the men who are fighting for their country and people through a very tough and grim experience are dying and then being treated like cattle. The soldiers are being used as just another number as once they die many lie on the battle fields forgotten by their country and only remembered by their loved ones as many of the bodies will never be found and left where they have fallen as another man from the same country is recruited only to have the same outcome of death. This helps us to understand as readers that there is not enough respect given to the soldiers who fight for their lives and then are not celebrated and mourned for once they die. It is a reoccurring cycle as another Man takes his place on the field only to reach the same outcome.
“Choir of wailing shells” This personification is comparing human singing qualities to the sound of bomb shells. This language technique has been chosen to show that the sound of bomb shells ring out around the soldiers as they fight at war. This helps us as readers to understand that there is a constant noise to the soldiers ears as they fight. It gives of the idea that because a choir is normally loud singing and a band that the bomb shells are very loud to the soldiers and represent the only noises that they can really hear. This language technique contradicts its self as a choir is something we usually go to watch for enjoyment and pleasure where as in war it is compared to the bombs and gun shells that are constantly exploding around the soldiers which is not a good experience and is likely to make the men go deaf. It is not something the men are enjoying and more likely trying to get away from. It helps the reader to understand what it must be like to have something so loud constantly around them.
“What passing bells for these who die as cattle?” this language technique is a rhetorical question which is asking the readers a question to make them ponder the writing and how the author is feeling. This rhetorical question helps us as readers to understand how the writer feels about the way the men are treated once they die as a representation of their bravery and life is shown by the ringing of a bell which the writer believes is not enough to represent a life. The constant ringing of a bell every time a soldier dies is treating them like a number/cattle in which they all just die and then a small amount of respect is paid by a bell and then they are forgotten. This helps the reader to understand the author’s experience in war as he is upset that so many of his friends and fellow war mates bravery is not respected enough and cannot be supported by the ringing of a church bell as the cycle will continue to happen as one dies they are replaced by another soldier only to have the same fate. THis helps us to understand the events taken place as the men die a bell is rung out even if they are left where they fell unknown to their families who can’t have their bodies returned.
Contrasting vocabulary and images
a number of positive images have been included in the text these include
“Holy glimmers” This positive use of language gives of the idea of hope and support. A glimmer is a faint bright light you would see in the distance, and something holy is treasured as something that is slightly sacred. This sentence gives of a positive effect to the poem as it saying there is a slight amount of hope. It gives of the idea that there is “light at the end of the tunnel” eg we will get through this. This helps us to understand the families and men of war who are looking for the end of the war and any hope they find to make their lives better.
” What candles may be held to speed them all?” This positive use of language gives an image to us as readers. it is asking the readers what candle can be used to be show and respect the solider who has died. A candle is something we use to bring light into darkness. This symbolises that in war when a soldier has died and his funeral is being held it is a depressing and dark time for many families but can be elated by candles which bring light and warmth to death. A candle can be used as a sign of hope as it is a small glimmer of light. This gives us the idea as a reader that the candle is the only positive item in the situation such as a funeral and brings a sense of hope to a family.
These positive ideas in the text are contrasted by other negative ideas represented by language and images.
One negative idea is the sentence that is “The pallor of girls’ brows” this sentence gives of a negative image to us as readers that the females who are at home while there men are out fighting war have a pale skin tone to their faces due to grief that war has brought. Many wives, daughters and other females have lost their loves ones to the war and when they find out the man is dead they become pale in the face due to the grief and depression that it causes. This helps us to understand the negative effect and view that the women will have on the war causing them to become grief-stricken and depressed.
Another negative idea shown in the text through language is the words “sad shires” this sentence means that the towns in which the men have come from and live have become depressed and rundown due to their absence and the war. When many of the men die at war the families and friends of the soldiers become depressed this causes a ton to get a dark and glum atmosphere as the people become depressed from grief and start to lose hope for the war. Many towns in which the men came from became like this as they lose sight of any success and hope for the war to end and the battle to be won. This helps us to understand the negative attitudes of the people and atmosphere that is present from the mens home towns.
The above positive image of the candle light-giving hope and the pale grief-stricken faces of the girls gives off contrasting ideas to us as readers. The Author may have put these ideas in the text to show us that anyone who lived through the war had different experiences. Some had a more positive outlook on the war just hoping and waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel in which their countries would win the war and there men would come home compared to those who lost the men they loved causing them to become grief-stricken and depressed losing sight of any hope or success in the war. The languge used of the sad shires and holy glimmers also gives of the same positive and negative ideas the writer is trying to portray. Many who experienced war lived in a glum, sad town which started to lose and sort of drive for the war to finish. Others who experienced war kept seeing glimmers of hope that it would end and that all would be ok when it finished. The writer of the poem uses these ideas to help give the readers a clear representation of what war experiences could be like for different people with some having a more positive outlook and hope for the war to be won. This is compared to the negative experiences that some had during the war which led them to become depressed after losing loved ones and the people who lost all hope became pale looking and grief-stricken.