Professor D. Vipond
December 2, 2014
“Glory of Women”: The Estrangement of the Sexes in the Great War
The role of women has been illustrated in many various ways in World War I literature. Women are viewed as young nurses saving soldiers lives, underpaid factory workers, despaired mothers and sweethearts in different popular works. Composed in 1918 during the Great War, Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “Glory of Women” denounces English women of romanticizing in the death and battle of soldiers abroad and attaining vicarious gratification from the war. Many scholars argue that this poem the first in anti-women literature since it discusses a war torn soldier’s resentment of the men’s role in war being death and horrific battle while women would stay in their home country and play pretend that everything was normal and the same. Very few women were informed of the suffering and hardship that all men faced through the war effort. So it was at this point in history that men who had fought in the war and women who had a murky perception of a war’s impact on its veterans could not relate to each other as they had done before. “Glory of Women” make an ample usage of irony throughout its composition and structure to portray Sassoon’s view of how British women acted, regarded, and served through the wartime effort.
Sassoon’s use of generous use of irony can be seen first in the structural components of the poem itself. Assembled in fourteen lines with ten syllables in each line, it is obvious that “Glory of Women” is a sonnet. The choice in its structure is in itself ironic since sonnets are typically ascribed to feelings of pleasure and love and “Glory of Women” attributes none of its emotions to these ideas. Instead, Sa...
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...fy those who hold some responsibility for the war.
In Sassoon 's view, this is the glory of women. Even in its title the characterizations of these women are distant from evoking any sense of pride or honor. Nearly all depictions of war and women in this poem use irony. Sassoon uses the common literary devices to create an notworthy and almost anti-women portrayal. "Glory of Women" gives a critical and unflattering, although uncommonly empowering, depiction of working British woman during this time of hardship. This double role may have caused grief in Sassoon 's eyes, but women’s role in wartime aided the British troops to winning the war.
Campbell, Patrick. Siegfried Sassoon: A Study of the War Poetry. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 1999. Print.
Kanaya, Tomoe. Sassoon 's Use of Irony in "Glory of Women" Haverford University, 29 Sept. 1997. Web. Nov. 2014.
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