Compare and Contrast the Way in Which Poets Present Ideas About Soldiers Leaving for War in Joining the Colours and The Send Off

Compare and Contrast the Way in Which Poets Present Ideas About Soldiers Leaving for War in Joining the Colours and The Send Off

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The writers of 'Joining the Colours' and 'The Send Off' both use poetry to express their feelings about soldiers leaving for war. Each have similar attitudes about the subject, but use different approaches to try and get their message across. Both question the popular concept of war, including ideas such as heroism and glory. Katherine Hinkson, the poet who wrote 'Joining the Colours', shows the scene from two different perspectives, that of the audience watching the soldiers and also her own point of view. Wilfred Owen simply shares his thoughts by describing the soldiers leaving from a station, although the effect is no less powerful. As Hinkson is a woman, she focuses more on a mother or wives point of view, whereas Owen gives more of the soldiers perspective.

The structure of each poem helps to add to the mood. In 'Joining the Colours', the rhythm is lively and regular. The rhyme scheme is also very simple and consistent, following an ABAB scheme. The constant rhythm and regularity of the verses gives the effect of soldiers marching. This is ironic, as although the scene is a jolly one, the rhythm contrasts with the poets feelings of sadness and despair. The rhyme scheme in 'The Send Off' is also very regular, although the lines vary in length and the verses are split into two and three lines. Owen also uses enjambment, which makes the poem feel disjointed and irregular. This shows that although the process of sending the soldiers off is very organized, the underlying feelings of the men are that of uncertainty and false courage. Both poems use short lines at the end of each stanza. This brings attention to these lines, and they are often the lines intended to be thought provoking. Phrases such as 'Into the dark' and 'As ...

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...s how quiet and secretive the atmosphere is. Rhetorical questions such as 'Shall they return to beating of great bells in wild train-loads?', encourage the reader to reflect on the point the poet is trying to make. Owen answers this with 'A few, a few, too few for drums and yells', emphasizing how few soldiers will return home safely, too little to be worth celebrating.

In conclusion, both poets share a similar view about men leaving for war. They question the glory associated with leaving and fighting, and Hinkson successfully portrays the contrasting attitudes towards it. Whereas Joining the Colours is driven by the emotional aspect, The Send Off is unusual because of its lack of emotional language, however it still successfully creates a sombre mood. In my opinion I prefer The Send Off, as the serious tone better gets across the message and feeling of the poem.

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