Essay about Critical Appreciation of Herbert Read's My Company

Essay about Critical Appreciation of Herbert Read's My Company

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Critical Appreciation of Herbert Read's My Company

The poem "My Company" by Herbert Read communicates a perception of war
which was characteristic of Great War Literature as a whole. It is
evident that Herbert Read used poetry as a way of expressing and
communicating his ideas about the war. As Rivers, a psychologist in
the novel "Regeneration" notes: "horror and fear were the inevitable
reponses to the trauma of war." The poet uses lexical choice, form,
imagery, repetition, rhythm and tone in order to convey his
perceptions of war and in doing so maintains a distinct individuality.

Through lines one to thirty-four of the poem, the poet conveys the
idea of unity between the men through the use of lexical choice. The
idea that the men "became….a body and a soul" working together as one.
This image is further enhanced by the idea that the men "fought
together" and were united in the sense of being "compact" and
"unanimous". There is a sense of pride and thankfulness from the poet
in the oneness of his men that is depicted through the words, "I have
felt the pride of leadership." Furthermore the image of pride is
further enhanced through the words:

"one day I stood eminent

and I saw you gather'd round me


and about you a radiance that seemed to beat

with variant glow and to give

grace to our unity."

The use of epithets such as "radiance" and "glow" suggest
understanding and a platonic love between the men and their company
commander. This idea is prevalent in "Birdsong" by Sebastian Faulks as
Stephen "was appalled at the idea of being separated from his men. He
despised the war but he wanted t...

... middle of paper ...

...ics of Great War Literature. Vera
Brittain's thoughts further highlight the emptiness and the futility
of war that has been depicted through many poets and writers alike:
"It is impossible to look with any satisfaction on the thought of
25,000 Germans being left to mutilation and decay; the destruction of
men as though beasts whether they be English, German or anything else
seems a crime against the whole of civilisation." It is perhaps
Herbert Read's final image that has the greatest significance for
today's generation and this is expressed through the words, "Your
entire soul is standing up in my body." Today one would think of
Laurence Binyon and the words he wrote in 1914, "We will remember
them." Herbert Read's intention would appear to be to live his mens'
lives through his own and to never let them be forgotten.

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