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fallen and the send off.
'For the fallen' and 'The Send-off' are poems written demonstrating
attitudes towards war. Whilst banyan conveys an idealised, romantic
picture of war that depicts the soldiers as heroic and courageous,
Owens attitudes towards war are more pessimistic in nature. Owen uses
appearance versus reality to show the corruption and misery of war.
Binyan and Owen convey their attitudes through the language, structure
and poetic devices they employ
The attitudes to war in 'for the fallen' are patriotic and
romanticised. The opening lines, 'with proud thanksgiving,' suggest
grandeur, prestige and honour. Binyan conveys the ideas that fighting
for your country, and serving in the war is honourable. To emphasise
the honour of fighting in the war banyan employs a metaphorical
representation of England as the capital mother. 'a mother for her
children,' through personifying England as a mother it is almost like
England has nurtured and shaped her children which are symbolic of the
soldier which depicts the view that it was the soldiers duty to fight
for their country. The repetition of the words 'for her,' evokes guilt
in the readers as banyan illustrates the attitude at the time being
that England has done so much for the soldiers that it was expected of
them to give back to their country.
Contrasting to the patriotic and idealised image of war and serving
your country the representation that Owen conveys of war, is eerie and
daunting,' the darkening lanes.' The imagery of the 'darkening lane'
could reflect the lives of the solders sent to war, it suggests that
their death were almost inevitable and they were bound to death before
they wee even sent off. The use of the word darkening eliminates any
hope the readers may have and illustrates Owens attitude that they're
no hope in fighting and without hope there was no purpose or point in
fighting. Owen also expresses certain vulnerability in the soldiers as
they are sent into a world which they know nothing about.
Similarly Binyan demonstrates the same naivety and innocence of the
soldiers that served in the war. 'They went with songs to the battle,'
suggests that the soldiers were unprepared and unaware of the harsh
realities of war, which is reflected in the behaviour. Binyan
demonstrates that the soldiers entered the battle field with
aspirations, the fact that they were ready to fight for their country
'against the odds uncounted,' and went almost willingly 'with songs,'
demonstrates honour. Binyan follows this with, 'they were young,'
which emphasises their naivety and innocence; the soldiers were
vulnerable but remained 'true of eye, steady and aflow,' which
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Owens representation of the soldiers, 'faces grimly gay,' is less
romanticised than banyans. The soldier's faces are symbolic of the
misery and the torment they were to endure. The tone of the poem
whereby the soldiers are referred to as 'they,' is impersonal. The use
of the word 'they' reflects the numbers that were recruited and sent
to war. Owen also emphasises the mass death that occurred through the
contrast with 'they' at the begging of the poem and 'a few' at the end
of the poem. The impersonal attitude employed I the poem reflects
Owens attitude that thousands of soldiers died in the war foe no
reason; there was no recognition in their death, their death become
almost insignificant and purposeless.
This contrasts to Binyans attitudes where the deaths of the soldiers
are heavily romanticised. The idea that, 'they grow not old,' suggests
that the soldiers are preserved for ever. 'Age shall not weary them,'
depict the soldiers as immortal and almost angelic in representation.
Binyan depicts the attitude that the soldiers live on in the memory of
those alive. This is emphasised in the closing lines of the poem
through the repetition of 'to the end, to the end they remain,'
suggesting that the for generations to come the soldiers live through
memory. The repetition of to the end forces the readers to remember
the soldiers thus emphasising the fact that there existence is
This romantic and idealised depiction sharply contrast to those of
corruption that Owen explores. The ideas of 'wrongs hushed up,'
emphasise the fact that despite knowing the war was wrong and
thousands were being sent to their deaths, the truth was covered up.
Owen is perhaps referring to the way in which propaganda, idealised
images of war and women giving 'flowers,' were techniques employed
for recruitment. The soldiers were blinded into going to war by
recruitment and army officers confabulating heroic images of war, by
using patriotism and ideas of grandeur and honour to force the
soldiers into war. This contrast of appearance versus reality reflects
the corruption of war. The idea of silence reinforces the attitude
that the soldiers had no choice but to fight in the war and evokes
sympathy in the readers.
Binyans attitudes towards war in 'for the fallen,' exemplify the idea
that soldiers were chivalrous and knightly. In fighting in the war the
soldiers gained heroism and courage. This contrasts to the loss in the
poem that is emphasised in 'mingle not with their comrades again. Sit
no more at familiar tables.' The idea of camaraderie demonstrates
unity and war strips this from the soldiers. There is almost a sense
of desertion, emptiness and loneliness expressed by Binyan, which
perhaps demonstrates the conflicting attitudes and confusion of the
soldiers. It was honourable to die for their country yet war imposed
isolation and misery. It is almost as if the soldiers are searching
for a purpose. However the fact that the soldiers live on as 'stars,'
in 'hopes profound,' and 'our desires,' dives their deaths
significance and honour. Binyan in this way conveys that although war
is not honourable the deaths of the thousands of men who died to save
their country are.
Contrasting to this Owens attitude seems to illustrate the idea that
there was no purpose in fighting and there was no point in dying.
Owens attitude to war is of complete destruction, 'a few, a few , too
few for drums and yells,' suggests that even those who did manage to
survive came back to 'drums and yells,' Owen emphasises that that's
what they fought and suffered for.. Drums and yells seem insignificant
in comparison to the ordeals of the soldiers and contrasts to the idea
of grandeur and prestige associated with fighting in the war. This
contrast reflects the appearance of war that was created to allure
soldiers into fighting and the harsh realities of what war actually
is. This further reinforces Owens attitude that there is not point in
The structure of the poem 'for the fallen,' is regular and ordered
with a definite rhyming structure. This regularity and the way the
stanza lengths don't change almost reflects the never ending memory of
the soldiers which won change. Each stanza almost becomes a tribute to
each fallen soldier. In contrast the structure of the send -off is
irregular and there is no apparent rhyming structure which reflects
the idea of corruption and cover-up.
Binyan illustrates attitudes of war being dutiful, and it being
honourable to die in service. Although banyan portrays wear as being
destructive, the soldiers remain romanticised and ideal. Owen
counteracts this by representing war is a total picture of misery and
destruction, the central attitude Owen depicts regarding war is, what
is the point?