attack IWA

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  • Attack / IWA
    • Brutality of War
      • ‘roar’ onomatopoeia to emphasise guns and trench warfare. ‘masked with fear’ - men. Apostrophe ‘Jesus make it stop’ Desperation - doesn’t follow pattern.
        • Onomatopoeia is used to capture the deafening sound of the artillery fire as they bombard the enemy trench in preparation for the men going over the top, ‘the barrage roars’. This directly contrasts to ‘creep’ emphasising the intense violence.
          • Pity and horror is created when he uses euphemism to describe that they ‘climb to meet the bristling fire’ implying their heroic sacrifice and the terrifying ordeal. The ‘bristling fire’ is extremely threatening, sounding mean and spiteful.
            • ‘muttering faces, masked with fear,’ - This paints a very confronting picture of what it is like to be a soldier. ‘grey, muttering’ these two adjectives capture the psychological effects on the men.
              • The verb ‘flounders’ in the last line is an important verb that confirms the futility of their attack and reflects the poet’s bleak despair at the slaughter of so many men. This describes the fate of the men. It is a very pessimistic word that captures their thrashing around death.
            • Selfish, ‘don’t let anyone bomb me’ spiritually lazy ‘protect the whites’ - racist. zeugma - list of terms - materialistic focus.
              • ‘But, gracious Lord, whate'er shall be, /Don't let anyone bomb me.’ the line is metrically short. The missing word might be “please” which would be a half-rhyme with “easy”.)
                • Poet highlights the sense of racial superiority in the speaker’s attitudes, apparent in the line ‘Keep our Empire undismembered...protect the whites’. The setting for this poem was in GB during the start of WWII, the time when Germany joined forces with Italy and Japan to wage against the Allied forces of the US and GB. In order to afford protection, the speaker entered the church and she asked the Lord to use His power to protect them.
    • Attitudes to war
      • 'glow'ring' personification of sun makes us think of men reflects anger , 'furtive eyes and grappling fists' tired of war, exhaustion, watches - time passing
        • nature to describe setting contrasts with following that describe the battlefield
          • colour, sun, creates a dark sinister atmosphere, personification of sun transforms the conventional image of sunrise to make the scene more menancing
        • 'blank and busy on their wrists' captures soldiers panic and the meaninglessness of their lives, alliteration, apparent endlessness of experience
        • 'hope' personified links death of soldiers with death of hope, in soldiers' vain efforts, frantic description highlights soldiers desperation
          • 'frantic eyes and grappling fists' frantic panic of soldiers as they face death particular choice of adjectives
      • selfish attitude 'listen to a lady's cry' imperative, 'bask beneath' alliteration beauty not spirituality - war?? 'Bomb the germans' blunt vague plea, speaker has minimal understanding of war 'Shares go down'
        • inclusive pronoun, imperial pride shines through, 'keep our Empire dismembered' shows patriotism, typical pre-war British upper-class attitude, focusing on one woman's selfish and condescending manner
          • racial superiority 'protect the whites' setting in GB during start of WWII, Germany joined forces with Italy and Japan to wage against the Allied forces of the US and GB, in order to afford protection, speaker entered church asked God to protect them
            • 'undismembered' verb choice, links to soldiers, reminds us of brutality of war, emphasises speaker's complacency
              • 'gallant blacks' rhymes emphasises the hypocrisy in her personal plea to God
                • alliteration 'books and boots' 'distinction... democracy..drains' emphasises what the speaker thinks is important, what she is standing for, lists things serious and frivolous as if they were all equally important because they are to her, implication is that a lady would not have much understanding of political issues, materialism and class consciousness
            • selfish+ self-centered who cared about herself during war-time, 'Don't let anyone bomb me.' metrically short, missing word 'please' which would half-rhyme with 'easy'
    • The Speaker
      • Worry about being in war and staying alive ‘Tanks creep and topple’ equipment unreliable - clumsy. Enjambment, no punctuation, going quickly beyond men’s control.
        • ‘Tanks creep and topple forward’ - the idea of secrecy. personification, gives the tanks human-like qualities and may be representing the soldiers’ future. The soldiers are going over the top and being shot down by the enemies. ‘creep’ - Sassoon’s use of verb is interesting, the personification captures the soldiers’ tentative slowness.
          • The visual image of the men ‘clumsily bowed’ (hesitant movement showing fear) and the repetition of ‘and’ (slows pace conveying soldiers slow movements)  stresses the weight of their kit. The weight is also symbolic of their oppressive fear. ‘and’ is repeated giving the sense of the soldiers burden and the weight of fear that has been placed upon their shoulders,
            • this is not only in a literal sense but mental sense also. The soldiers have been given the responsibility of beating their enemy for their own country and the pressure to do so is mentally stressing.
      • Oblivious to everything of war. ‘Thy Mistake’ egotistical attitude, thinks God has gotten it wrong. Missing her luncheon date, causal change in tone - usually hard for people in war.
        • Imperative voice even in prayer -  reassures God that if he ends up bombing innocent German women ‘We will pardon Thy Mistake.’.  An audience reaction - ignorantly blasphemous remark would be uproarious, and, guilty, laughter,- blasphemy is a guilty pleasure. The Orthodox religion maintains that God makes no mistakes.
          • The significance of ‘major’ the speaker thinks - pure christian, -exposes hypocrisy in the church. - people only pray when they want something. poet was a religious man but he wanted to expose the flaws in the church e.g. social problems, due to lack of real spirituality, - satire rather than a sermon, readers can see their own hypocrisy.
            • The speaker’s unchristian spitefulness is evident in the pride with which she offers to send ‘white feathers to cowards’, her half-hearted Christianity is apparent when she promises to attend ‘Evening Service / Whensoever I have the time’ and even more prominently in the rhymed couplet that ends the poem, ‘And now dear Lord, I cannot wait / Because I have a luncheon date.’
    • Setting
      • desperate and narrowing representation 'scarred slope' alliteration create a very dark picture 'emerges massed' makes land seem threatening and hostile
      • imagery - paint a very dark picture 'smouldering' - present continuous conveys ongoing threat, 'scarred slope' personification evokes a physical visualisation sense of human danger, sibilance to describe ridge capturing the savage destruction of the landscape
      • imagery stresses the dereliction and destruction of the scene by focusing on the smoke, sibilance to create the hissing sounds of its burning embers and emphasise the harshness of the scene
        • 'shroud' metaphorically association with death, bodies would be wrapped in a shroud as part of a burial ritual thereby Sassoon creates a more macabre and gloomy scene
      • ridge is personified as if it has a living presence 'emerges' heavy syllable 'dun' creates an ominous tone
      • church, safe compared to war, alliteration of 'b' highlights beauty and ironic safety as speaker thinks she is in danger praying for her life
        • latin 'vox humana swells' congregation is singing an uplifting hymn, conceited character using latin to impress others
        • 'beauteous fields of Eden' imagery is suggestive of a number os hymns and the prelapsarian image of Eden suggests temporary innocence of mankind inside Abbey, irony that mankind may be far from innocent when basking in an aura of conventional religious piety


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