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2. Analysis of „The Soldier“
2.2. Syntactic analysis
2.3. Semantic analysis
2.4. Content analysis / Interpretation
3. Comparison of „The Soldier“ and „Glory of Women“
This term paper, on one hand, will analyse the war sonnet „The Soldier“ by Rupert Brooke (1914) in detail, on the other hand, it will compare the results to the analysis of „Glory of Women“ by Siegfried Sassoon (1918). The focus will be laid on the close-up study of „The Soldier“, while „Glory of Women“ will be mainly used to show differences between the authors and their poems.
The poem is written as a spensarian sonnet with 14 lines, which is separated in one octave and one sestet. The rhymescheme is abab cdcd efgefg, while the meter is a iambic pentameter. One exception is line six, where a double meter in form of a dactylic and a iambic can be found.
The sonnet can be separated in three parts. In the first line, there’s an introduction which leads the way to the situation the poem is playing in: the imaginary death of the speaker. From line three to eight, the first thesis, the worth of a life lived in England, is brought to the reader. The basic thought of the thesis is that the body of the dead englishman makes the earth of the „foreign field“ (l.2) more precious („… In that rich earth a richer dust concealed“ l.4). The sestet at the end does not contain a explanatory statement for the first thesis, but a second thesis. In lines nine to thirteen, a thought of afterlife is brought to the reader, in which the now purified („…, this heart, all evil shed away, …“, l.9) heart and mind of the dead british man can send back beautiful memories which had been given by his home England.
While taking a look on the communicative situation, there’s no way to identify a certain adressee or even a certain narrator. The lyrical „I“ speaks to an undefined reader. There is no personal pronoun or even a finite verb form, from which you could inter whether it’s meant to be singular or plural. Simply said, the „I“ is talking to the reader.
Respective location and time, „The Soldier“ is very unclear. Apart from „some corner of a foreign field“ (l.2), there’s no explicit information about location. Although England is mentioned a lot, it represents more for the feeling of home than the geographic island. It
cannot be said, where the described scene takes place, only that the information „a foreign field“ (l.2) in connection with the title „The Soldier“ and the time the sonnet is written (1914) implies one battlefield of World War I (WW1) where english soldiers fought, probably France.
According to time, there‘s quite many general information, but those are all undefined, too. Terms like „once“ (l.6) are not meant to give a certain point in time, and apart of that there are with „forever“ (l.3) and „eternal“ (l.10) two details who are used to describe eternity. It’s impossible to say, when or where the events that are described in the sonnet are taking place.
In this sonnet, a lot of stylistic devices can be found. For example, there are two personifications. The first one is found in line five („ … whom England bore, shaped, made aware gave […] her flowers to love, …“, l.5-6), where England is shown as something that lovingly cares about those who are born there. The second personification can be found in the sestet, where „this heart, all evil shed away“ (l.9) is capable to send all happy memories of England respectively given by England back to where they came from. These two personifications form the foundation of the thoughts of patriotism, which will be lighted in Chapter 2.4.
Furthermore, an alliteration can be found in line twelve („Her sights and sounds;“, l.12), and an anumeration from line five to eight („… England bore, shaped, made aware, gave …“, l.5). The fact that the sonnet is depicting the death of a soldier („If I should die …“, l.1) but is written in a very nice and peaceful way raises the question, whether the whole sonnet is an euphemism, but this question will be handled in Chapter 2.4.
The two theses mentioned in Chapter 2.2 are separated by the structure of the poem, but are linked with the motive of patriotism, under which the whole sonnet stands.
The idea that „some corner of a foreign field“ (l.2) is more precious than another („In that richer earth a richer dust concealed;“, l.4) because the body of an englishman lays there, shows clearly, that the author thinks growing up in England is a privilege.
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