SS_final - Mrs

By Siegfried Sassoon
Biographical Details
Siegfried Sassoon was
born in Kent, in 1886. He
studied at Clare College in
Cambridge but left
without a degree in 1907.
Until the age of 28, he
lived as a ‘country
gentleman’ playing cricket
and golf and writing
Involvement in War
• At the start of the war, Sassoon enlisted as
a cavalry trooper but was transferred to
the Royal Welch Fusiliers as an officer in
May 1915 where he met Robert Graves.
• Nicknamed ‘Mad Jack’ for his courage on
the battlefield.
• Decorated twice and awarded the Military
Cross in 1916 for helping a wounded
soldier back to the British lines under fire.
Views on War
His early war poetry held a more 19th
century romantic view of war, such as
his poem ‘Absolution.’ Robert Graves, a
more experienced front line fighter, told
Sassoon this view would soon change
(which it did).
By Siegfried Sassoon
Message / Purpose
During the war, there were numerous
strategies to lure men to volunteer for
war. Many were tempted by the glory
they would receive. They were deceived
by the lies of ending by Christmas.
Message / Purpose
In Siegfried Sassoon’s poem, Dreamers,
the main purpose/message is that war
isn’t the way that media depicts it. He
indicates that when men are in the
middle of war, they no longer think of
the glory and tremendous acts of
Message / Purpose
Instead they dream about their “firelit
homes, clean beds, and wives”. Sassoon is
suggesting that war is a horrible ordeal
with the terrible sights of bloody, torn
bodies and the sounds of constant
bombing. It is at those times that soldiers
dream about much more mundane and
normal things such as their homes.
Poem Analysis
• “Soldiers are citizens of “death's gray land” [battlefield]
"gray" - drawn out, bland, nothing, no hope/emotion
"citizens" (significant word choice) - suggests they have been
there long and become part of that world
• “Drawing no dividends (profit/payouts) from time's
tomorrows. “
- getting no hope from the prospect of tomorrow because
they could die
• “In the great hour of destiny they stand”
- fate decided soon
- like they are being controlled
- no say in their own fate
Poem Analysis
• “Soldiers are sworn (alliteration) to action, they must win”
-their only way out is a glorious death but they are expected
to fight bravely and with honour and glory
• “Soldiers are dreamers”
- as if there is no way out
- only a dream but not reality [there is also the repetition of
at the beginning of line 1, 5 and 7 with 'soldiers are' ]
• “Some flaming, fatal” (alliteration)
-emphasizes the fierceness
• “They think of firelit homes, clean beds and wives”
- contrast with first line
Poem Analysis
• In the last 6 lines there is the repetition of the word “and”,
there is also no full stop, only one at the end. It is listing emphasizing all the things that they are missing - ‘and’ shows
it is ongoing
• “spats” in the 2nd to last line means 'cloth or leather material
worn by fashionable men over the middle part of the shoe to
cover the instep and ankle'
Poem Analysis
• Also, this poem is a petrarchan sonnet - it has an octet which
opens the scene and then develops it, followed by a sestet the first 2 lines of the sestet creates images that contrasts
dramatically with those in the octet and the ending lines that
follow it and emphasizes the poor conditions that they
suffered in. There is no rhyming couplet at the end.
• The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEFEF
By Siegfried Sassoon
Message / Purpose
In this poem Sassoon conveys the horror of war. The many
language techniques used, such as imagery, convey the
awful environment of war, and how unlike it is from how
it was promised to these men back home. It shows how
war leaves man – helpless and desperate. Time becomes
their enemy and they have lost all hope. It also shows
how war causes a loss of faith, seen in the plea to religion,
and shows how much of a lie the promise of the glory of
war was, in that the propagandists at home used God to
appeal to men to fight for their country.
Message / Purpose
Within context of the poem
Sassoon wrote this poem in autumn 1917, while at
Craiglockhart Military Hospital, ‘recovering’ from shell shock
and is based on his experiences in battle the previous spring
(earlier in the year). This poem was written after his public
protests against the war (including his letter in The Times),
so at this time he would have held strong anti-war views.
This is why the poem is so clearly against war. Sassoon was
known for his belief that the war was being unnecessarily
prolonged by the authorities, which the very last line of the
poem could reference.
Poem Analysis
• It is a short poem of 13 lines and only one stanza written in
speech rhythm with some rhyme
-The detach structure of the poem represents mankind losing
direction and virtue in life in times of war
Poem Analysis
• “At dawn the ridge emerges massed and dun”
- opening lines describe the new day emerging
- creates an almost calm picture, which further emphasizes
the unexpectedness of the later attack
• The word “glowering” is used to describe the sun, suggesting
that nature itself is disapproving. “Smoldering” is also used to
describe the sun covered in infected smoke, due to human
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