Girish Mahajan

Suicide in the Trenches

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Suicide in the Trenches,” by the English poet Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967), is one of the many poems Sassoon composed in response to World War I. It reflects his own notable service in that especially bloody conflict. Sassoon was a brave and gallant upper-class officer who eventually opposed the war, but he never lost his admiration for the common soldiers who had to fight it. Sassoon felt contempt for the political leaders and civilian war hawks who, safe in their power and comfort, sent young men off to die in huge battles that seemed futile and pointless. It was first published February 23, 1918 in Cambridge Magazine, then in Sassoon's collection: Counter-Attack and Other Poems. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter and consists of twelve lines in three stanzas.

The poem exemplifies the sensibility of war poets in "avoid[ing] sentimentality and self-pity while describing the realities of war". It tells of the suicide of a young man sent off to war and attacks the "'smug-faced' crowds who greet the returning soldiers". This is one of the poems referenced when Copp states, "It was with poems like these that Sassoon, more than any other trench poet writing in English, brought home to an uninformed public the true reality of the ghastly nature of the war."

References

Suicide in the Trenches Wikipedia


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