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I’m working on a humanities discussion question and need guidance to help me study. Read the WWII poem below by Keith Douglas. This is one of Douglas’s most celebrated poems. He was killed during the invasion of Normandy on June 9, 1944 at the age of 24, and he is now regarded as one of the most important British poets of the WWII era. After reading the poem, answer the following questions: –What links do you see between the WWI poems by Sassoon and Owen that we read earlier this semester and the language and depiction of war created in Douglas’s WWII poem? How might Douglas have been influenced by those poets who came before him? –Choose at least 1-2 lines that stand out to you as particularly vivid. Give the full quote and include your analysis of the significance of those lines. Three weeks gone and the combatants gone returning over the nightmare ground we found the place again, and found the soldier sprawling in the sun. The frowning barrel of his gun overshadowing. As we came on that day, he hit my tank with one like the entry of a demon. Look. Here in the gunpit spoil the dishonoured picture of his girl who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht. in a copybook gothic script. We see him almost with content, abased, and seeming to have paid and mocked at by his own equipment that’s hard and good when he’s decayed. But she would weep to see today how on his skin the swart flies move; the dust upon the paper eye and the burst stomach like a cave. For here the lover and killer are mingled who had one body and one heart. And death who had the soldier singled has done the lover mortal hurt. Reply: Hi Everyone, Keith Douglas’s Vergissmeinnicht is comparable to Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘They’ and Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est when it comes to recalling the soldiers’ experiences in war. While each of the three poems concentrates on a different aspect, all three of them reveal the horrors of going to war by sharing the experiences from the soldier’s perspective. Despite that Sassoon’s ‘They’ portrayed a dismissive bishop in a position of power, the poem still conveyed a powerful implication of war being terrible when the boys who served reported their traumatizing severe injuries and how not one of them served without experiencing a negative change to themselves. Owen’s Dulce Et Decorum Est shares the horrifying experience of a soldier going through a gas attack and seeing others die, thus criticizing the lie of dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country). Douglas’s Vergissmeinnicht recalls the shocking revisit by combatants who were nearly killed at this “nightmare ground” location three weeks earlier. After the combatants returned, the decaying soldier who had attacked them three weeks earlier was discovered with a picture of his girlfriend. Douglas’s poem still resembles the tragedy of war, but in a different light compared to Sassoon and Owen by portraying the loss of an enemy soldier. Despite that the deceased soldier was an enemy, being discovered with the picture of his girlfriend was still a severe loss (resembling the tragedy of war) and I found that the last two lines of the poem were a vivid implication of that, “and death who had the soldier singled has done the lover mortal hurt.” Even though Douglas’s poem reveals the tragedy of war differently from Sassoon’s and Owen’s, the horrific portrayal of the deceased enemy soldier with a picture of his girlfriend along with the extra context supplementing it (the last twelve lines) still implies that war is terrible. Since Douglas’s underlying implication is much like that of Sassoon’s and Owen’s, I think that conveying this message is where Douglas may have been influenced by WWI poets such as Sassoon and Owen.
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