Beach Burial Analysis

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Beach Burial is an elegy by Kenneth Slessor, published in 1944 as a tribute to the soldiers who fought in World War 2. Beach Burial tells the story of the extreme loss of life and the crude, makeshift burials for soldiers. I believe the purpose of the poem was to appreciate the people who took the time to bury soldiers and put them at peace while also exploring the fruitless nature of war. The poem has a reflective, haunting tone and with the extensive use of poetic devices and language techniques it reflects on the futility of war and the severe loss of life.

Onomatopoeia, oxymorons and metaphors have been used to support the theme that war was a grim, fruitless event in which many soldiers were killed. Onomatopoeias have been used extensively to make the reader feel like they are witnessing war. In stanza 2 he says; ‘ Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire.’ Another example is; ‘The words choke as they begin.’ This use of onomatopoeia positions the reader so that they feel like they are witnessing the event happening. It makes the account of war more ‘real’ for the reader and demonstrates the anonymity of the many soldiers killed. Slessor has also used oxymorons to reiterate the extreme loss of life and the issues surrounding the burial of soldiers. The title ‘Beach Burial’ is an oxymoron since the beach is commonly associated with happiness with family and friends not death and makeshift graves. Slessors’ subdued choice of title intrigues the reader and makes them question his choice of words therefore making them want to read the poem. A final poetic device used is metaphors.
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After reading Dulce Et Decorum Est I feel respect for the people who buried the soldiers. There was so many lives lost but someone had the time to bury and put these soldiers to peace. I also feel a huge respect for the soldiers themselves and the incredible bravery and zest they showed despite the grim circumstances they
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