Literary Analysis Of The Rear-Guard, By Siegfried Sassoon

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Siegfried Sassoon takes on a narrative style in his poem “The Rear-Guard”, and combines it with complex syntax to portray the speaker’s horrific experiences throughout war. The poem exposes a soldier’s experience of finding the violent battlefield above through the death-filled tunnels. Pairing the speaker’s point of view with specific word choice clearly demonstrates the excruciating mental and physical pain being a soldier inflicts, and leaves a glooming effect on the reader. Sassoon fills the poem with explicit imagery to reveal the pacifist theme he is trying to convey. Sassoon wants the audience to realize that war and violence is not the solution, and he reveals this through his poetry. Sassoon’s harsh realistic descriptions of what soldiers witness start the poem with an uncomfortable feeling. The speaker, a soldier in the midst of a battle, is “groping along the tunnel, step by step” (1). When Sassoon describes the speaker as “groping” through the tunnel it…show more content…
The soldier did not realize this fellow troop had passed until he saw his eyes. The poet writes that the “. . .eyes yet wore Agony dying hard of ten days before;” (16-17). This emphasizes the grotesque reality of the poem. The poet does not hold back when describing the fallen soldier, and does this to try and reach the audience 's emotions. The soldier does not react to the death of his fellow comrade, and just walks away and continues looking for a way above ground. This asserts the underlying theme of how horrific war really is, and how it can really change a person. The fact that the dead soldier is left there for ten days, and how the other soldier did not have any reaction to seeing a dead troop addresses the message that war is mentally damaging. These soldiers have to see their friends dead on the ground, and they can not do anything about it and have to keep
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