Channel Firing By Thomas Hardy Analysis

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During the months leading up to the outbreak of World War I in August 1914 the military forces of Great Britain were preparing themselves for hostilities. This included practice firing by British battleships in the English Channel, the noise of which would have carried far inland and been especially noticeable by residents of coastal counties such as Dorset, where Portland Harbour, a major naval base at the time, is situated. Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) was born and spent most of his life in Dorset and was living at Max Gate, Dorchester, in April 1914 when he wrote "Channel Firing". The poem was a late candidate for his 1914 collection "Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries". It is one of the poems from this collection that do not deal with his angst following the death of his wife Emma in 1912, but it is from the period when he was probably at his height as a poet and was writing some of his best poems. The poem comprises nine four-line stanzas with an ABAB rhyme scheme, which suggests something fairly conventional. However, this belies the subject matter, which is far from conventional! In his complaint about the ceaseless noise of the guns being fired at night, Hardy writes his poem from the viewpoint of a corpse buried in the churchyard of a parish church somewhere near the coast. The poem is addressed by one of …show more content…

He explains about the gunnery practice and then makes the point that this is to do with men, who are "mad as hatters" preparing to make "red war yet redder". It is worth bearing in mind that Hardy wrote this poem before the fighting began, and that most people at the time thought that the war, widely expected but not yet declared, would be over very quickly. Hardy would therefore seem to be very prescient by using this expression, as the war was to last for four years and cost millions of

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