Red Brooke Annotated

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RUPERT BROOKE * Young and handsome man from a highly privileged background who wrote a number of idealized and extremely popular sonnets about war. * Went to a public school and then to university at Cambridge * He had a great talent for sport, theatre and literature, and was considered by his peers to be a leading light of his generation, destined for great things. * Brooke joined the army on the outbreak of war, but never actually saw action— he died in April 1915, developing sepsis on a journey across the Mediterranean towards Gallipoli in Southern Turkey. 101 – PEACE What is it about? * This sonnet celebrates what Brooke feels is his generation’s great fortune to be born to fight in the First World War. He argues that it is a joy…show more content…
As writing a sonnet, composing a rondeau is demanding exercise for a poet. Analysis: * In Flanders Fields: features the alliteration that helps structure this poem throughout. * “…the poppies grow”: poppies were a symbol for death in war before World War One, but it was McCrae’s poem that helped to popularize the poppy as a sign of remembrance for the Great War. Poppies have been associated with the battlefield since at least the Napoleonic wars, when poppies would thrive and grow on the fields freshly manured by blood. Poppies were also associated with sleep (opium being a poppy derivate) and McCrae, being a doctor, would have been conscious of this: the idea of sleeping under the poppies is revived in the last lines. * “We are the dead.”: the poem turns, surprisingly, to the dead, who are given voice by the poet. This is a powerful and emotive turn, a direct address of the living by the fallen. * “In the sky, the larks”: these birds, traditional poetic symbols of natural beauty and freedom, contrast strongly with the world below. As often, nature provides an idealized backdrop to the war that provides a contrast with man’s immoral

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