The Soldier vs Does It Matter

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Brooke's 'The Soldier' and Sassoon's 'Does it Matter' are vastly different from each other. First of all, they are written in different contexts and the messages are completely opposite. The former was written in 1914 when all young men in England were encouraged to join the army and it was considered an honour to die fighting for the country. Therefore, Brooke's poem shows an obvious patriotic attitude. ‘The Soldier’ was written when the war only started and people tended to believe that that 'the war's going to be over just this Christmas', so the tone of the poem is very optimistic. Some men who had been restless before the war believed that fighting for their motherland and for justice can enable them to spiritually stand up again – 'all evil shed away', as the poem suggests, 'in the hearts at peace.' 'Does it Matter' was written in 1916 as people began to see the horror of war. They started to realize that the war was not a knightly adventure they’d expected. Soldiers frequently got injured and lots of them died in battles or of illness in the deplorable conditions of the army. The poem is indignantly ironic about the war and emphasizes the bitter aftermath. 'The Soldier' focuses on the glory of sacrifice for one’s country, not mentioning the process of sacrifice, i.e. being injured and dying. Brooke writes about the dead soldier instead of one that has survived. According to the first four lines, dying can even be marvellous and sweet: the soldier has died fighting for England, his body rests in peace in the foreign land and becomes a part of it, as if turning the part of foreign land English with 'richer' English dust (the word 'richer' also shows patriotism). 'Does it Matter', however, frankly and plainly tells the consequence of sacrifice in war: 'losing your legs', 'losing your sight' and suffering trauma, the bitter realities that were avoided

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