Grenfell's View on War Essay

Submitted By Comley96
Words: 732
Pages: 3

Grenfell’s View of War:
"I adore war. It's like a big picnic...I have never been more well or happy."
How far can you see this view expressed in the poems studied so far?
The statement made by Grenfell in 1914 is a typical expression of war from those in power. It creates a positive and patriotic image of war, portraying it in a manner that suggests it is deemed as a sport by the ruling aristocracy. Statements of this variety were often used as a propaganda and therefore, as a result of the heartening image created, would encourage men to enlist. It could also be said that the statement is the naive viewpoint of a young soldier in view of the fact that Grenfell was only 26 at the time it was made. This is further emphasized when he compares war to a “picnic”, which has connotations of youth and innocence. Supplementary to that, I believe Grenfell could be attempting to justify to himself the importance of the war. The fact that he is both “well and happy” implies that he is putting on a front. Grenfell’s “Into Battle”, as you would expect, demonstrates a similar attitude of approval towards the to war. The poem was written in praise of battle and the soldier suggesting that war has a certain mystique, with man having a natural urge to fight. Grenfell makes a perverse declaration that war is life through the line he who dies fighting has increase” where he deals with the fulfillment of a man’s life, proposing that he who dies in battle has lived life to its full potential. Likewise, Sorley’s “All The Hills And Vales Along” expresses a comparable view. Jesus died and Barabbas...This died that went his way”. Here the reference to this particular biblical story is Sorley’s way of communicating how the greater man will lay down his life for King and Country. Barabbas (a common thief) in this case represents the typical soldier and therefore by comparing the death of Jesus to that of a soldier, the significance of death is expressed. Contradicting this view however is the idea that Sorley is attempting to justify death, in which case it would appear that he perceives war in a negative light. As a result, this statement can also be said to go against Grenfell’s patriotic view. During the second stanza of “Into Battle” we see the soldier depicted as an idealized warrior. This section focusses on the “fighting man” and his qualities which are taken from the personified nature. The theme of nature as a whole is relevant to Grenfell’s comparison of war to a “picnic” due to the imagery of the “sun”, “wind” and ‘trees”. The fact that these characteristics are being “taken”, almost as if they are absorbed or inherited, suggests connotations of purity which are also highlighted through “I have never been…