Does It Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon Essay

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Does It Matter? by Siegfried Sassoon "Does It Matter" is an angry, heavily ironic war poem written in 1917 by the famous World War I poet Siegfried Sassoon. On first read, it appears that the poet is addressing an injured soldier who has returned from the trenches, asking this man whether or not it is important that he is missing limbs and sight, instead highlighting the virtues of the world and offering these as a remedy for his pains. The poem is written in a nursery-rhyme-like structure, where there is an obvious rhyming pattern and distinctive rhythm, and where many lines even have an equal number of syllables. For such a complicated subject matter, the poem is also rather brief - very…show more content…
Sassoon continues to mask the graphic reality of war's aftermath by employing a euphemism in this first line - 'losing'. Clearly, if a soldier were to lose a limb in the First World War trenches (and such instances were not uncommon), it would be a bloody affair - either blown off by a shell, or sawed of in the chaos of the operating rooms amidst a tempest of pain. For Sassoon to use the word 'losing', it becomes instantly clear he is being ironic - the man was, after all, an officer in the front lines who knew what it was for a man to lose a limb. The implication of the grotesque is far more powerful than a graphic description of it here. Notice also he chooses to use the word 'your', hereby inviting the reader to become the afflicted, to place themselves in the position of the victim. We are led to believe that people are by default sympathetic in the second line. Once again, this is a purposefully naïve statement with heavily ironic undertones - the line is repeated in the second stanza as if to remind us of man's natural hostility. Sassoon says that 'people will always be kind', but we know that the facts say otherwise. When veterans returned from the trenches, they were ignored and even persecuted back home - the public simply did not care to acknowledge that such atrocities existed
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