Suicide in the Trenches Analysis Essay

1105 Words Oct 11th, 2012 5 Pages
Suicide in the Trenches – an analysis

What is the meaning of war? What is war like? How do soldiers feel in a war? Glorious? Depressed? This poem accurately shows the harsh but sadly true reality of war - death, suicide and depression. Indeed, as quoted by Sir Williams Henry - “Nobody in his right mind would enjoy war”.
The point of view is third person. This is effective in showing one case of suicide, in third person observation, representing the depression and desire to quickly die in everyone else. Life is really worse than death - and this is shown through the eye-catching title “Suicide in the Trenches”. The word “trenches” further emphasized that not only is this depression possessed by one young soldier boy, but also by many
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The repetition of the letter ‘s’ produces a harsh hissing sound, and this contributes to the bitter tone throughout the poem. Also, it puts emphasis on the phrase “slept soundly”. As we all know, people who can sleep soundly are those who have no worries and nagging troubles before going to bed. This highlights how the boy was so innocent, without any worries at all, at the start of his experience in war. This is also brought out in “whistling”, an action done only when one is happy and carefree.
The trenches symbolize the rotting function of war in the case of the poem. Throughout the year till winter, the trenches had apparently transformed a carefree, innocent and happy boy into a depressed, boy who “put a bullet through his brain”. The alliteration of the letter ‘b’ here also further creates a harsh, brute and bitter sound that adds on to the bitter mood, especially at the climax of the story told - the suicide. The clever rhyme of “brain” with “again” at line 8 tries to strike a connection that although a young innocent boy was dragged into war and fought violently for his country and himself, in the end, when he is being pushed to his limit, still “nobody spoke of him again”. This shows how cruel and selfish war is. It forces you to help - at such a young age - but yet does not remember or appreciate what you have done and sacrificed. In this case, the boy sacrificed his childhood fun, laughter, innocence and carefree life in return for nothing at all
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