War Poetry

-Soldier, Rest!
-Dulce Et Decorum Est
-The Death Bed

Soldier, Rest! - Sir Walter Scott 
Scott paints an attractive picture of death to the weary and battered soldier. Death is presented as a restful sleep where all the stresses and strains of martial life drift off to nothingness. The main character of the poem, the soldier, obeys orders from his commander and as the title says “Soldier, rest!”, it´s an order. In this poem, death isn’t represented as being something to fear, it frees the soldier’s mind from danger and fighting.

Dulce Et Decorum Est - Wilfred Owen
The poem begins with a soldier on a battlefield where he watched a member of his crew dying and couldn´t do anything about it. Later, when he is back from the war, the speaker cannot overcome what he has been through and can´t get his dying comrade out of his head. The speaker then talks about how people should not be called for war. If they could only witness the physical agony war creates and the emotional trauma that the speaker's going through, the speaker thinks they might change their views. In the speaker's mind, there's noting glorious or honorable about death or war itself.

The Death Bed - Siegfried Sassoon
It is about a soldier in WW2 who was wounded. Sassoon explains that all soldiers suffer and struggle with physical and emotional pain, whether they die in war o go back to their homes. Veterans also experience horrible situations, even if they are alive and in their homes. Moreover, we can´t tell if the speaker is dead or alive.


Essay: Compare and contrast 2 of the poems you have worked on. Comment closely on the themes, tones and how the writers convey their message. This essay was written by Victoria Landolfo, and she shared it to me to understand the poems better and it really helped me.

   Even if the two poems, ‘Soldier, Rest!’ written by Sir Walter Scott and “The Death Bed” written by Sassoon both deal with war, they both face the fatality in a different way. On the one hand, ‘Soldier, Rest!’ tackles afterlife in a calming tone while “The Death Bed” portrays death with agony. 

   To begin with, ‘Soldier, Rest!’ main aim is to complain about war. During the whole poem, Scott criticizes everything that has to do with war, the causes, consequences, the meaning itself. He even describes, by means of the voice, how scary war is. “Days of danger, nights of waking”  Through this oxymoron, readers can understand how horrifying war actually is. However, Scott also leaves a conclusion behind his poem. Firstly, it is better to die than live after a war. Readers can understand this when the main voice talks about the nightmares war veterans can suffer. Lastly, he leaves a message according to the physical part of the war. Scott claims that it is better to die there than to fight and kill innocent soldiers. Because of this, the poem, in a reflective tone, talks about the meaninig of life and death.

   On the other hand, “The Death Bed”  is a poem about a soldier which was wounded in war. It portrays his experience about being badly hurt and coming in and out of consciousness. The soldier suffers a battle between life and death and cannot see the difference between life and death, dreams and reality, consciousness and unconsciousness. Sassoon’s aim was to prove that soldiers are hurt as much as in war eve if they do not die in the battle field. He tackles death, but not in a reflective way, but in a confusive one. He makes the readers feel disorientated about whether the main voice is dead or alive. Moreover, the tone of this poem is also full of darkness and agony, as the soldier ends up dying. The soldier ‘Faced in his drawing eyes’. 

   In conclusion, the poem ‘Soldier, Rest!’ manifests war in a dreamy way showing us how fearsome war can be while “The Death Bed” talks about war by showing how badly life can be for war veterans. Sassoon portrays this in a gloomy and tragic way.


What is war poetry?
In 1914 hundreds of young men in uniform used writing poetry as a way of expressing extreme emotions that emerged during war. Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were very important writers of those times. War poetry is not necessarily ‘anti-war’. It is, however, about the very large questions of life: identity, innocence, guilt, loyalty, courage, compassion, humanity, duty, death. Its response to these questions, and its relation of immediate personal experience to moments of national and international crisis, gives war poetry an extra-literary importance.

I can´t really say much about war because I have never been in one. I only know facts and information, I do not have a personal experience. However, I still think that a war is a horrible thing to go through, for soldiers and for civilians. Furthermore, it makes me sad to think about the soldier who give their lives for their countries and not only for them, but also for those soldiers who surivive the war but are emotionally wounded. Those people change forever and it isn´t their fault. So, I agree with what the poems Dulce Et Decorum Est and The Death Bed say, that it doesn´t matter if you live and return home, you will be wounded forever until you die.


Collage / pictures: 

Resultado de imagen para deep quotes about war veterans

Resultado de imagen para deep sad quotes about war veterans
I found this poem very moving and shocking because as the voice is facing the enemy, it says that it does not want to kill them, that they are just like him. He feels that killing them would be like killing himslef, so we understand that he is in a terrifying position. He then says that he understands why he is doing what he was doing and that it is necessary, however, he is not proud of it.  At the end, the voice says ¨I am grateful for the honor t´day, but I still need some rest, a soldiers life is an unhappy one, but they fight for the best¨, this quote amazed me because he tells us that he is grateful for the honor and for serving and helping the country, but that he is tired and sad. The soldier knows that he helped the country and defended it and it is the only thing that he is proud about, however the war affected him, even though he lived, and feels tired and depressed.

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The Destructors – Graham Greene

To start with, I´m going to analyse a quote that I found very interesting and left me with curiosity.

Quote: ¨falls on their heads like age”

Context: T. showed Blackie the special thing he found: seventy one-pound notes in Old Misery´s mattress. Blackie asked T. if he intended to share the money among the members of the gang, to which T. scornfully responded that they weren´t thieves. Instead, T. said that he and Blackie should burn the notes as a celebration. They burnt the notes one by one as gray ash falled on their heads like age. Blackie and T. left the house and raced each other home.

Analysis: The image of the ash turning the two boy´s young heads gray focuses attention on their age and on the age of Old Misery. The ash, which as a residue of fire symbolizes destruction, also shows how destruction alters the things around it and creates the world that will replace what is being destroted. That the ash is settling on the boys´ heads subtly suggests that they too will be affected in some way by their actions, whether they will eventually feel guilty for what they´ve done or experience some similar kind of loss in their old age. Moreover, the boys´carefree, immature childishness in racing home after this stunning act again highlights their youth and immaturity, and by extension how little they understand the impact of what they are doing on either Mr. Thomas or themselves.


Destruction is a form of creation
- At the end of the boys´ first day of destroying the house, their work is described as ¨they worked with the seriousness of creators – and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”
- While he is trapped in the lavatory, Mr. Thomas, who used to work supervising the building of homes, mistakes the sounds coming from his house for those produced by carpenters at work building a home. So, he confuses the noises of creation with the noises of destruction, since the sounds of destruction closely resemble the sounds of creation.  
- Moreover, the story is set on an empty parking lot created when bombs destroyed the houses that stood there before the war. By destroying the house of Mr. Thomas, the kids expand the lot where they hang out, creating a larger gathering space for public use in a space where a private residence stood before.
- Furthermore, the social environment was created through the destruction of the war.
- Destruction also gives space for creation, because it gives a new blank space where new things can grow. However, destruction becomes an art of creation only for those individuals and societies which are capable of prospering and building something new. 


Movie: Monster House
This story reminded me of a movie I used to watch when I was little, named Monster House. The movie is based on three kids that are suspicious of their neighbours house and end up entering to figure out what was happening. They ended up destroying the house which had become into a monster. What I found similar was that a group of kids planned to destroy the house and did it, just like in the story The Destructors, by Graham Greene. 

Ode on Melancholy – John Keats

The poem Ode on Melancholy by John Keats made me remember a phrase that I know and love: ¨Hacen falta días malos para darse cuanta de lo buenos que son el resto¨. This wise phrase helped me a lot so I ended up enjoying the poem. 

I made an analysis of every stanza of the poem to understan it better.

Stanza 1: Keats lists what not to do when beset by melancholy; he is speaking about the idea of melancholy and bad temperament. The negative grammar helps to reinforce the idea that melancholy is a part of life and that we cannot escape it by praying for oblivion or drinking wolf’s bane. 

Stanza 2: Keats moves on from what not to do when beset by melancholy, to what to do. He notes the idea of melancholy suddenly appearing. One can clearly draw allusions to depression because of the way that Keats describes the sudden fall of melancholy, the way that the imagery suffers for it. However, what becomes evident to the reader is the beauty of this imagery, a sort of preciousness that Keats attributed to sadness as helping him to appreciate life further. 

Stanza 3: Keats is trying to transmit the message that someone can’t completely libe without melancholy. He is able to transmit this through contradicting imagery, this can be seen with April, since this month is gloomy and rainy but still beautiful in its own way. 

My experience with melancholy 
Everyone has suffered and will suffer in the future, there’s no way to avoid this. This poem made me think about the time when I was diagnosed with depression, where all I felt was emptiness, and motivated me to compare with how I feel now. I find this poem really wise because it is true what it says for me. It’s true that everyone has bad days and that we need those bad days to really appreciate the good ones. Now I’m able to see and realize when I’m having a good time and my experience helped me to hold on to those moments and feelings.




The video gives a very interesting view on melancholy and talks about the history of it. On the minutre 2:20, the narrator talks about hoe melancholy allows us to understand more deeply other profound emotions, like beauty and joy. 


Movie: Inside Out
I think that Inside Out is a great example of how melancholly helps us. In the movie, the principal character, Riley, was really sad when she had to move to another state because of her fathers´ job, and also because she had to change to a different school and leave her friends behind. What is important is that when everything seemed to be falling apart for her, her sadness helped her talk to her parents and let it all out. After feeling sad, Riley felt better because she opened herself up to her parents and put in words what she was feeling.
That was the connection I found between Ode on Melancholly and Inside Out: her sadness and melancholly helped her overcome what she was going through and also helped her appreciate the good moments she had and will have in a future.

The following video is an extract of the movie Inside Out, where Riley returns home and talks to her mother and father about what was going on.



Home is So Sad & Rooms

We read the poems Home is So Sad by Philip Larkin and Rooms by Charlotte Mew. I found several similarities on both poems. First, they both deal with the space of a room but they do it in different ways. In Rooms, Charlotte materializes romantic relationships and separates them into rooms, reflecting about how each relationship affected her on her life. However, Philip Larkin describes empty rooms which have been abandoned and the sadness and loneliness of the home.


Home is So Sad
Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was: 
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.
The music in the piano stool. That vase


I remember rooms that have had their part
In the steady slowing down of the heart.
The room in Paris, the room at Geneva,
The little damp room with the seaweed smell,
And that ceaseless maddening sound of the tide-
Rooms were for good or for ill-things died.
But there is the room where we (two) lie dead,
Though every morning we seem to wake and might just as well seem to sleep again
As we shall somewhere in the other quieter, dustier bed
Out there in the sun-in the rain.


During Home is so Sad Larkin personifies a home after it has been abandoned by its family, he describes the loss and sadness felt by the home that refuses to accept that it is now just a building. 

The themes presented in this poem are rejection, loss, fear, expectation, disappointment, and nostalgia.

How can a home be a home when there´s no one around to make it so? This is a question I was constantly asking myself after reading this poem. A home isn´t just some bricks and walls, it is more than that. A home is supposed to be comfortable, make you feel safe and give you a sense o belonging and family. It´s a place that retains memories of the people who once occupied it; it is a physical space that is actually a carrier of human emotions. When a home is left empty, when the ¨heart¨ is removed from it, it isn´t a home anymore, it lost what made it a home. 

What does home mean to me?
I believe that mmy home is where I´m able to feel loved and safe. My house is my home because I feel extremely comfortable. However, I also believe that my family and friends are my home. This is because I feel safe with them and they protect me and contain me when I need it. So, a home isn´t just a building for me, it is more like a feeling.

When I first read this poem I quickly related it with a song I love. The songs name is ¨To Build a Home¨. The song is about a man who had planned a future with the woman he loved. The song starts off with the symbolic figure of the house, which represents the future that the couple had planned. However, the song then goes ¨Until it disappeared, from me, from you¨, which meant that the woman got ill and died. The tone of this song is melancholy and nostalgic, like the themes of the poem ¨Home is So Sad¨. In the song, the home was supposed to contain and protect all that love, but when the woman got ill the house was left empty and died; and in the poem, a home is supposed to keep safe and comfortable the people who live there, but when it was left empty it died too.

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The Lady in the Looking Glass

The Lady in the Looking Glass is a short story by Virginia Wolf, which was published in 1929. The story uses a looking glass as a metaphor for the lady.

Title: one uses a looking glass to examine yourself, not the rest. So, the story becomes about Virginia Wolf´s attempt to examine herself and her character.


  • loneliness – isolation
  • emptiness
  • individual in society
  • reality vs superficiality
  • role of women in the 19th

Point of view: third person

Plot: At the begining of the story, we belive that Isabella is a happy middle aged woman, who lives her life entertained by her many friends. However, as the story progresses it becomes clear to the reader that this isn´t true. She has no friends. All the letters Isabella recieved, which suggested she had a lot of friends, were nothing more than bills. She was extremely lonely and empty.

Setting in place: Isabella Tyson´s house and her garden

Setting in time: 1930


This story made me think a lot not only about Isabella, but also about every person in the world. I came to the conclusion that Isabella represents everyone in the world since every person shows something on the outside and thinks or is something else on the inside that nobody knows. The story ¨The Lady in the Looking-Glass¨  explores the theme of inside vs outside. This theme is crucial for the story because we can see how Isabella seems to have lots of friends and a happy life at first sight. But as the story continues we realize how lonely she really is and that those letters from her friends were just bills. I could also find a connection with my life: when I was having some rough and bad days, I tried to show that I was happy and having a good time, but deep inside I wasn´t okey and I was the only one who knew about it. I don´t think that it is possible to know someone completely. A person shows what they want to show on the outside, like Isabella showed that she wasn´t lonely. But it´s impossible to get to know completely someones inside, how they feel, what they think and their deepest thoughts.

The Lady in the Looking-Glass – activity


– Caos inside the house
– Comparison is superficial
– No one can really see her
-The house and Isabella are 1
-She was a single woman, not very good seen
– There is a personification of the furniture. The furniture know more about her than the people who went to the house and st on the sofa to have any kind of conversation.
– Narrator knew her but not so much, he cannot tell us a lot about her
– Narrator: third person limited ( he could never penetrate the character’s mind)
– In the last part the narrator changes “one” for “she”.
– At the end Isabella becomes the “narrative voice”
– Opposite coexistence
“Nothing stays the same for two seconds together” —-> state of mind, completely crazy, out of her mind
– Climatic moment: when she is in front of the mirror and she discovered herself, she realizes that she is empty (epiphanic moment)
– Resolution:
– Themes: emptiness, individual is society, reality vs superficiality, isolation, role or women in the 19th, female (self)
– Metaphor of the mirror
– Motif: a symbol that that appears all along the story —-> in the story

Answers: I worked in class with Milagros Montanelli on this activity given to us by our literature teacher, Pato.

1) Notice how the mirror in the first paragraph is set up as the frame for a kind of a portrait.
In the first paragraph the mirror is set up as the frame for a kind of a portrait that shows Isabella’s personality. Through out we can see that the protagonist is empty, she is completely isolated, the frame is hiding who she really is.

2) The unnamed narrator attempts to construct a portrait of the Isabella Tyson that consists of her outer self and her inner self. The portrait is reflected in the objects inside and outside the house as they reflect in the mirror. Describe the images reflected in the mirror.
The narrator constructs a portrait of Isabella that consists of her outer self and her inner self. The mirror reflects Isabella, her personality and transmitted emptiness. In the outside it reflects her garden with was espectacular, so beautiful that it showed grandness and splendour.

3) What kind of contrast is there between the objects inside the house and outside the house, as they are reflected in the mirror?
Objects inside the house and outside the house were the opposite. Outside the house it was all perfect, flawless and exemplary as Isabella was in the outside of herself. It gives a sense of order and perfection. Objects inside the house were the contrary of the one’s outside. Inside the house it was all a chaos, disorganization, confusion, it gave a sense of unclear things as Isabella’s thoughts. This objects with were inside reflected how Isabella was inside, her inner self. It was a chaos, it showed her state of mind, she was completely crazy, “Nothing stays the same for two seconds together”.

4) Describe how the narrator attempts to compose the portrait through the mood inside the room, through her own imagination, and through the presentation of Isabella in the mirror.
The narrator composed the mood inside the room as one in the middle of a chaos as Isabella was. Something constantly changing. Everything seems to be relay perfect but nothing is like this, it’s all upside down.

5) What are the known facts about Isabella’s outer self?
We don’t know so much about Isabella, no one really knows her and no one can see her, inside. Besides, there are some facts that we do know for example that she ives alone, that her house outside is perfect but int the inside is a chaos, and also that she doesn’t live with anyone else than herself. She gives an impression 0f having a magnificence life full of richness.

6) What material objects inside and outside the house does the narrator use to imagine Isabella’s life?
We know that Isabella is a woman that had travelled a lot over many different places of the world. “the most obscures corners of the world”, we can see that many objects from Isabella’s house were from other parts, so she has a “traveling life”. Also, the letters are a powerful object since they show her as an occupant, working, and interesting woman that cares about society and she is really involved with it. The way she dressed also showed that she cared how people saw her, she cared about appearances.

7) What are Isabella’s letters supposed to conceal, according to the narrator? What would one know if one could only read them?   According to the narrator, Isabella’s letters are supposed to have information about her that we don’t know.

8) At the end of the story, according to the narrator, is it possible to know objectively one’s inner reality?   Yes, it was possible to see Isabella’s inner reality when she got naked in front if the mirror. She took all of her superficiality off, and that was when we could really see her, and her emptiness. She was completely empty, and have been hiding it through the entire story.

9) In this story Woolf questions whether the inner self of an individual is finally knowable. What do you think is her conclusion? Provide support for your statement.   I think that the inner self of an individual is finally knowable, but it isn’t easy. In the context where the story was written, Isabella represented any woman in the 19th century, when women had no say at all. Isabella was just a product of society, and that’s why she was so empty, she had to pretend to be someone that she wasn’t. I think that this story is a criticism to society and the role of women before.

10) What do you think is the role of the mirror in the story? How has the mirror been used as a metaphor in literature?  The mirror is very important since it shows the truth. No matter how hard Isabella tried to hide her emptiness, when she looked at the mirror all of her superficiality was gone and was able to see her true inner and real identity.

11) Describe the characteristics of this story that resemble stream-of-consciousness narrative technique.   Stream of consciousness: a method of narration that describes happenings in the flow of thoughts in the minds of the characters. On the one hand, we have the narrator building up an image of Isabella while expressing her feeling towards her. On the other hand, we have the writer, Virginia Woolf, who criticized society by expressing her personal thoughts during the story.