Saturday, 19 January 2013

Bayonet Charge

Bayonet Charge by Ted Hughes

     Bayonet charge explores war through one soldier although this poemm is not in the first person. In fact it is in 3rd person which makes this poem more cinematic. The structure of this poem is irregular and has no rhyme. This makes the poem more narrative.

     The first stanza describes the situation that the soldiers are in. The poem starts describing a "raw" soldier which suggests he is new as his uniform is described as "raw-seamed hot khaki". This shows how inexperienced and vulnerable some of the soldiers sent to war were. The inexperience of the coldiers is also highlighted through thhe use of "stumbling". On line 5 the use of a present participle, "smacking", shows that the soldier is caught up in the war. Then there is the use of personification through "belly out of the air" which shows that nothing is safe because even the air is being attacked. the next line states "numb as a smashed arm" but this could be either the rifle or the soldier. It is not clear which makes this ambivalent because there is two contradictory ideas.

    Moving on to the next stanza which shows the bewilderment and reflection of the soldier. in the first line we see that the soldier is just one of many as "he" suggests this poem is not about anyone specific but actually all the soldiers. There is then the use of several harsh c sounds-"cold clockwork"- this makes it seem as if there is no care for the soldiers. A rhetorical question regarding his fate and how the soldier ended up there - " was he the hand pointing that second?". The confusion of the soldier is shown as he is described as a "man who has jumped up in the dark and runs".

     Among all the confusion the soldier is brought sharply back to the present through the killing of a "yellow hare". This comes as stanza 2 ends and the third stanzas begins as they run in to each other. The hare brings the reader back to nature which shows that the war is not just damaging humans but also the surrounding environment.

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