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Compare How ‘Who’s for the Game?’ and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ Present War

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  • Category: War

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‘Who’s for the Game?’ was written by Jessie Pope in 1915 (At the beginning of the First World War). Jessie Pope was an English poet who began writing for Punch; between 1902 and 1922 she supplied 170 poems to the magazine. She was a prolific writer of humorous verse, articles, and short stories, which were published in many newspapers including the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Evening Standard, The Queen, and the Westminster Gazette. The purpose of the poem ‘Who’s for the game?’ is to persuade men to become part of the army and fight for England. The main message in this poem is if you join the army then you will feel a true champion and it will be glorious. She describes the war as being a glorious and triumphant place and a place where you are very heroic and although it may be challenging you will have a laugh. This is an unrealistic poem of the reality of war. ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ was written in 1917 during the last stages of the war. This poem was written by Wilfred Owen, an English poet who experienced the reality of war whilst fighting on the Western front. He died in action one week before the conclusion of the war.

The purpose of this poem was to show everyone that war was nothing like what Jessie Pope had said it was. The main message in this poem is war makes you feel so tired you can hardly walk and if you happen not to be physically killed then you are mentally killed. This is a very realistic poem about how tired and frail the soldiers were and how it destroyed them. In ‘Who’s for the Game’ the main purpose of this poem is to make you join up. Firstly the title of this poem shows this; it makes the men feel as if it is a competition and they want to prove to their families that they are strong and heroic. It also suggests that it is a bit of a challenge, which makes men believe that they must join up to become victorious. The word ‘game’ shows that it is a joke and makes the male gender think that it is easy and fun. In ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ It also show that it is challenging but in a completely different way. The metaphor and alliteration ‘‘Men marched asleep’’ it implies that the war took their lives away and they had no escape. They were so weak that they did not have the strength to fight and the reality of war was too hard and challenging for them.

Although both of the poems shows that it is challenging they show it in completely different ways. ‘‘Who’s for the game?’ demonstrates the challenge as a joke. The informal language of “Come along lads” makes it seem quite childish and a joke. The word “lads” creates an image of a male get together at the pub and “Come along” makes it sound like a social event. Owen’s sense of challenge is a lot more realistic and he implies that it is a challenge which is virtually impossible to accomplish; the metaphor “Drunk with fatigue” demonstrates this. The word “drunk” is not what people would usually associate with the war. Also “fatigue” shows that they are tired and that they are innocent men. ‘Who’s for the Game?’ describes war as being heroic where as ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ shows war as a place where all is bad and death is always haunting you. In ‘Who’s for the game?’ the personification and metaphor “Your country is up to her neck in a fight and she’s looking and calling for you” shows that war makes you a hero and the fact that it is says “her neck” and “she’s looking” describes the country as feminine which makes a man think that the he will be a hero in the women’s eyes too and the women are asking him to join.

In the phrase “looking and calling for you” the word “you” suggests that the country is calling for him as an individual which makes them feel wanted. In ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ the metaphor “as under a green sea, I saw him drowning” shows a sense of panic and horror. The word “green” implies that he is quite alienated. The word “drowning” creates a disturbing image in the readers mind which expresses the reality to them. It also creates a sense of despair and claustrophobia and makes the audience obtain this feeling for themselves. In ‘Dulce et decorum est’ the structure makes the poem resemble more to an essay.

The lines are mostly longer. However Wilfred Owen includes some short sentences such as “gas! GAS! Quick boys!” which capture our attention and creates a serious atmosphere. It also has a very slow pace and therefore some words have a guttural effect “guttering, chocking, drowning” These words are spoken form the back of your throat which makes the meaning of the words apply into your voice. In ‘who’s for the game’ the stanzas are quite short unlike Wilfred Owen’s. Jessie Pope creates a more pleasant atmosphere using short sentences throughout her poem, for example “Who’ll give his country a hand” and this makes the poem more noticeable. The words are mainly one syllable long which makes it more flowing; the rhymes also contribute to the simple structure.

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