”In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae
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The poem, In Flanders Field by John McCrae, explains the emotions of the soldiers who fought in World War 1. McCrae demonstrates this with the words he uses to set the changing tone of this poem. The poem switches from pride to depressing and then to a warning which shows how quickly emotions can change in the course of war. In addition to the tone of the poem the theme is also thought provoking.
In the first paragraph the narrator speaks with pride for not only the people who died in battle but also for the people at home who cheered the soldiers on. Poppies are used as symbols for the deceased soldiers and to make people remember that they died for our freedom, ” In Flanders Field the poppies blow/Between the crosses row on row”(11.1-2). John McCrae then compares civilians with larks, showing their pride for their men in battle and that even though their cheers aren’t heard by the soldiers, “The larks, still bravely singing, fly/Scarce heard amid the guns below”(ll.4-5).
In the second paragraph, the tone then switches into a depressing mode, that discusses the dead people from war. The narrator is humanizing the lost soldiers. He is trying to make the reader know and feel what it was like for all the civilians who lost a brother, dad, or son in war. John McCrae tells how the warriors had a good life and now they are dead, “We are the dead short days ago/We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow”(ll.6-7).
Then, in the third and last stanza, the speaker switches into a manipulating warning and threatening tone. He tells the reader to take their place and to keep faith in case of a future war. The speaker is trying to tell the reader about how important it was for soldiers to go to war and how important it is for people to take the soldiers places, to keep faith and to fight for the people around them, ” Take up our quarrel with the foe:/To you from failing hands we throw/The torch be yours to hold it high”(lll.10-11-12). John McCrae then warns the readers that if they do not take the soldiers places or fail to remember them, that the soldiers’ souls will be tormented.
I believe that the theme of this poem is to never give up fighting for what you believe in and, if you have to, make sure someone will take your place if you die. The theme is also making the reader aware of all that the soldiers in World War 1 went through in order to keep our freedom. This is what I think made the poem so famous; it not only makes the reader remember the dead but also think about the future and, if needed, fight for it.
In Flanders Fields, by John McCrae, is a very emotional poem. McCrae brings these emotions to the surface by using various tones throughout the poem. As well, he creates a theme of fighting for what you believe in by, not only using words for description, but also by using words to invoke certain emotions.