World War 1: Harold Begbie, Fall-In
The emotions and ideas of the great world war was very different as it was seen as honourable and ‘Edenic’. It was also seen as vile and chthonic. The emotions and ideas of the people had evolved a lot throughout the war.
August 1914 World War One had began and Britain was part of it .Men were quick to fight in World War One because it bought the thrill of adventure to their lives which was socially and economically very attractive unlike their former lives which were simple and dull. An appealing factor was that entertainment, food and drink were all provided for the soldiers. Men fought for freedom and honour. They were very patriotic and would die for their country. Glory was one of the many things they fought for. However some men were emotionally blackmailed, through posters and propaganda, into joining the army. The soldiers were considered socially and politically superior because they would fight for there country.
The beginning of World War One Britain had not enforced conscription unlike most other most other European countries until 1916. The first two years of the war Britain used propaganda to emotionally blackmail the whole countries population. The government did this through various an example is a poster in which they used words like “You” a lot which are second person pronouns this made the reader feel as if it was personally to him. The government used some posters to make the men feel guilty and shameful and others to make them feel anger which made them want vengeance and pride.
Further more, propaganda was expressed through recruiting poems a famous poem written by Harold Begbie in 1914 called “Fall-In” it became so famous that it was turned into a song. The poem was sung in working men’s clubs and even in churches. The poem was also in the newspapers lots of times due to the government making them put it there since the whole poem was propaganda.
Subsequently, Harold Begbie integrated powerful emotional blackmail which challenges the male’s sense of machismo:
“But what will you lack when your mate goes by
With a girl who cuts you dead?”
Begbie really plays on men’s machismos using second person pronouns then making the reader feel as if this is his future. The future not being very good as he says that all your friends will leave you making the reader afraid of being isolated and alone so the poem uses peer pressure making the reader feel as he is the only one not in the army. The effect of peer pressure persuades the reader to join and if that’s not enough Begbie carries on to say that the reader will not be wanted by any girls. This scares the reader as it makes him feel socially rejected by all girls.
Additionally, Begbie’s poetic structure of “Fall-In” is very propagandistic as he incorporates a strong mesmerizing militaristic metre. This gives the poem a constant rhythm giving making the poem sound like a march:
“What will you lack, sonny, what will you lack,
When the girls line up the street
Shouting their love to the lads to come back”
Begbie’s add to the poem giving it a militaristic metre changes the poem completely. Giving the poem rhyme makes it very catchy and if it wasn’t for this then nobody would like it. The poems structure is very simple so rhyme is very good at making it sound good. Rhythm is a key in this poem as it is militaristic and gives it the sense of a march which suit’s the message perfectly but also a march is very memorable and forceful.
The ideas and emotions of the Great War was very ‘propagandandenised’ until Rupert Brooke wrote idealistic poetry very different from Harold Begbie. Rupert Brooke was an admiral and respected poet. He went to university at Cambridge and was part of the literary greats. Brooke died of sepsis while on his way to battle of Gallipoli. Both poets had different opinions but because they both supported the war there was no real evolution between them.
Furthermore Rupert Brooke in his poem “The Soldier” shows the positives of war like in Begbie’s poem “Fall-In” but the poems do so for different reasons. For example “Fall-In” is propaganda and “The Soldier” is about a man’s passion for patriotism
“IF I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be”
“The Soldier” is inspired by Brooke’s ‘passion’ for self-sacrifice whereas “Fall-In” is only fuelled by propaganda and emotional blackmail. Brooke uses phrases like ‘IF I should die, think only this of me’ in which he is trying to say that he doesn’t care if he dies. He writes it as if he knows he will probably die in the war and has accepted it but he thinks if he does then where he dies will turn into a little piece of England. Though both poets show different view points on patriotism there is no specific evolution.
In addition Brooke utilizes powerful language portray his idealistic view of England through imagery while Begbie, uses imagery to con the male’s machismo:
“A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by rivers, blest by the suns of home,”
Bothe Brooke and Begbie utilize the imagery in there poems to show the benefits of war. Begbie has little imagery but uses it to show what dystopia the reader life will become if he doesn’t join the war. Brooke uses pastoral imagery like ‘breathing English air’ which makes England seem like paradise and something beautiful to protect. Although England isn’t very ‘Edenic’ Brooke’s use of language makes the reader see a picturesque landscape. Brooke makes Earth seem like a motherland and female characters are usually seen by men as beautiful this adds to the reader’s picturesque image. Even though Begbie and Brooke utilize imagery for completely different reasons both there imagery is supporting war so there hasn’t been any evolution.
Moreover, both Brooke and Begbie use poetic structure to give there poem a regular metre but Brooke also uses it to convey his ideals about the nobility of patriotism:
“A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;”
Rupert Brooke writes his poem in a sonnet form which gives it a rythmic metre just as in “Fall-In” which has a very regular rhythm and rhyme giving it a materialistic metre. “Fall-In” has a very easy and simple structure that common men could understand but “The Soldier” has a very traditional sonnet form which only the higher educated men could understand. Rupert Brooke conveys his righteousness of patriotism by using a metaphor at the beginning of the sestet conveys the epiphany of the poetic voice that that dying for England is good. This powerful metaphor entices the reader to believe Brooke’s message that patriotism is noble as it makes them feel if they were to die for there country they would become ‘immortal’ never forgotten by the whole universe. Brooke conveys through his poem how much he is willing self-sacrifice for his nation. Although both poets use different poetic structure for different reasons they are both supporting war so there is no evolution.
During the Great War battles like the Somme in which thousands of soldiers died news was sent to families and survivors told the tale of these battles and its viscerally. Many soldiers wrote poems and so the evolution of the ideas and emotions started. The survivors of horrific battles like the Somme were crucial in order to change the public’s ideas and emotions of the Great War. While Rupert Brooke wrote about the nobility of war poets like Wilfred Owen wrote about the truth of war and its horrors. Wilfred Owen was a teacher and private tutor in France before he enlisted in 1915. He was very naïve and optimistic about war. Until he joined the conflict in 1916 and saw some the worst battles and his relationships with Segfred Sasson helped in his realistic and shocking poetry. Owen died in the battle of the Somme.
Consequently, Owen writes about how the sardonic attack on the lies upon which war is founded. This is completely different from Brooke ideals about war and the beauty of willing self-sacrifice:
“My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.”
Brooke wrote about how noble patriotism was and how we all should be ready to die for our country whereas Owen thinks the opposite and writes about how all propaganda poems are a lie and nothing like the real war. Owen is similar to Brooke as he also used to be positive about war. Owen writes at the end of his poem ‘The old lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.’ This shows that he was also sucked into believing how righteous and decent war through the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” written by Gerladine Glasgow who wrote a complete lie to what war was really like describing battles with swords when they were noble King Arthur. Glasgow wrote this when the war was at its worst ticking young foolish men into going to war. Owen is mainly attacking her as he takes her title and twists everything round showing how visceral war was and what a lie Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori is. The big difference in ideas between Owen and Brooke really shows that the ideas and emotions have evolved.
Subsequently both Owen and Brooke include different imagery to convey their ideas and emotions. Brooke utilises his imagery to show his idealistic view of England whereas Owen uses imagery to show the true horror of war.
“Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;”
Owen writes about how dark war was ‘Men marched asleep’ as if they were like zombies he also uses a metaphoric parallelism ‘All went lame; all blind’ to show that all these soldiers have become blind to what they are doing carrying on from how they all seem like zombies. Owen uses good imagery to show how corrupt and vile war was. Brooke uses imagery in his sonnet to show beautiful and England is and how to die for your country is so noble. Brooke portrays war in a picturesque and ‘Edenic’ image where Owen portrays war as chthonic like hell. This change between the poets shows a big evolution of their ideas and emotions.
However, Owen and Brooke both choose to write in sonnet form as the complexity of it makes it stand out. Brooke also uses it as it is traditional and English also does this Owen but uses the traditional view of a sonnet for a subversive purpose.
“The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori”
Both Owen and Brooke have a perfect rhythm scheme throughout but Owen makes his last line irregular giving it an uncomfortable gap in the rhythm. Owen does this purposely to make the reader focus their attention on the last line. Owen uses Volta very skilfully to change the actions and emotional impact on the poem. Owen uses a sonnet form for his poem as it adds substance and authority to Owens perspective on war but he also subversives the traditional use of a sonnet for his on purpose. As Owen changes the traditional view of sonnet form he shows that there has been a big evolution in ideas and emotions during the first World War.
In conclusion the evolution of emotions and ideas of the great world war was like a rollercoaster ride. In 1914 lots of propaganda was used to get men to go to war. It was done through posters and poems like “Fall-In” which all played with the male’s sense of machismo. Also in 1914 Rupert Brooke wrote “The Soldier” which was also used by the media as propaganda but one man’s love his country. Even though he went to war he didn’t actually fight as he died from lead poisoning on his way to war. In 1914 as nobody had actually been to war and come back people believed the propaganda and thought it was good and noble. Wilfred Owen also wrote a poem before going to war about how righteous it will be. 1917 people started to find out the truth about war and how all the propaganda was a lie. One of the first poems to do this was by Wilfred Owen “DULCE ET DECORUM EST” in which he writes about the truth of war and chthonic it is. During 1914 most people’s ideas of war was influenced by propaganda and emotions were good about war. In 1917 lots of poets who went to war started writing the truth of how it really is and so the people’s ideas of war was the complete opposite from 1914 and their emotions to it was hate and anger. Until 1917 people had the same emotions and ideas of war as in 1914 it was only until people were being told the truth from the men fighting did their views change.