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Alfred Tennyson




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Andew Lloyd Tennyson

Conflict and war have and will always be a part of human behaviour. Soldiers who fight and people involved in the war have mixed emotions and opinions of it. In the first poem chosen The Charge of the Light Brigade which was written in 1861 by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson, exposes the foolish mistake made by the British military when they attacked cannons with the cavalry. The second poem chosen is Homecoming which was written by Bruce Dawe an Australian poet who fought in The Vietnam War. Homecoming is about scaring memories created during the Vietnam War.

The theme of the poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” is about war and how unbalanced the battle was because of the enemies defence technology. This poem describes how when the light brigade charges into opposition cannon fire from all directions how they are devastated.

“Cannon to the left of them”
“Cannon to the right of them”
“Cannon in front of them”

This shows how from all directions except the way they came cannons were and they must have been taken by surprise. This is the use of repetition to emphasize the differences “left” “right” “front”
Metaphors like “Jaws of Death” are used to show when the light brigade charged into the valley and how many people died there.

In the second last stanza a change is shown

“cannon to the right of them”
“cannon to the left of them”
“cannon behind them”

This shows how the light brigade was retreating from the gunfire of the cannon. By only changing one word in the entire stanza the reader can quickly notice that the light brigade is retreating from the cannon. This emphasises the fact that the light brigade is retreating.

This poem has an irregular rhyme scheme in stanza four five and six. This is used to change the tempo of the poem from slow to fast.


These are irregular rhymes because they don’t rhyme very well.

The second poem is about returning home from the Vietnam War. It uses a lot of repetition from line one to line nine. Which brings out a sing-song tone. After the 9th line the tempo becomes slower because this is when the soldiers are returning home. The repetition is used so that the words that are not repeated are emphasised to the reader. Towards the end of the poem a oxymoron is used

“they’re bringing them home, now, too late, too early”

This oxymoron puts emphasis on too “late, too early” This means that the soldiers should have been taken out of Vietnam much earlier because they should never have been put there. It also means too early since they have been injured too early in their life and the war is not yet over.

In “The Charge of the Light Brigade” many literature techniques are used such as Repetition, use of dialogue, Onomatopoeia, Metaphor.

Repetition is used in this poem to place an emphasise on the difference. Dialogue is used to show that orders come from someone in charge.

“Charge for the guns!”

This shows that it is an order most likely from someone who commands the light brigade. Onomatopoeia is used to give the reader an idea of what the battle sounds like.

“Volley’d and thunder’d!”

Many metaphors are used to give the reader an image of the battle.

“jaws of Death”

The jaws describe the mouth of the valley, Death shows how many people died.
In the poem “Homecoming” lots of repetition, listing and alliteration. From the first line to the ninth line repetition of
“they’re... them up...the”
These are not important words they just connected sentences together. The repetition is not used to create an emphasize on these words instead it is used so the words can be ignored.

The structure of the light brigade is set up in six stanzas each stanza has a different number of lines. The first three stanzas are slow and set the scene of the “Charge Of the Light Brigade” The last few before the last one are about how the light brigade are taken by surprised when they are brutally attacked by cannon fire. Then retreat from the battle. The final stanza is about how the “light brigade” should be honoured and never forgotten for what they have done.

In the second poem I have chosen “Homecoming” it is put into three parts. The first nine lines are about the way Vietnam war was fought. The second part is the rest of the poem except the last line. It talks about actually coming home and instead of being heroes nobody want to have anything to do with them. The final line reflects on the arrival of people and how the war should have never been fought.

The poems chosen both have different views on war. The first one views war as something that is acceptable and victims of war are wonderful and patriotic people. Wears in the poem “homecoming” victims of war are ignored and people don’t care about them. There is a great time difference between the two poems which creates a great contrast. The Vietnam War during the sixties brought out much protest amongst the people of America, at the time of the charge of the light brigade no one would even dare.

Akbar's Dream

I find it astonishing that this late poem, published post-humously, is nowhere to be found on the web. If someone knows where it is, I would greatly appreciate knowing. I have many of his compilations, but this one poem is lackiing, and its universal theme, I find, is akin to the needs of our times.

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