Siegfried Sassoon Suicide In The Trenches Essay

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Summary: Siegfried Sassoon's poem "Suicide in the Trenches" effectively communicates Sassoon's own hatred for war. His images of a desperate child, a desperate soldier, and the "smug-faced crowds" who too oppose war, as well as his use of contrasting tones, pathos, and a judging eye, easily enable Sassoon to emote this hatred.


Within "Suicide in the Trenches" Siegfried Sassoon evokes the image of a young man, a child, in utter despair. This child, unable to find solace in the trenches, is marked with contrasting tones in the first stanza. The development of the soldier's living conditions in the following stanza is the first direct display of Sassoon's attitude toward war. This attitude is reinforced within the third quatrain as the crowd's hypocrisy is made apparent. For Sassoon war is evil; and, by his use of contrasting tones, pathos, and a judging eye, he is easily able to emote his hatred for it.

"I knew a simple boy..." In effect, this first line is actually the second. The title prepares us for a story of grown men fighting men's wars. However, Sassoon begins with the image of a boy- a boy unprepared for the reality of war. It is important because...

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This section contains 660 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)

View a FREE sample

Siegfried Sassoon in his poem “Suicide in the trenches” is actually criticizing the loneliness, health conditions, patriotism and also the lack of resources that the soldiers faced while they are in the trenches.

The poem actually describes the grief of each and every soldier who fights for the country. Though the soldiers carry deep feeling of patriotism for their country but still they are not provided with optimum facilities during war by the state.

Referring to the image of a war field, the poem reveals the despair, the cry of a young man within whom a child resides.

Sassoon wants the readers to understand the fact that how important the soldiers are for any country. He also explains the selflessness and the love for the country of a soldier.

A soldier is also a normal individual who could have selected any other occupation instead of fighting for his country but he does so just because he loves his motherland more than himself and his family and is selflessly keeping the people of a nation safe. If today we go to sleep without any fear it is because of the soldiers who are protecting us and our nation from any external dangers.

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The title suggests the suicide of someone in a trench because he seeks solace and is desperate and unhappy of the existing conditions of life. “Crumps and lies” were very common in the living conditions of the soldiers and the poet stresses on the fact that the government should at least improve the conditions of the soldier; the people who are most dedicated in serving the society and the nation as a whole.

The government should provide the best living conditions possible for the army. Sassoon is using judging eye, contrasting tone and pathos in the poem because he is strictly against the notion of war. He feels that love and harmony should prevail in all the nations. Just because of the hatred of a few people, the innocent families of the soldiers suffer.

The poet is using literature to portray his hatred for war and war like conditions. On top of that he is very angry with the fact that soldiers are not given what is minimum required; proper living conditions.

Sassoon also points out sharp difference between apparent patriotism and people’s hypocrisy. People sing patriotic songs and express their patriotic feeling, but when it comes to serving the nation they take a step backwards.

The people should learn from the contribution of the soldiers that even if they cannot consider their nation as being more important than themselves at least they should contribute as much as they can in the development of the nation. “Suicide in the trenches” is one of the best patriotic poems written by far which can instil the significance of patriotism among the readers.

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