Summary Of A Dead Boche By Robert Graves

1805 Words8 Pages
According to Omar N. Bradley, “ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war that we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living.” This statement is self-explanatory; the nature of war is reckless. Yes, when experiencing war, some soldiers may come across pleasant sounds that remind them of beautiful moments. Nevertheless, is war really worth those mental images when instead they can relive those memories? Roughly ten million soldiers lost their lives in World War I, along with seven million civilians; also, many soldiers experienced shell shock, which is a psychological disturbance caused by war. As a result of the extreme and horrific experiences that many were put through, it inspired Wilfred…show more content…
Graves starts with a rather depressing mood and this changes to a horrific atmosphere. This must be a horrific sight because by looking at the last few lines, Graves describes in depth of a dead person: “Sat a dead Boche; he scowled and stunk / With clothes and face a sodden green, / Big-bellied, spectacled, crop-haired, / Dribbling black blood from nose and beard” (9-12). There are a lot of imagery in the last few lines; “dribbling black blood from nose and beard” show that it is possible to see the bloody black liquid dripping over the “dead Boche’s” face, flowing down towards the ground. In addition, words like “bellied,” “scowled,” “stunk” and “sodden” also display imagery because these words allow readers to paint gruesome images of war in their head. “Bellied” illustrates someone’s face swelling and getting bigger - allows one to imagine a balloon being the size of the dead Boche’s head. “Scowled” and “stunk” illustrates an unpleasant picture of someone dying instantly; after they die, they give off bad odor and their pleasant demeanor slowly changes into a scowled or angry frown. “Sodden” displays that this man’s face is soaking and is drenched in blood. All these visuals gives readers a gloomy view on war because Graves sets the scene of a dead…show more content…
Rosenberg changes scenes in the third stanza, shifting to the passing of a flock of larks. The birds were a “strange joy” because it allowed soldiers to hear such natural and sweet sounds that went against the horrors of war. Furthermore, the words the poet uses like “hark” and “Lo” show a change in his mod because the sounds are “music”; the “upturning” of the soldier’s faces seems to represent the glad, but brief, uplifting of their spirits away from their sufferings. This is evidence of how these sounds allowed soldiers to remember their childhood enjoyments and memories of home. Rosenberg describes that flock of larks can infuse a soldier with joy and help him momentarily tap his greater humanity in contrast with the brutality of killing: “But hark! joy - joy - strange joy. / Lo! heights of night ringing with unseen larks. / Music showering our upturned list’ning faces” (7-9). Although this argument may be valid, war should be considered a crime nevertheless because horrible deaths can happen anytime. Further, the last stanza seeks to place this unexpected enjoyment of natural sounds within the context of war’s grim realities. Yes, the sounds of music may allow an individual to be happy. Nevertheless, in war, one cannot simply spend too

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