"Base Details" by Siegfried Sassoon

7:35 PM

            In spite of the fact that I am such an avid reader, I am not very fond of poetry. I would much rather find myself lost in the pages of a heavy tome than confounded within the lines of poems. For as long as I can remember, analyzing (and simply understanding poetry) has been a weakness of mine. Today, however, I am going to be taking on “Base Details” by Siegfried Sassoon.
            As I found myself reading through the poem, the message I believed Sassoon was trying to convey was that there was a stark difference between soldiers and Majors, yet creating a satiric tone while doing so.  He gives the reader the impression that soldiers are forced to do the fighting, while the Majors are given the luxury of safety. This overall meaning was illustrated through Sassoon’s use of poetic devices, the most prominent being imagery. The first example was given as the poem reads, “I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,/ And speed glum heroes up the line to death” (2-3). Sassoon utilizes vivid diction as a portrayal of two things: the treatment of soldiers, and how they feel about it. We now see that the Majors are aiding the soldiers in their demise as they force them to the line of battle, or “death” as Sassoon writes, however, we also see that they are unhappy about it. As Sassoon refers to the soldiers as “glum heroes,” we learn of the disparity behind their heroic action.
            This use of imagery is continued throughout “Base Details” and Sassoon sets the tone with his diction, but the end of the poem best exemplifies this point. The poem states, “And when the war is done and youth stone dead, / I’d toddle safely home and die – in bed” (9-10).  These two lines are the epitome of everything Sassoon meant the poem to be; as the war comes to a close, the soldiers who were willing to give their all will be gone, while those who were watching from the sidelines will be able to return home. He uses imagery such as “stone dead” and “toddle safely home” to place emphasis on this point – the Majors will be able to stroll back unscathed while the glum heroes will be the ones left behind, stone dead.
            Upon completing this poem, I felt slightly differently about analyzing and understanding poetry. Whether it was Sassoon’s style or my fascination with the era of the First World War, something drew me into this poem. The way the imagery intertwined with the purpose of the poem worked well and created a critical tone that made the poem enjoyable, yet significant and important. The satirical style of the poem was consistently evident and Sassoon’s imagery highlighted it well.

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3 comments

  1. First I want to start off by saying that I like how you gave a little introduction of your relation with poetry and how you feel about it. I was able to connect with what you were saying which is good as a blogger, because that will make your viewers want to continue reading. In regards to answering to the prompt I believe you did so very well. You answered all parts of the question, provided textual evidence as well as evidence. But what I enjoyed the most about your blog is you presented the main idea of the blog post throughout. The prompt was to pick a poetic device used by Siegfried Sassoon and show how the use of this device reveals his attitude. In every paragraph you related you points back to this point. The textual evidence that you provided was efficient and helped me understand the points that you were making. You showed the reader rather than just making a statement and leaving it at that. In addition to this you also provided explanations that supported the prompt as well as the point that you were making. The conclusion to your blog post was a good wrap up, because you connected what you said in the beginning to the end. The reader can see that even though you are normally iffy on poetry you actually ended up enjoying this which could also motivate them to try things that they normally do not do.

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  2. I just want to say that I really like how you gave an introduction to this post, because it felt very personal and honest and I felt like I could connect. Also since it was honest, it makes you a reliable poster, and I like that. About analyzing the poem, I think you did a very nice job. You provided us with answering all parts of the question, including the tone of the poem and the device that conveyed it. I like how you used imagery that convey’s the main idea of the poem, which you said was satirizing the difference between Majors and Soldiers. In my blog post, I said the overall melancholic tone is provided through the use of euphemisms. The speaker puts the audience into the scene, where if they were in the military and was standing among Majors and running up to the line of death, but did it in a way that was not extremely vulgar nor uncomfortable. Both of our responses could go well together, because there are many different interpretations of poems. Overall it was a great blog post and I really like the introduction into what you were trying to say.

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  3. I like the way you started off with telling us how you honestly feel about poetry i feel like it helped me connect right off the back. I also like how u included a photograph of him, you used online sources to enhance your blog and take it to the next level. on the note of analyzing the poem's true meaning i believe you did a perfect job by answering how Sassoon used the poetic device imagery to convey the true meaning of the poem. Your conclusion to your blog post was a good closer, because you connected what you said in the beginning to the end which made it easy to keep track of what you were trying to stress throughout this blog post. The textual evidence that you used also was efficient and helped me to understand the claims you were trying to make. This had to be my favorite line of the analysis because of bluntly honest you was “I am not very fond of poetry. I would much rather find myself lost in the pages of a heavy tome than confounded within the lines of poems”.

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