Suicide in the Trenches Analysis

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Suicide in the Trenches – an analysis

What is the meaning of war? What is war like? How do soldiers feel in a war? Glorious? Depressed? This poem accurately shows the harsh but sadly true reality of war - death, suicide and depression. Indeed, as quoted by Sir Williams Henry - “Nobody in his right mind would enjoy war”.
The point of view is third person. This is effective in showing one case of suicide, in third person observation, representing the depression and desire to quickly die in everyone else. Life is really worse than death - and this is shown through the eye-catching title “Suicide in the Trenches”. The word “trenches” further emphasized that not only is this depression possessed by one young soldier boy, but also by many
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In the last stanza, the word “kindling” is being used to describe the “eye(s)” of the “smug-faced crowd”. One must notice that this line is only devoted to facial description, and the “kindling” seems to be also a superficial countenance feature only. However, Siegfried tries to show with a sarcastic tone that they think that war is a glorious thing, they feel proud of these children, and seem to understand and appreciate what they are doing. But in reality, they can never imagine what these children are going through, and in reality, they don’t care or feel appreciative of what the children did. Therefore, the word kindling reveals the hypocrisy behind people who support war.
In my personal opinion, the last stanza is the strongest and most impactful stanza. While the previous two stanza show the transformation of a single boy when he enters war, the last stanza directly attacks people who support war itself, at the thought of its glory and honor, but not give a thought about the “pawns” dying and suffering in war. “Sneak home and pray you’ll never know” shows that while the hypocrites support war, under the glorious facade, they are not willing or are too afraid to think of the consequences, sacrifice and price of this meaningless war - a big price that separates thousands of families and destroy tens of thousands of children. The poet is just trying to use an extreme and most serious example to illustrate his point.
Indeed, war is just so