“The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke: Poem Analysis

Pages: 2
Words: 575

The poem The Soldier was written by Rupert Brooke in 1914 to communicate his thoughts and emotions at the beginning of the First World War. In this idealistic poem, the poet paints a picture of patriotism for England as the country that nurtured him. It is a sonnet that contemplates life and proclaims accepting death as an act of honor for one’s country. Poems were used commonly during the First World War for several reasons.

They were an appropriate medium to express thoughts and feelings about this historical event. Poetry was also popular during WW1 because there was a crackdown on prose writers to stifle journalism. Poems were an effective way to record history without getting arrested. This particular poem communicates a soldier’s devotion towards his homeland, England, and the hope that heaven will resemble this country.

This Petrarchan sonnet portrays the poet’s reverence for his home country, England, which is first introduced in the third line. The line “a dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware” informs the audience that Brooke was born and raised there (Brooke 5).

This is personification because the subject is an inanimate object that has been described using human attributes. This shows that the poet did not think of it only as a country but also as a mother or parent. Aside from personification, he also expresses his patriotism through an imagery of its natural beauty. He talks about the flowers, cool air, rivers, and even the sunshine at home. These lines paint a mental image of a peaceful and beautiful England. The last line of the poem tells the reader that Brooke hopes that even in heaven, he will experience this country’s bliss. This shows that he has everlasting nationalism that will transcend this lifetime.

The poem also contains the theme of life and death. People knew that the war was bound to leave behind casualties. As it was starting, Brooke took this time to reflect on life and the possibility of death. The tile of the poem indicates that he knew that soldiers were the most vulnerable. The rest of the poem narrates what people who are alive should think of those who die protecting the nation. The poet also highlighted the dire consequences that would occur after the grim period (Templeton 47).

For instance, it might be impossible to retrieve the dead soldiers’ bodies from the battlefield and bury them at home. However, he found solace that their bodies would enrich the foreign grounds in which they would be buried. The poem also uses religious lenses to reflect on life and death. For instance, the phrase “a richer dust” alludes to the Biblical saying ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’ He also expresses belief in life after death- heaven, where he hopes to continue as an Englishman. Although the poet does not necessarily want to die, he is willing to do so for his country.

The Soldier is a reflection of life and death during a difficult time in history. It encouraged the soldiers to fight, knowing that their legacy will remain if they died in battle. It is an idealistic poem probably because the people had not yet witnessed the full extent of the war since it was only beginning. However, Brooke knew that many people, mostly soldiers, would lose their lives during combat. He recognized this as an act of utmost patriotism and expressed the belief that such fighters would live on in heaven.

Works Cited

Brooke, Rupert. “1914 V: The Soldier.” The Poems of Rupert Brooke. Courier Dover Publications, 2020.

Templeton, Alice. “What’s the Use? Writing Poetry in Wartime.” College Literature, vol. 34, no. 4, 2007, pp. 43–62. JSTOR. Web.