Attack- Siegfried Sassoon

One of many of the poems set in the CCEA specification, and part of the war section. This post shows a concise analysis of the poem and its themes.

Attack by Siegfried Sassoon

Sassoon’s ‘Attack’ depicts the horror faced by troops on the WW1 Battlefield. It paints an abysmal picture of what war was like for those on the front line by incorporating many techniques. Sassoon uses his own personal experience of being on the frontline to give a sense of realism when exploring the horrors of the incessant battle.

Sassoon uses an impersonal style of writing to give the sense of loneliness and solitude which the soldiers faced. The poem makes use of imagery to get across the futility of the War. This is obvious in many parts of the poem including- “Barrage roars and lifts” and “Bristling fire”.  The poem’s imagery sounds downtrodden and frightening adding to the feeling of hopelessness which is being conveyed throughout.

Personification is used in the poem. “Tanks creek and topple” is an example of this. The tanks are being given human like qualities and may be representing the soldier’s future. The soldiers are going over the top and being shot down by enemies. This process is shown in the above quote and it may insinuate that the soldiers are as important as tanks, therefore unimportant.

Repetition is used throughout. ‘And’ is repeated which gives the sense of the soldiers burden and the weight of fear that has been placed upon their shoulders. This is not only in a literal sense but in a mental sense also. The soldiers have been given the responsibility of beating their enemy for their own country and the pressure to do so is mentally stressing.

The use of third person throughout the speech gives a very impersonal and poignant view on the battle. This is continued throughout until the very end when a personal plea is given. This new narrative sounds as if all soldiers are wishing it and thinking it, therefore adds another arousing stir to poem.

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