“Men marched asleep”, gives the reader the image of men struggling while walking within a troop due to being overtired and exhausted by the war. This line also may suggest the lack of motivation the soldiers all have to keep going, fighting and killing to win the war. This image portrays how the soldiers have lost sight of the war and the possibility of winning it to protect their home land and this is what makes them march without energy or hope.
“Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots of gas-shells dropping softly behind us”, The image presented shows soldiers who are immensely fatigued of the duration of time the war has gone for who are only just coping and getting by alive. I imagine soldiers walking amongst destroyed grounds with gas bombs slowly dropping between the troops. However the sounds aren’t heard by the exasperated soldiers, because they are oblivious to the inhumane activities of war which are now normalities to these men. They are to busy concentrating on every step to be conscious of what is going on in their surrounding environment.
“He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning”, from this line I imagine Wilfreds friend being affected by the mustard gas, his lungs scrambling for air while he struggles to breathe. The word drowning used makes me imagine the gas drowning his lungs and eventually drowning his body to the ground in pain. This sight would be horrible for Wilfred to experience because he is in a position where he cannot help his friend because the gas has already reached his lungs. Wilfred can do nothing but watch his friend suffer.
“As under a green sea I saw him drowning”, I can see Wilfred scrabble through “the green sea” which is described to be the colour of the air once the mustard gas was exposed to the men. I can imagine him fighting his was through the green air to see his friend slowly dropping to the ground trying to find air. From this image I can suggest Wilfred panicking to get his friend out of the gas to the safe haven of fresh air.
“All” adds meaning to the text in the lines “All went lame…” and “In all my dreams…”. This word suggests that what happened in the war sent out a ripple effect on everyone. All includes ALL the people that were affected by the consequences of world war one which included the soldier, soldiers army, family and friends of family. All represents the amount of people who hurt due to the sad outcomes and experiences of the war.
A technique that was used in the text was symbolism in the line “innocent tongues”. By using this technique it portrayed the idea that these soldiers technically weren’t innocent because of the people they killed, however innocence could be defined differently during war times because for a soldier going to war it was known as the right thing to do and the only way for their family to be safe. This also ties in with the “Old Lie”, that it is “sweet and fitting to die for ones country” which has been told to them since they were young innocent children, yet their innocence has been taken away from them due to the enforcement of fighting and the reality of what a soldier had to do during the war to survive. By using symbolism in the text this allows the reader to understand the idea that is associated with the symbol which in this case is the tongue which is a personal aspect being related to innocence. The tongue is a powerful thing to be related to because the tongue has the opportunity to communicate the “Old Lie” and once this message is out in can be passed along.
Another technique used was a simile in the line “like old beggars”. This technique showed the characteristics of an old beggar and compared them to the soldiers. Some characteristics of an “old beggar” include a hunched over, older person who is extremely tired and desperate, almost helpless for themselves. Comparing these qualities to soldiers suggests the soldiers are hunched and tired, possibly injured permanently and struggling to get by. They are growing old part of the war and they are tired and very desperate for the war to come to a long due end. Another characteristic that is shared is the idea of being helpless, which is shown in a soldier because war was compulsory if fit, also because when a soldier was hurt by the opposition this put them in a situation where they were helpless to survive without someones assistance.
Hyperbole was used in the line, “men marched asleep”. This was to emphasise the extent of how fatigued the soldiers were due to the long period of time they spent part of the war. This gives the image of how difficult the situation was for the soldiers and the effect it had on them. It might make the reader feel sorry for the soldiers because of what they had to deal with and how hard it was.