Monday, June 23, 2014


Purpose: To persuade your audience that poetry holds special significance at important stages in our lives.

Text Type: Opinion piece based on poetry to be published in an Australian newspaper.

Semester Two ENG102

In order to engage your audience you may use:
·        first person and/collective pronouns
·        an informal. conversational tone
·        humour (if relevant).
·        a variety of simple and complex sentences.


Picture of author


Introduction establishing the relevance of the topic by relating it to Australia’s current involvement in the Middle East

Statement of Opinion

Point- Introduction of first poem and explanation of its relevance to the topic of the opinion piece




Explanation of techniques used to make meaning and appeal to audiences


Point- Introduction of second poem and explanation of relevance

Reference to poetic devices and quotes (evidence) to support point.

Context provided for the poem- explanation of poet’s experience of war.


Evidence from text

Use of second person to involve the audience- Call to Action

Link back to statement of opinion
Poetry gives the futility of war a different perspective

War death needs remembering to have meaning

Insert Picture here

By Sue Parkinson

On Friday, the 15th July, the nation farewelled the eighth Commando and 28th Australian soldier to fall in Afghanistan. Sergeant Todd Langley was only 35 years old and left behind a wife and four children. His death is no doubt a tragedy and for many is a reminder of the futility of fighting a war in such a remote country for a cause many now see as questionable. Yet, despite the pain and obvious suffering brought about by this death, there is another side to this sacrifice, a side highlighted by some of our greatest war poets.

In his poem “The young dead soldiers,” Archibald MacLeish reminds us that most soldiers who have died in war have been young with their futures and lives cut short by their human sacrifice. But he reiterates the need for humanity to remember this sacrifice so that it hasn’t been in vain.

“They say
We have given our lives
But until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave”

MacLeish reminds us that the people who give their lives in times of war are doing so in the hope that people like us can enjoy freedom and peace. If we do not give their sacrifice meaning and remember what they have done then there is a terrible futility to their deaths.

“They say
Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope
Or for nothing
We cannot say.
It is you who must say this”

Macleish makes his poem a very personal one by referring to the soldiers as “they” throughout the poem and he takes this one step further making it even more personal by adding the pronoun “we”. This comes together very poignantly in the final lines:

“We were young, they say.
We have died.
Remember us.”

In his patriotic war poem “The Soldier” Rupert Brookes also sees war as an ennobling experience and death just an inevitable part of that. His use of alliteration in the repetition of the “f” sound at the beginning of his sonnet draws our attention to his geography as well as his patriotism.

“If I should die, think only this of me
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England.”

Brookes was fighting in World War I where trench warfare and mustard gas eliminated even the toughest of fighters and caused untold misery, yet despite this he sees war as a sacrifice happily made if it enriches the world. He sees himself as the “richer dust” reminiscent of the phrase “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” so often spoken at gravesites.

“There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed,
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware”

He goes on to say in the final part of his sonnet that death is not an end and not something he will regret. This is because he believes that he will go to heaven, his death purifying his soul so he will have eternal life.

“And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less”

We are reminded constantly of our war dead. We have cemeteries full of head stones, large and often impressive shrines of remembrance and funeral services which bring together politicians, family and armed forces as one in grief. But it is vital that we do remember and give honour to the lives lost during times of war and not dwell on the loss alone. If we do this, then it will give meaning to our soldiers’ ultimate sacrifice and perhaps bring us, alive and enjoying our freedom, peace. Todd Langley won’t have died in vain.

Use of complex sentences used to link together dense subject matter


Negative affect
Negative judgement

Positive affect
Positive judgement

Inclusive language (involves the audience)

Reference to poetic structure, form or devices

Inclusive language (involves the audience)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please add your comment. All feedback welcome!