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The Poppies in Flanders Fields

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John McCrae was a surgeon for years in the South African War, but he never got used to the screams of pain and the brutality of the war. This brought McCrae to write the poem, “In Flanders Fields.” It is a poem about soldiers who died in combat, and Flanders Fields is a graveyard. The poem is from the view of the dead soldiers. It has a very emotional and dramatic tone that is supported by the rhyme scheme and the word choice. The tone of the poem “In Flanders Fields” is peaceful, sad, depressing, morbid, and dramatic.

The tone of peaceful can best be seen in the first stanza. The rhyming also helps the peaceful tone. Lines one and two are written, “In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ between the crosses, row on row.” The first line is an opening. The line introduces Flanders Fields and the poppies, which are a symbol in the poem that is continued at the end of the poem. It starts the poem off with a peaceful, relaxed tone. The next line shows how many deaths there are. This is shown by the words “row on row,” which are talking about the rows of graves. The rhyming adds to the effect, giving it a dramatic, emotional sense. The last line, “Scarce amid the guns below,” show how guns can be heard. This unsettles the image a bit, and makes the idea of the poem from the beginning a bit different because it shows how it is not completely calm. However, the main tone of the stanza is peaceful.

The tone of the second stanza is much more morbid and dramatic. The first to lines, “We are the dead. Short days ago/ We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,” are extremely morbid. The rhyming, again, adds to the effect. The lines are morbid because it is remembering when the soldiers who are dead once lived, and how quickly they die. The next line also says, “loved and were loved,” which adds to the morbid, gloomy effect even more, because it gives the thought that they are leaving friends and family behind. The word choice in these lines helps support the morbid tone. The words “felt dawn” (7), “saw sunset glow” (7) and “were loved” show good word choice to support the morbid and dramatic tone. The rest of the stanza, “and now we lie/ in Flanders fields,” gives a dramatic ending to the stanza about how the soldiers are dead and that their lives over.

The final stanza has a more bitter tone then the other stanzas. It is also dramatic similar to the second stanza. The bitter tone can be seen in line four, “If ye break faith with us who die.” This line shows the thoughts of John McCrae through his poetry. The line talks about “breaking faith”(13) which is where you can see the bitter, disappointed tone. The word choice helps to convey the tone because “breaking faith,” is associated with being disappointed. This can also be seen in the last lines, lines five and six, “We shall not sleep, though poppies grow/ In Flanders fields.” These final lines show how war changes a soldier forever. Specifically, you can see this in the first part of stanza three line five, “we shall not sleep.” This points to the idea that a soldier cannot be at rest after the experience of war. In the second part of line five the poem returns back to the poppies, an important symbol in the poem. The final line of the poem gives an ending to the poem because it ends the rhyme scheme and brings the ideas back to Flanders Fields.

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae has a tone that is peaceful but quickly turns to a morbid, sad, dramatic tone. The first stanza has a peaceful tone, the second a morbid and dramatic tone, and the last a bitter one. The poem as a whole shares a depressing yet calm tone that really describes the poem and help convey the message. There are a few different aspects to “In Flanders Fields” that help to communicate the tone. One of these aspects is that the poem is written in the all of the dead soldiers point of view. This characteristic helps set the tone for the entire poem. Having it from this view gives the poem an even more dramatic sense because they explain how they are gone, but how a short while ago they “loved and were loved” and they “felt dawn, saw sunset glow.” This makes the poem more emotional because it gives the idea that their lives are over and that the war is at fault. Also, the rhyme scheme helps communicate the tone. The rhyme scheme adds a dramatic, emotional, and a smooth vibe to the poem. It also helps support the morbid tone in stanza two by making it seem more emotional. This rhyming helps the poem flow and helps show the tone. Lastly, the word choice helps support the tone. The word choice is associated with feelings that trigger an emotional response to the poem, therefore are an important aspect of it. In conclusion, the poem “in Flanders Fields,” by John McCrae has a peaceful yet morbid and dramatic tone that is shown through the point of view of it, the rhyme scheme, and word choice.

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SUPERMANDwightHoward said...
May 22, 2010 at 12:17 am
Good job, alone I probably would have described the poem completely incorrectly, you were able to break it down so well. Good job.
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