I chose a learning experience done individually a couple of weeks ago, in which we had to write an essay about one of the poems we had analysed in class. Before doing it, we put in groups and work on the analysis of different poems, for which we prepared a presentation including all of it. Together with my group, we study “When you are old”, written by William Butler. Once all the groups have finished, we started working towards the writing of the essay. To do so, we could choose any poem except for the one we have worked on and so I decided to write about “ I Hear an Army” by J.Joyce. Following the essay question, I had to comment how the author describes war and battle in his poem. During the writing process, I made use of the different literary devices present in the text, such as imagery, as a source of analysis.
Under my personal reflection, I strongly believe this activity was very useful and significant. This is because not only it allowed us to study the poem in depth, but it also contributed to the development of our writing skills in an interesting way. In my opinion, writing an essay is an effective method of acknowledging the information given, as it gives us the space to develop our personal views on certain subject. In this case, it was through the writing of this essay that I could learn significant aspects of the poem, such as its powerful images that eventually contributed to an atmosphere of war and battle. Furthermore, having to analysis the poem in depth ,so that I could write about it later, helped me putting into the author’s shoes and therefore, I managed to empathize with his feelings. This way, I could feel the nightmare of war as if it was an experience of my own.
I can connect this activity with real life, as I believe it gave me a new perspective about war. This is because the author achieved to explore the horrors of war and with the writing of the essay, I was able to dismantle them in detail. This is useful for life, considering that soldier’s harsh reality during war is something that actually happened, for which it is important to approach to, instead of denying it. In fact, those men were the ones who fought for their respective country and went through the living hell of war. It is our duty to honour and remember them. However, we cannot do that if we don’t take the time to understand their situation. Furthermore, as regards the essay, I believe it is useful because it helps us developing our writing skills, which are extremely needed for both college and any job we may have. In other words, it leads to an appropriate preparation of ourselves so that we can do well in the laboural area in the near future.
This is the presentation I prepared on “When you are old”;
And this is the essay based on the poem “I Hear an Army” ;
The poem ‘I Hear an Army’ , written during modernism and by James Joyce, deals with both the horrors and nightmares of war. The author achieved to do this by portraying images in which an army is approaching the author and therefore, threatening him. This way, two powerful themes are deeply explored throughout the poem; war and battle.
To begin with, through the use of literary devices such as imagery, the author manages to describe war and battle in his poem. In fact, it is thanks to the images that we can understand the situation and the voice’s feelings during war. The choice of using both visual and auditory images is a clever one, as it contributes to a vivid representation of war. As the voice comments; “they cry unto the night their battle-name”. Through this auditory image, readers are able to vividly put on the soldier’s shoes and perceive their situation during battle; they screamed fearless to scare and intimidate the enemy. Furthermore, the use of metaphors also make the suffering from war quite evident. This is clearly put by the narrator as follows; “the thunder of horses plunging”, which introduces the theme of war into the poem. The voice probably feels threatened by the noise of the army he well know it’s approaching. And together with the army, the endargened presence of horses ready to combat.
In addition to this, the author continues to describe war and battle in his poem through the use of literary devices, which helps portraying a threatening army that is approaching to him. Once more, the poem introduces powerful images suggestive of fear derived from the dark atmosphere of war. Within the soldier’s feelings, we can identify a significant one; loneliness and therefore, the consequences of losing everyone, considering that being at war meant people dying constantly. This is put by the narrator as follows; “ … my love, why have you left me alone?”. As the text says, the voice seems to be addressing war, asking it why it had to be so hard. Moreover, the voice could hear “an army charging upon the land”. It is this visual and auditory image the one that allows readers to perceive the theme of war and battle in the poem, once again. This is because it clearly suggests the idea of an army preparing to fight by loading those deadly weapons.
All in all, James Joyce closely manages to describe war and battle in his poem. He does this by presenting powerful literary devices that contributes to create the miserable atmosphere caused by the war. Furthermore, the introduction of several images also help to the development of the poem.