Glory of women

Essay by ce33eeUniversity, Bachelor'sC, January 2009

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Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘Glory of Women’ is a poem depicting the roles which women played during World War I. The poem is made up of a series of sarcastic statements about women. Sassoon attempts to use these statements to convey the cruel and ironic side of the war that women do not tend to see.

‘Glory of Women’ is a war-time lyric, constructed of 14 lines, with a varied rhyme scheme of ABABABAB CDECDE making it a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet. It is divided into two sections, the octave which consists of the first eight lines, and the sestet – the final six lines. It is written in iambic pentameter, which helps clarify the meaning of the poem as you read it.

The title of the poem itself is ambiguous, posing the question whether women’s roles during war are glorious as the soldiers on the battlefield. A number of techniques were used in this poem to communicate Sassoon’s idea of emotional truth about the war.

Sassoon speaks directly to the readers by writing in second person ‘You’, an attempt to involve the readers and bring attention to those he directed this poem at – women. He also uses assonance which creates a euphonious effect when being read.

The poem begins with a praising tone, with sarcasm and bitterness scattered throughout the rest of its content. ‘You love us when we're heroes, home on leave, Or wounded in a mentionable place.’ depicts women’s ignorance in regards to war, believing soldiers to be ‘heroes’ only when they are wounded in a mentionable place.

The Great War offered many job opportunities for women that had long been denied them. ‘You make us shells.’ portray the many women who were recruited into munitions factories during the war. This line is ironic in a sense that...