Study notes on the Anti-War, Post-1900 poem; "Spring Offensive"

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Spring Offensive

Spring Offensive is a poem about a group of soldiers getting ready to attack. Normally we associate spring with new life growth and happiness. In this case, the soldiers can only expect their death. The soldiers are resting and nature seems to be giving them some energy.

"The summer oozed into their veins, like an injected drug for their bodies pains."

However, as they rest, they are still aware that they soon will have to fight again. Wilfred Owen uses alliteration to show how the men dread the next attack.

"Sharp on their souls hung the imminent ridge of grass."

"Fearfully flashed the skies mysterious glass."

Nature seems to be on their side, in not wanting them to attack.

"When even the little brambles would not yield, but clutched and clung to them like sorrowing arms."

The men attacked as the sun shines on them and it seems sad that the men should have to dies on such a lovely day.

The men go over the hill into a hail of bullets. Wilfred Owen describes it as a surf of bullets and this gives us the image of waves of men falling, dead before they even hit the ground.

"Some say God caught them even before they fell."

In the last verse, Owen uses a metaphor to compare the battlefield to hell. This is to point out the intensity of the fighting.

"The few who rushed in the body to enter hell, and there out-fending all its fiends and flames."

Here he uses alliteration. The men are so distraught that they cannot talk about the battle or their dead comrades.

"Why speak not they of comrades that went under?"

"Ghastly suit of grey."

"Voices of play and pleasure."

This alliteration gives the poem its rhythm. In the 2nd...