Tuesday, 4 December 2012

6. e) Unseen Poetry - Key Words and Connotations

Base Details by Siegfried Sassoon

If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath,
I'd live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You'd see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. "Poor young chap,"
I'd say--"I used to know his father well;
Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap."
And when the war is done and youth stone dead,
I'd toddle safely home and die--in bed.

In a poem, key words often carry more than one connotation [idea associated with the word]. As you read this poem, notice how the poet uses connotations for effect.
Task:
  1. Give two meanings suggested by the title, ‘Base details’.
  2. What meanings can be associated with ‘scarlet Majors’?
  3. The rhyme scheme of the poem – abab – ending with a couplet, is typical of a sonnet, yet the poem is only 12 lines long. How might the poet be deliberately using the hint [suggestion] of a sonnet that is unfulfilled to support his message.
  4. What is the implication of the opening word ‘If’?

29 comments:

  1. 6e)
    1) Base possibly meaning a military base and Details could be a command assignment.
    2)"scarlet major" Scarlet meaning red and Major being the commander in the army -the red blood on the Majors hands from knowing that they have killed all these people by sending them to the front line.

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    1. Hannnahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh4 December 2012 at 13:48

      your response to question 2 is v good . good one !

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    2. Charlotte and Nina4 December 2012 at 13:52

      yes, we agree with hannah love the comment Megan! xoxo

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  2. Base details could suggest what goes on in the army and how it really is not how it could be seen. It could also suggest the basic details like these are the facts of the war and that was how it was. Scarlet majors could be associated with the redness that your face goes when you're embarressed or angry. They could be angry or embarressed because so many people are dying and they're angry because they are dying and not focusing on the war because they're dead.The implication of the word 'if' is that he isn't actually like that but he could be like that or something. As the poem is not the typical 14 lines it suggest that the ending of the poem where it is that he dies relating to the abrupt ending of the poem.

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  3. 1)The word base implies that the poem is set in an army base. Another meaning for the word base could also mean the underlying meaning of something< showing that this poem has an underlying meaning.The word details suggests that the writer is going into detail about a specific type of person in the army. Detail could also mean details about the war, almost as if the poem is informing the reader about the war.

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    1. Excellent answer, Martin!

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    2. Yes Martin, I agree completely with you.

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  4. Hannnahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh4 December 2012 at 13:47

    1.well i dont really know . But the title " Base Details" could suggest that it is about the army - like the army base. or it could be like a base , something that holds everything?
    2."Scarlet majors " we could associate them as the army leaders . The word scarlet connotes embarrsement and maybe anger so they could be angry leaders.
    3. The poet does not complete the sonnet toa typical 14 lines which could imply that something happened suddenly to bring it to an abrupt end.
    4.The implication of the word "if" implys that it is not actually happening at the present moment and perhaps he is imagining what is happening or what he wants to happen .

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  5. The title, base details, implies the underlyin g struggles at an army base between an army commander/ general and his troops, and how an army base works. On the other hand, it could be seen as the basic details of life and death, as well as how easily life can escape from someone.
    The scarlet majors implies a type of soldier, as they are described as being at 'base', described perhaps by the colour of the uniform or maybe to represent the scarlet blood spilled in war.

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    1. 1. Base Details suggest what happends at a military base, the problems it faces and the details they share.
      2. Scarlet Majors has connotation of red, blood and death. This could infer all the danger and voilence that the Army Major has done.

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  6. 3)it is building up to have an irrupt ending of him dying and that he was proud to have fought in the war.
    4) the word 'if' is to show that they could have doubts in what they are doing including in the war and the fightng. it is repetitively used to show that they have wish they were " If I were fierce, and bald"

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  7. 2)The word scarlet suggests that the majors may be angry or embarrased.Also could suggest that they are healthy compared to the rest of the soldiers as many majors didint participate in the fighting and were fed better quality food.
    The word major sugests that the person has a high status and also means that they are important and needed to command the soldiers.

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    1. Another great reply, Martin. Well done!

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  8. 4. The implication of the word 'if' to begin the poem with suggests that it is all just make believe and it's not real. It is as if they are imagining that it is happening and it is in the future. It is what he wants to happen.

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  9. 1.Base details could mean an army,military base. It could also mean the details of the war.
    2.Scarlet Majors could mean, majors with blood on their hands or they are in danger.
    3.The poem doesn't end typically which shows that someone has died as a result of the war and it doesn't flow as nicely as it was going before.
    4. 'IF' suggests that it is a fantasy and he could it would be something he would do.

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  10. The title, Base Details, can be described as military/regimental, something to portray the armed forces.Scarlet Major has connotations of death, blood, violence and general conflict.By using the words scarlet and major next to eachother, they have been juxtaposed to show a brave and noble soldier (for instance), with scarlet word which connotes death and violence.Scarlet also indicates the blood spilled in a war or on their uniform.

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  11. 1. The title of this poem links with war and the army but could also mean the true facts of war.
    2. "Scarlett Major" could suggest the leaders of the army are dangerous as scarlett is red which could symbolise danger.

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  12. Scarlet major could be the rank and colour of the uniform, however scarlet could mean something else. The meaning could be embarrasment, or a hint for metaphoric blood on their hands

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    1. excellent comment classmate

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  13. Really really good answer michael!

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  14. Scarlet major could represent the leader of the army, who is very dangerous and bad, and scarlett representing red which tells us that is is also dangerous and scary.

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    1. good point shivani very similar to Tom's

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  15. There is heavy juxtaposition within the last sentence; being able to toddle home safetly to bed is an extreme to dying

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  16. When the poet uses the term 'base details', it could be suggesting the actual details of a military base. It could also be suggesting about the details of hell when the soldiers die. This could be because hell is meant to be down below. the opening 'If' suggests that he is not brave and that he didnt die bravely in war. He dies in his own bed silently having not served for his country. It also suggests that he feels bad about his decision.

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  17. Base Details which would imply that it was linked in with the military and the war. Scarlett Major might represent the highest of the army but yet dangerous and risktaking at the same time.

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  18. the use of "if" makes it seam like this person is daydreaming and they are wondering what would happen "if"

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