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This analysis will focus on the poem ‘Who’s for the Game’ by Jessie Pope. It will begin by looking at the cultural and historical influences then moving onto explicit and implicit meanings. It will go on to discuss how structure, form and language affect the meaning before conclusion.

Jessie Pope was an English poem who was born in March 1868 in Leicester. She was studied in girl’s college at North London school. She started writing poetry in early 19 centuries. She wrote poetry for nearly 20 years and contributed to 170 poems in different magazines. She is well known for her war poetries. She is also famous for being criticised by different war poets such as Wilford Owen.

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Basically, the poem was written exactly in the time of “world war one “. The explicit meaning and also the purpose of writing this poem was to encourage young men to fight for their country and it was a propaganda, which can be seen in the first two line of the poem. The implicit meaning is you will be covered in glory if you do not leave your country alone, however if you do not want to go, you are a such a coward. The poem has an “ABAB” regular structure with some rhetorical questions such as: line 2,3,4,8 and 5,6,7,8 and 10. In lines 4 and 8, she assimilated those who do not go to war as passive by mentioning “sit tight” and “seat in the stand”. Pope tried to compare the war to a game and sports and attracts young working class as her target audience.

Then, Pope wanted to make the readers feel war is not a bad or scary event, it is therefore, “just a game” and it is great and all men should really go to war for their country. However, as she had not ever been fighting in the war, therefore, she only assumed that war is fun and is like a great game, while it was the worst thing can ever happen to anybody. This is why she was criticised by “Wilford Owen” directly.In first three opening lines of the poem, she wanted to mentally makes reader believe that war is enjoyable. Pope also wanted to arousal nationalism and patriotism by saying that going war is like “giving your country a hand”. It has lots of imagery by repeating the word “game”.

The language is persuasive and also quite positive and simple, without long words therefore, young men with poor education could read it and it was published on daily mail. There are some beautiful ways of using personification and simile such as the word “picnic” or even when she assimilated country to a woman and using “she” or “her neck” in last two lines. Then, in line eleven, she trivialised as it compared to a game where the worst you can get is “crutch” which is better to stay at home just like “audience of a big game and act like cowards.In conclusion, the impact of the poem is in the sporty imagery and positive simple language that appeals to the pride of poor educated young men and makes them want to stand up for their country.


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