War Poetry Comparison

Exploring the differences in the presentation of war between:
‘In Flanders Field’ by John McCrae and ‘Who’s for the Game?’ by Jessie Pope

Throughout the duration of the First World War, a great deal of poetry was written to reflect the time. Some poems delivered messages of pro-war persuasion, whilst others tried to expose the bleaker realities of what war was really like.
Jessie Pope was an English writer and journalist who is now best known for her patriotic poetry during the First World War. She wrote in a jingoistic style which revealed a ‘gung ho’ attitude to a war that, due to her gender, she could scarcely have participated in or had any realistic picture of.
‘Who’s for the Game?’ is propaganda in the form of verse; it takes a subtly accusatory tone, denying and completely trivialising the horrors of the war experience. ‘Who knows it won’t be a picnic – not much – yet eagerly shoulders a gun’. Out of context, the poem appears as a sales pitch but, however insensitive it may seem today, her attitude was not uncommon in the early 1900’s. Pope uses many technical devices in order to manipulate the reader into fulfilling the poem’s aim – to volunteer for duty. ‘Who’ll grip and tackle the job unafraid? … And who thinks he’d rather sit tight? … Than lie low and be out of the fun?’; the rhetorical questions are targeted at young men who would be eligible to sign up and fight. The accusatory tone taken in various lines could have been used to invoke guilt in young men who felt unwilling to sign up for the war. In addition, she also appeals to the reader’s patriotism and gallantry by personifying Britain in the female gender, ‘and she’s looking and calling for you’; juxtaposing the two contrasting attitudes of the man who would rather ‘sit tight ‘as opposed to the man who ‘would much rather come back with a crutch than lie low and be out of the fun’ makes young men think about the impression they are creating by not recruiting for the war. Pope likens...