Stanza 1: His wild heart beats with painful sobs, His strin'd hands clench an ice-cold rifle, His aching jaws grip a hot parch'd tongue, His wide eyes search unconsciously.
Stanza 2: He cannot shriek. Bloody saliva Dribbles down his shapeless jacket.
Stanza 3: I saw him stab And stab again A well-killed Boche. This is the happy warrior, This is he...
The poem ‘the happy warrior’ by Herbert read is about a man in the First World War. The mood of this poem like most poems about war is a sad one.
It is dramatic monologue from the point of view of another soldier who is watching what is happening.
The message this poem is trying to get across is it is telling of how horrible war is and how bad this man feels.
Stanza 1: From this stanza we can guess this man is almost delirious with stress and fear and the elements such as the ice cold rifle. Also he is dehydrated and not thinking straight.
Stanza 2: He cannot shriek because he does not know how to outlet his feelings from what he is going through and shapeless jacket means it is in tatters and he is bleeding from his mouth.
Stanza 2 continued: Herbert read uses similes and personification to make the man’s trauma seem worse and get a better response from the reader/audience.
Stanza 3: When it says he stabs a well killed boche it means that he is stabbing a man who is already dead and this man is anything but happy.
Stanza 3 continued: A ‘boche’ is the derogative term for a German meaning this takes place in the First World War or Second World War.
Stanza 3 coninued: And the poem cuts short at the end meaning that the person watching the “happy warrior” has stopped watching or he does not want to keep telling of what is happening.
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