Art, Expression, &
the Great War
Essays should be doubled
spaced, size 12 font, with one inch margins all around.
Essays must be a minimum of 1
and should be a maximum of 3
All references from the textbook
or documents must be cited parenthetically (
, pg) or (Author)
All references to the art
be cited parenthetically by an abbreviated
and artist (
All references to the
memorials must be cited parenthetically by the title (Sk
No bibliography is needed for your essays.
The required heading is only your name and a page number in the top right hand corner of each page.
In the aftermath of the Great War the world changed in extremely
mendment gave women the right to vote which changed
role of women; the “Great M
changed the lives of African
the advent of radio and the growth of Hollywood
shrank the c
ountry; and the birth of the age of the automobile made people more mobile and free. Y
ook reading will detail
and others during the 1920s and examine their effect on
society, while this week’s writing assignment will look at t
on individuals and
While the world changed around them, many individuals and cultures were trying to make sense of the pain,
suffering, death and destruction wrought by the years of war. Many
expressed themselves during
after the war through poetry, literature, art, and
, and many societies expressed
grief in small
and large memorials and
. The following
are a collection of several
, excerpts from
literature, and images of works
of art and memorials. Read the words and view the images, then
response paper based on the question
Read the following poems, look at the works of art, and examine the memorials created by American, British,
and German soldiers that fought
on the Western Front th
roughout World War I. Discuss
how these expressions represent to the world and future generations the nature and impact of the Great War
on individuals and society.
End your essay by answering the ques
If you had to sum up the
impact of the
Great War in one word, what would that word be?
Some of the questions to consider
when writing your response are:
What do the poems tell us about the
experiences of these soldiers?
How do the works of art expre
ss what the soldiers experienced during the war
and how they are dealing with, or not dealing with, that experience?
What differences can you see between
and American perspectives on the war?
How do these men view the war and their role there
What strikes you when reading these poems?
You do not need to answer any or all of these specifically, but they might help give you ideas of what to
Your response should re
ference the documents and artwork, but not simply describe them to the
Your answer should reflect that you
examined the documents, artwork, and monuments
In Flanders Field
Lt. Col. John McCrea (1915), Canadian Army
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Suicide in the Trenches
Lt. Siegfried Sassoon
(1917), British Army
I knew a simple soldier boy
Who grinned at life in empty joy,
Slept soundly through the lonesome dark,
And whistled early with the lark.
In winter trenches, cowed and glum,
With cramps and lice and lack of rum,
He put a bullet throu
gh his brain.
No one spoke of him again.
faced crowds with kindling eye
Who cheer when soldier lads march by,
Sneak home and pray you’ll never know
The hell where youth and laughter go.
Dulce Et Decorum Est
Lt. Wilfred Owen
(1917), British Army
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost the
But limped on, blood
shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!
An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone stil
l was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, dr
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
e old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
Alan Seeger (1917), American
serving with the
French Foreign Legion
have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.
It may be he shall take my hand,
And lead me into his dark land,
And close my eyes and quench my breath
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow flowers appear.
God knows ’twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse
, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear . . .
But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year;
And I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not fail that rendezvous.
f a Soldier in France
Sgt. Joyce Kilmer
(1918), US Army
My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).
I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon my heart).
Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourged Thy back and smote Thy cheek).
I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty drops that sear
(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony of Bloody Sweat?)
My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From Thy pierced palm red rivers come).
Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.
So let me render back again
of Thy gift. Amen.
Erich Maria Remarque:
All Quiet on the Western Front
owing is taken from Erich
All Quiet on the Western Front
Remarque was a
veteran of the trenches and
. His narrator is a young German soldier
We wake up in the middle of the night. The earth booms. Heavy fire is falling on us. We crouch into corners.
tinguish shells of every caliber
Each man lays hold of his things and looks again ev
ery minute to reassure himself that they are still there. The
out heaves, the night roars and flashes. We look at each other in the momentary flashes of light, and with
pale faces and pressed lips shake our heads.
Every man is aware of the heavy shells
tearing down the parapet, rooting up the embankment and
demolishing the upper layers of concrete. When a shell lands in the trench we note bow the hollow, furious
blast is like a blow from the paw of a raging beast of prey. Already by morning a few of the
recruits are green
and vomiting. They are too inexperienced….
The bombardment does not diminish. It is falling in the rear too. As far as one can see spout fountains of mud
and iron. A wide belt is being raked.
The attack does not come, but the bombardmen
t continues. We are gradually benumbed. Hardly a man
speaks. We cannot make ourselves understood.
Our trench is almost gone. At many places it is only eighteen inches high, it is broken by holes, and craters, and
mountains of earth. A shell lands square in
front of our post. At once it is dark. We are buried and must dig
Towards morning, while it is still dark, there is some excitement. Through the entrance rushes in a swarm of
fleeing rats that try to storm the walls. Torches light up the c
onfusion. Everyone yells and curses and
slaughters. The madness and despair of many hours unloads itself in this outburst. Faces are distorted, arms
strike out, the beasts scream; we just stop in time to avoid attacking one another….
Suddenly it howls and
flashes terrifically, the dug
out cracks in all its joints under a direct hit, fortunately only
a light one that the concrete blocks are able to withstand. It rings metallically, the walls reel, rifles, helmets,
earth, mud, and dust fly everywhere. Sulphur
fumes pour in.
If we were in one of those light dug
outs that they have been building lately instead of this deeper one, none
of us would be alive.
But the effect is bad enough even so. The recruit starts to rave again and two others follow suit. One jump
and rushes out, we have trouble with the other two. I start after the one who escapes and wonder whether to
shoot him in the leg
then it shrieks again, I fling myself down and when I stand up the wall of the trench is
plastered with smoking splinters,
lumps of flesh, and bits of uniform. I scramble back.
The first recruit seems actually to have gone insane. He butts his head against the wall like a goat. We must try
night to take him to the rear. Meanwhile we bind him, but in such a way that in case
of attack he can be
released at once….
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