Final Literature Exam Question 1
The beauty of poetry and indeed any literary works is that the interpretation is not cast on stone. What a section of the audience may see as positive, another section may see as negative. At the end of the day, it is the justification that matters. The Charge of the Light Brigade raises these contrasting feelings. It could be both relevant and or irrelevant depending on the side of the coin one looks at. The paper will advance both arguments in a view to appreciate the beauty of the poem and indeed literature’s overall wealth.
This poem is relevant in as much as it illustrates the need for courage and determination. It rakes emotional feelings in the audience advocating for courage even in the face of adversity. As the persona puts it, the soldiers in the brigade charged towards death, the jaws of death were lurching, scathing and unforgiving, but the soldiers carried on, executing their singular responsibility of defense of the people. This message resonates well for an audience in need of courage, support and determination. It reminds the people of the popular mantra, “It is not over till it is over.” This is primarily because it gives a strong case for determination and not giving up. It advocates for consistency in any activity one engages in. In the long run, the toil will be rewarded in victory.
On the other hand, the poem will be irrelevant for its application of war at a time when the world is running away from settlement of conflict by war. In the modern world, say in 2012, war is only advanced for when it is inevitable. In contemporary society, poetry should reflect a level of currency even in advancing the message. That the poet uses soldiers at the battle ground is out of touch and out of context with the contemporary issues. In addition, the changes in war and military action effectively make his poem outdated. Today, the military uses more sophisticated weaponry unlike the ones the brigade employs. Finally, in the spirit of promoting peace and cohesion, one needs to urge for courage and determination using more acceptable scenarios. Applying war battles may give wars legitimacy contrary to societal expectations and aspirations.
Robinson, Peter. Poetry & Translation: The Art of the Impossible. London: Liverpool University Press, 2010.
Wainwright, Jeffrey. Poetry: The Basics. New York: Routledge, 2004.