Tom Dinkel Period :
The poet's use of mockery as diction conveys his disillusioned attitude toward the men that plan the battles without actually fighting in them. Using the words "If I were fierce and bald and short of breath," to describe the majors allows the reader to picture the majors as old, fat, out of shape men that spend their days "guzzling and gulping in the best hotel" safe from any danger. Fierce, bald and short of breath give the reader a negative feel for the majors as they are not described in any positive manner. These terms cause the reader to feel disgust for the majors. The poet’s use of the words guzzling and gulping with their alliterative effect cause the reader to consider the majors as gluttons gathered at the table. When the reader completes his mental picture of the majors in the best hotel, the imagery of glory hogs is complete. The poet's diction choice, "Reading the Roll of Honor…. 'Poor young chap, ' I'd say - ' I used to know his father well; Yes, we've lost heavily in this last scrap….' " of casual language attempts to make the war seem carefree and nonchalant.
The word chap conveys a casual attitude towards the heroes as people. It seems to elevate the status of the majors to a false superior position. Scrap makes it seems as if the soldier's death occurred on a playground, not a battlefield. It seems to trivialize war in general. "And when the war is done and the youth stone dead, I'd toddle safely home and die - in bed."
The poet's last lines give the reader an insight into the true wishes of the soldier. The youth stone dead allow the reader to acknowledge the finality of death and the wasted lives of the young soldiers while the old, fat men are allowed the luxury of living to old age and then dying in their own beds. "Toddle" is a word that not only describes the gait of the fat, old men but also the irony of the youth stone dead and the fat, old men waddling home. Through his use of mocking diction, the poet conveys his disgusted attitude towards the toddling old men dying in their beds while the good die young.
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