Study Guide

The Soldier Warfare

By Rupert Brooke


The poem is called "The Soldier," so naturally it's about… war. Unlike many other famous World War I-era poems, however, Brooke paints a more optimistic picture. The soldier's possible death is mentioned, yes, but so is a blissful life after death. Moreover, the poem celebrates the fact that the soldier's death will give England another "corner" of land. So, for the speaker, all this warfare business seems like a big win! Of course, he hasn't actually been to war just yet….

Questions About Warfare

  1. Why is there so little actual warfare in this poem?
  2. Would this poem have been possible without war? Why do you think so?
  3. How can this poem be seen as taking part in the country's general war effort? What role(s) might it play? 
  4. Can someone write intelligently about war if they've never been in one?

Chew on This

Yeah, uh… no thanks. War is unimaginably horrific, and this is why the poem refuses to discuss it directly.

War is so influential in this poem that the only imaginable peace is the peace of heaven—the peace we achieve after death. Bummer.

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