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English Poem Anthology > The Reservist > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Reservist Deck (8)
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1

‘Time again for the annual joust, the regular fanfare’

What does the reader know?
How is this statement ironic?

The events that are to follow have happened many times before.

Fanfares are meant for special occasions.

2

‘The imperative letters stern as clarion notes, the kings command’

What do we learn about the letters?

They’re unavoidable. The reservists may receive a military trial resulting in imprisonment if they ignore the letters.

3

‘suppressed grunts, we battle-weary knights
creep to attention, ransack the wardrobes’

What does this tell us about the reservists?
What image does this create?

They are slow moving, not the image of battle ready soldiers that they were intended to be. The endless repetition of this process has drained and defeated them.

Further descriptors create an image of these soldiers as being both tired, and out of shape

4

‘with great finesse into the shrinking gear
and with helmets shutting off half our world,
report for service’

What does the sarcasm used in the phrase ‘great finesse’ highlight?
What do they have to do when they report for service?

It highlights the dark humor that surrounds this situation.

They must set aside who they really are in their day to day life to be the soldiers they have to be.

5

We will keep charging up the same hills, plod
through the same forest, till we are too old

What does this tell us about their attitudes towards the army?
What does the repetition convey?

This is what they know and so they are resigned to it.

The trails they charge up continue to find them, as if there is no choice but to continue on the same path.

6

‘like children placed
on carousels they cannot get off from, borne
along through somebody’s expensive fantasyland’

How does the metaphor of ‘like children placed on carousels’ convey their sense of hopelessness?
What does ‘expensive fantasyland’ refer to?

It suggests that they are stuck on the never ending loop of service and nothing can tear them away from the enticing ride of it.

It refers to how the sovereign spends so much money on a useless service.

7

‘monsters armed with the same roar’

What does this tell us abou t their opponents?

They must also fear the enemy that they are required to fight

8

‘In the end we will perhaps surprise ourselves
and emerge unlikely heroes with long years
of braving the same horrors
pinned on our tunic fronts.’

What are they rewarded with?

All of their horrors, and long years of repetition will be far behind them, only remaining ‘pinned to their tunic fronts.’

Emblems of their bravery and strength, not of misery and tired agony.