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"How Does 'The Target' Compare With 'Bohemians', Both By Ivor Gurnery.

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Ivor Gurney, though unjustly standing as one of the lesser poets of the First World War, often accomplished work of searing emotional intensity due to this own experiences in the trenches. Two such works, 'The Target' and 'The Bohemians', each showcase various similarities and differences between them, built around one central theme; the psychological impact of war.

'The Target', written in 1917 when it became apparent the Allies could easily lose the war, details a young man's fractured mental state after he killed a man. One of the most notable things about the poem is the reference made to God, in this case an omniscient but also uncaring persona, who "takes no sort of heed" and "does not say / A word of guidance any way." This is representative of the views of many within the war, who could not believe a benevolent god could allow such suffering to prevail. However, in 'The Bohemians', no higher presence is ever alluded to, thereby making it all the more poignant when we discover that the titular bohemians "lie free of useless fashions," in their grave. Clearly, both poems are satirical in this respect, as two more senior figureheads are being critically damned; in 'The Target', simply God, whilst in 'The Bohemians,' it is those who conform to government legislature, but ultimately gain nothing more than the rebellious bohemians. In the latter poem, conformity seems to be criticised throughout; for example, Gurney's satirising of the punishments men received for not wearing correct uniform, or the fact that those who "argued of army ways / wrenched what little soul they had still further from shape," is indicative of his own views (the poet was bohemian in his attitudes to artistry and freedom), but set in the context of public opinion at the time. This is particularly effective when assessing the poem for social and historical importance, as it offers a first-hand look at the resentment that grew within the trenches for those who sent them there, and also how by this stage notions of jingoistic loyalty and patriotism had all but disintegrated.

On the other hand, 'The Target' relies less upon overt sardonic jibes aimed at the government, but instead paints a heartbreaking picture of the emotions associated with death in a war context. In order to appeal to as wider target audience as possible, many colloquialisms appear, "All's tangle," for example, a particularly eloquent description of the boy's state of mind. In addition, the



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