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January 31, 2012

Glory of Women by Siegfried Sassoon- Analysis

Glory of Women by Siegfried Sassoon- Analysis

Siegfried Sassoon's Glory of Women was originally published in 1918. This poem is a very sarcastic poem. It marks the beginning of anti-women literature. Men resented the fact that they had to fight in the war, while the women could stay home and pretend that everything was the same as it always had been. Men and women could not relate to one another as they had before.

Women only love soldiers that are decorated heroes. When the men are home the women fawn over their heroic deeds, but when the men are away in battle women could not care less.

"Wounded in a mentionable place" can have a couple of meanings. It is common to think that a woman would only want to be with a man that is not disabled in any way. Losing an arm or leg would not be a desirable injury, because they would not be considered real men any more. Soldiers are glorified as heroes and heroes are not crippled. A wound in an unmentionable place could be the mind. Many soldiers experienced psychological issues as a result of everything that they seen in battle. Sassoon had a really hard time when his friend died in battle; he was even sent to a mental hospital under the guise of having shell shock. Many soldiers had a hard time rationalizing all the killing and dying of men who probably did not really deserve to die since they were just fighting to uphold the honor of their countries.

At home, life went on like there was no war going on. When soldiers would come home on the weekends they could not understand how life seemed so unaffected. They were out in the trenches everyday killing and dying. When they came home they were expected to act like the chivalrous gentlemen that they were before the war, but they had a hard time being that man because they had seen too much evil. Societal doctrine did not exist out in the trenches.

"You make us shells"-in WWI, many women were recruited to munitions factories; this is a job that had only been held by men previously. Working in the factories gave women a new sense of independence and after the war they wanted to continue working. They provided the equipment of death.

The women loved to listen to their stories of battle; to them they were like scary made-up stories meant for entertainment, but for the soldiers it was their reality. The women did not seem to understand the reality of the war.

Ardour is defined as enthusiasm or passion.

"You mourn our laurelled"-in ancient Rome and Greece, a victorious general was crowned with a laurel wreath.

These lines are pointing out the naivety of women. Women wanted their men out there fighting and being heroic without considering what this actually did to them. They did not understand what it was like to be on the front line and they would act like it was not a big deal to kill. Women are trying to be nationalists, but they have no idea what nationalism really means.

While women are concerning themselves with the frivolities of life, men are out there dying in the mud. Their bodies no longer discernible; they become just another dead body on a large field of dead bodies, while women get to sit at home knitting.


Sassoon, Siegfried. "Glory of Women." Norton Anthology of English Literature: Twentieth Century and After. Vol. F. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: Norton, 2006. 1962.