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January 31, 2012

On Passing the New Menin Gate by Siegfried Sassoon- Analysis

On Passing the New Menin Gate by Siegfried Sassoon- Analysis

Siegfried Sassoon's On Passing the New Menin Gate was originally published in 1928. Sassoon wrote this poem after WWI. It has a sarcastic and bitter tone about the war. This poem is about the war memorial, New Menin Gate, which has the names of 54, 889 soldiers of WWI engraved on it; it is located outside of Brussels. After Sassoon's friend died he was never the same; he starting writing anti-war poetry. This poem is extremely bitter, probably because he felt that the dead were not immortalized the way that they should have been and also the fact that there was a war to begin with. The war undoubtedly changes people and you view life and the significance of life in a whole new manner.

What is the point of having a war memorial? All those who would appreciate it are already dead.

Who will speak the truth of their horrible fate? Who is left to forgive the cruelties of the war that these soldiers experienced. The dead cannot forgive.

Soldiers were in poorly constructed salients, which are the protruding parts of the defense trenches.

The salients managed to hold their own against enemy fire; keeping its inhabitants alive.

The soldiers within the salient survived because of its show of magnificence.

All these men get for defending their country is their name on a stone.

These men fought the greatest war the world had ever seen and all they got was their name on a piece of stone. Names mean nothing to the average visitor. A name does not tell you the torture that they these men endured. Names do not really tell you who these men were. They are just names.

They sacrificed themselves for their country and no one will ever know who they were. Sassoon is very angry that these men were not given more for their heroic deeds and immolations.

It would be fitting if these men rose from the grave and tore this monument down.


Sassoon, Siegfried. "On Passing the New Menin Gate." Norton Anthology of English Literature: Twentieth Century and After. Vol. F. Ed. Stephen Greenplatt. New York: Norton, 2006. 1963.

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