John McCray's In Flanders Fields: Short Analysis And Interpretation

In this article, I will try to make a short analysis and interpretation of (In Flanders Fields) by John McCrae. The poem goes as follows:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

        In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders fields.


John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields poem is a war poem where the poet is either condemning war or praising war; this three-stanza poem with a haphazard number of lines in which I think there is something to be noticed by.

When I first read the poem, there was a sort of a noisy tone reflected in the diphthong [əʊ̯] echoing, by my own understanding, the sound of bombs and wars in general. I got a full image of this poem; I think that the whole thing is not a battlefield or something.

Before going into details about the image thing, I say that the poet here is both condemning and praising but he praises thing and condemns something else. By which I mean that the whole poem is a metaphor or let me say kind of a conceit without having that far-fetched relationship between the vehicle and the tenor. Or to some extent a prolonged image where the Flanders field symbolizes a graveyard full of graves that are poppies these poppies symbolizes the soldiers that were fighting for their country in wars.

The question is why the poet uses poppies not any other kind of flowers; I think that he does so because this kind of flowers does not live longer, and that, in my view, indicates that the soldiers are to a certain degree young man that is not so expert in war and fighting; they die quickly.

In this poem, there is a piece of textual evidence that strongly supports my declaration of the image and metaphor thing which is the first line in stanza two and the last sentence “we are the dead ……. And now we lie” here he is saying we are dead; some will say how he is saying we and he is writing the poem, I will say that he uses we because he is talking about his own country soldiers. And they now lie in their graves in the graveyard.

Now, the poet is praising the soldiers who have fought for their own country with no fears even they were young, while he is condemning the war itself by taking these innocent souls or it could be the government that allowed these young inexpert war people to fight without being afraid about them. In the last stanza, it turns out that the poet is confused; he is encouraging to war by saying “the torch: be yours to hold it high” and warning them from war by saying” though poppies grow in …” indicating that they will be dead soon.

In my own opinion, I think that the last stanza confusion thing indicating that he wants war to get the victory and pride for those young people who died for the sake of their country in one way, and he wants the government to choose more appropriate people to fight or train these brave young people in indirectly way.

To support my declaration in another way, there are three imperfections in the poem where they reflect the confusion in the poet mind.

One, the rhyme scheme that is irregular reflecting the idea of the inexpert young soldiers.

Two, the number of syllables reflects the number of soldiers died in a war where they were killed randomly.

Finally, the irregular number of lines in the poem where the first stanza has 5 lines, the second one has 4, and the last one has 6 lines indicating, as I think, that war is not always the same; I mean that one army could lose a battle at once, and the same army will win the same battle at another. Losing the battle does not mean losing the war.



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