Billy Bishop Goes to War

Paper Type: 
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  845 Words
Date:  2021-03-09

Eric Peterson's Billy Bishop Goes to War poem is a war poem. It is a poem that vividly brings out the protagonist, questioning the nature of heroism and the consequences of war. The poem shows how moral values are put in a compromising situation and even altered. It talks of how heroes are made. The woes and suffering the soldiers go through are also highlighted as well as the description of their real inner feelings they undergo during and after wars.

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The poem has incorporated metaphors in the development of its theme. A metaphor has been used to describe the plane. The persona says It was a pig", about the plane. This is just when the plane has taken off. The plane has been described as a pig to show how big it is. The word pig has been used to show its size. In the first stanza of the poem, the persona describes the equipment to be carried on the plane. The equipment includes a thousand pounds of equipment hanging off it, four machine guns and a five hundred pound bomb. The plane gets so heavy that they are forced to offload the machine guns to enable the plane to take off.

Similes have been used in the poem. Similes compare a trait to a particular item or thing. The first simile has been used by the persona in the line This time, the thing sort of flops down the runway like a crippled duck. This is after the first description of the plane's failure to take off the ground. The plane was loaded with tones of equipment. The persona describes it to having Pounds of equipment hanging off it. This shows the reader that the plane has carried more than its carrying capacity. The persona expresses his or her shock due to the number of equipment that has been carried. There are four machines and a five-hundred-pound bomb. The rest includes the reconnaissance equipment and camera and the soldiers themselves. This explains the planes incapacity to take off. It only does so after the persona, and the rest of the warriors have offloaded some items like the bomb. This is where the persona describes the movement of the plane comparing it to that of a crippled duck. The statement shows the instability of the planes as it takes off.

Symbolism has been used through the gun. The gun has been described to be of essence while going to war. The gun's absence inculcates a feeling of fear, according to the personas letter to Margaret. The persona declares how hard it is to have confidence and put a brave face on when going to war without guns. Therefore, the gun represents anything that one holds on to so as to feel secure. This could be a person or an item that one considers of the vital essence for his or her survival. The persona goes ahead to describe the feeling of being grateful which comes along for having gone through the fight and coming out alive. Symbolism is fundamental in enabling the reader to create a mental image of the situation in the real world. A symbol is used to represent something indirectly.

Margaret is a symbol of love. The persona finds solace in her. The persona manifests his comfort in telling Margaret his fears and weaknesses without fear of being deemed a coward. The persona expresses his fearful nature to Margaret when he describes the feeling of going to war without guns. The persona goes ahead to describe the feeling of loneliness he feels while in the barracks. The persona states that It is like waiting for a firing squad. It makes you want to cry; you feel so frightened and so alone." This way, the persona expresses the feelings and emotions they undergo after a war. The feel like they are waiting for a firing squad as they are in fear that the people who they attacked might come to avenge. The persona goes ahead to explain how good it feels not be dead. This brings out the persona's fear of death. His emotions are brought out when he says that sometimes one feels like crying and goes ahead to state that all the soldiers that do not die during the warfare encounter this feeling. The persona concludes by telling Margaret that his thoughts towards her are his strength hold. This only but brings the attitude of love. Symbolism has been used to bring out a clear image of the matter in question, in this case, love. It enables the reader to have a sensation of what the persona goes through.

In conclusion, the writer of the poem has used imagery to evoke the response of the reader. Imagery includes the use of metaphors, similes and symbolism. The three are used to enable the reader to create a mental picture of what is happening in the poem. This increase the effectiveness of the impact vested on the reader.

Works cited

Gray, John, and Eric Peterson. Billy Bishop Goes to War. Talonbooks, 2012.

Cite this page

Billy Bishop Goes to War. (2021, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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