‘Glory of Women’ and ‘Not So Quiet…’

I really enjoyed reading some of Sassoon’s poetry, especially ‘How to Die’, as the language he uses is very descriptive, and even in some ways it contains romantic elements (Where holy brightness breaks in flame;Radiance reflected in his eyes, And on his lips a whispered name. Stanza 1), which is ironic considering the very title of the poem and the depressing events he goes on to talk about.

However, the poem ‘Glory of Women’ really reminded me of Nellie’s Mother and Mrs Evans-Mawnington in Not So Quiet… Sassoon here is essentially berating women for the beliefs they hold about the war, and in the same way as Nellie’s Mother and Mrs Evans-Mawnington, they only care for their reputation and how they will be perceived by the rest of society. As we discovered towards the ending of Not So Quiet, Roy’s injuries are mitigated by the fact that he receives an M.C, and which Nellie’s Mother describes as a ‘great compensation’, as if a medal makes up for the fact that he’s blind, lost a leg and can’t have any children. ‘Glory of Women’ is similar in this way, but Sassoon is obviously much more direct and accusatory in condemning the women of war (‘You worship decorations’ seems to hold a very bitter tone towards the women – they only care for the medals and the ‘glory’ it will bring). In the same way as the mothers in Not so Quiet, the women in this poem take ‘delight’ in the stories they are told about the war: ‘You listen with delight/ By tales of dirt and danger fondly thrilled’, and it’s as if we are purposely made to feel disgusted by the thoughts these women have of others being killed. This line also reminds me of how Nellie’s Mother in her letters states that she hopes ‘they use lots and lots of liquid fire to teach those Germans’, which she clearly also takes ‘delight’ in. I also noticed by reading more about this poem online (https://www.bachelorandmaster.com/britishandamericanpoetry/glory-of-women-summary-analysis.html#.W60N66AXY0M) that it is a an form of a sonnet (probably should have noticed that earlier), and how sonnets are, clearly, more often associated with love and affection (Shakespeare is an obvious example of this). I think that Sassoon may have purposely used the form of a sonnet to juxtapose with the horrors that are described in this poem, which in turn makes its much more prominent, particularly at the end with the use of the last line ‘His face is trodden deeper in the mud’. It could also be used to make an ironic claim about the women: Yes they have love and affection, but only for their reputation.

165 thoughts on “‘Glory of Women’ and ‘Not So Quiet…’

  1. His charge against women and their appreciation of metals is definitely very pointed. I had no idea that it was a form of sonnet, so that uncovering revealed so much more meaning for me. It makes me wonder about similar charges to women before and after the war. Were similar ones made beforehand, or was this war very revolutionary with its direct accusation against women?

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