Something that struck me and I wish I had a chance to discuss more in class was how masculinity functions in this poem with regards to the idea of “being a man.”
The group is lying down in the trenches because they are aware of the danger sitting up but all it takes Ginger to face that danger is a bet.
It makes me wonder at what cost is an escape from war as well as why Ginger was so (maybe not the best word here but…) eager to lay down his life for a bet?
I really like your last question about why would Ginger be so willing to do this. It made me think of the pointlessness of the war. The men don’t really know why they are fighting, why they hate the other side, they don’t know what is going to happen after this. These are so many uncertainties. So, if they are willing to die for their country under circumstances that they don’t know the full story or facts about, why wouldn’t he be willing to die for a bet? Both become pointless.
I really love your comment about how the pointlessness of the bet, and Ginger losing his life over it, parallels all the pointless deaths that occur as a result of the war. It then becomes even more striking when you consider how ‘Ginger’ was a term used for any English redhead (at least I believe that is what was said last class), so his death in the poem could be seen to symbolize the pointlessness of any and all of the deaths that occured.
This has nothing to do really with what you said but Ginger’s act of valor through ignorance can be read as a mocking of the crucifixion at least to me. It wasn’t until you said “lay down his life” when I thought of John 15:13 when it says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” We can also read the bet on the soccer game as the clothes that are divided among the Roman soldiers and the tunic that they casted lots on. Finally if we read this poem as a parallel to the crucifixion, the title itself is a form of the Last Supper. Again I may just be grasping at straws but it gives the poem a lot more depth if you analyze it from the viewpoint of Ginger being the sacrificial lamb so to speak.