Christmas Truce

Look at the following images, what do they make you think of?

christmas_truce_50071224_truceA “Truce” is “an agreement between two people or groups involved in a war, fight, or disagreement to stop it for a period of time”.

What is in your opinion of the Christmas Truce? Why do you think it took place?  How did it take place?  What did the soldiers do?

christmas-trucedaily_express_4_4_09trucecutting

Now look at this video and listen to the background ballad.

“Christmas in the Trenches” is a ballad from John McCutcheon’s 1984 Album Winter Solstice. It tells the story of the 1914 Christmas Truce between the British and German lines on the Western Front during the Great War from the perspective of a fictional British soldier. Although Francis Tolliver is a fictional character, the event depicted in the ballad is true. John McCutcheon met some of the German soldiers involved in this Christmas story when he toured in Belgium.

How did the take a break from the war to celebrate Christmas? What did they do?

What do you think they sang?

What do you think they gave one another as presents?

Read the following and see whether you were right.

The ballad is a first person narrative by Francis Tolliver, a fictional British soldier from Liverpool. He is relating the events that happened two years prior, while he was a soldier in the trenches of the Great War. He and his fellow soldiers are dug in to their trench, where, as Tolliver relates, “the frost so bitter hung,” while their German enemies occupy the trench at the opposite end of No Man’s Land. The scene is one of quiet and cold; “the frozen fields of France were still; no songs of peace were sung.” The men are reflecting on how their families back in England are making “their brave and glorious lads so far away” the subject of their Christmas toasts, when from the German lines they suddenly hear a young German voice singing out clearly. He is soon joined by his comrades, and the sound of their carol fills the empty fields devastated by war. When they finish, some of the British soldiers from Kent sing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” after which the Germans sing “Stille Nacht.” The British soldiers accompany them, singing in English, “and in two tongues one song filled up the sky.” The British troops are startled when their front line sentry cries out that a lone German figure has left their trench and is marching alone across No Man’s Land, unarmed and with a truce flag. Though all of the men aim their rifles at him, nobody fires, and soon all of the men on both sides are leaving their trenches and meeting their enemies unarmed in No Man’s Land. There, they trade chocolate and cigarettes and exchange photographs of their families back home, at which all of the men are struck by how similar their enemy is to themselves. One of the Germans plays his violin while a British soldier plays his squeezebox, and the men launch flares to light up the field in order to play a game of football. Later, with the first signs of daylight, Tolliver relates that “France was France once more; With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war.” But, McCutcheon sings, “the question haunted every man who lived that wondrous night; ‘whose family have I fixed within my sight?'” It ends with the fictional Tolliver’s lessons gleaned from the experience; that “the ones who call the shots won’t be among the dead and lame- and on each end of the rifle we’re the same.”

See Christmas Truce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_Truce) or (http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/christmastruce.htm)

Inspired by a back-stage conversation with an old woman in Birmingham, AL, this song tells a story that is not only true, but well-known throughout Europe. Now read the lyrics of the ballad.

My name is Francis Tolliver

Watch the 3-minute video and answer the questions below.  You will watch the video twice.

1 Why are the British surprised on Christmas Eve?

2 What did the British do?

3 Why were the British afraid at first?

4 What did the British and Germans do when they met?

5 What did they have in common?

6 What did they both risk?

7 Why did the soldiers go back to fighting the day after?

8 Why was it difficult to pick up rifles again?

Watch the 5-minute video and answer the questions or complete the sentences:

1 What appeared all across the German lines?

2 What did the British think?

3 Instead of rifle fire _______________________________________________________________

4 What did the soldiers do? (mention of all the activities)

5 What did Captain Charles Stockwell do?

6 What did the soldiers know?

7 What was the unofficial Truce a chance for?

8 The Christmas Truce was the last public moment ______________________________________

9 What happened on December 26th? (Be specific)

Read a short article on the Christmas Truce and fill in the blanks with the words given in the box:

enemies, soccer,  warfare, combatants, truce , quashed , troops,  the lines, shells, cease-fire , firing, destroy , trenches, no-man’s-land, unarmed, retrieval, outbreak, clash of weapons

 

During World War I, on and around Christmas Day 1914, the sounds of rifles _____  and _____  exploding faded in a number of places along the Western Front in favor of holiday celebrations in the _____   and gestures of goodwill between _____  .

On December 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus of the war for the celebration of Christmas. The warring countries refused to create any official _____  , but on Christmas the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial _____.

Starting on Christmas Eve, many German and British _____ sang Christmas carols to each other across _____, and at certain points the Allied soldiers even heard brass bands joining the Germans in their joyous singing.

At the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines across _____, calling out “Merry Christmas” in their enemies’ native tongues. At first, the Allied soldiers feared it was a trick, but seeing the Germans _____ they climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the enemy soldiers. The men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings and sang carols and songs. There was even a documented case of soldiers from opposing sides playing a good-natured game of_____.

Some soldiers used this short-lived ceasefire for a more somber task: the _____ of the bodies of fellow _____ who had fallen within the no-man’s land between the lines.

The so-called Christmas Truce of 1914 came only five months after the _____  of war in Europe and was one of the last examples of the outdated notion of chivalry between enemies in _____. It was never repeated—future attempts at holiday ceasefires were _____ by officers’ threats of disciplinary action—but it served as heartening proof, however brief, that beneath the brutal _____, the soldiers’ essential humanity endured.

During World War I, the soldiers on the Western Front did not expect to celebrate on the battlefield, but even a world war could not _____  the Christmas spirit.

 

Write a short paragraph in which you express your feelings about the Christmas Truce.  What do we learn from this historical event? Why should it be celebrated or remembered?

Do the following reading activity at home and be prepared to discuss it in class

Reading Activity

6a00d83451584369e2015392e59fe7970b-800wiNow read the poem by Carol Ann Duffy and be prepared to share your impressions with your classmates.

Carol Ann Duffy

The First World War truce – which saw British and German troops lay down their arms – has been immortalised by Poet Laureate and Mirror columnist Carol Ann Duffy.

On Christmas Day 1914 soldiers from both sides of the trenches on the Western Front in northern France met up in No Man’s Land for a game of football.  As many as 100 troops took part and the game began after each side was heard singing Christmas songs in their trenches.  As many as 100,000 soldiers were involved in a number of unofficial ceasefires staged at Christmas and other times during the conflict.  Captain Bruce Bairnsfather wrote of the 1914 truce: “I wouldn’t have missed that unique and weird Christmas Day for anything.”

Illustration-by-David-Rob-007Duffy’s poetry penetrates the detail of life in the trenches in order to fuse the reader’s feelings with the intensity of the suspended moments of the truce. She describes the men huddling together, lighting their pipes or waiting for sleep. A young soldier stares at the same star that his mother may be gazing at simultaneously.  The poem goes on to describe the horror of war through its evocative imagery of the damage it inflicted on the soldiers.  Can you substantiate this?

The poem describes the singing as a “sudden bridge from man to man” that elicited cheering. The fraternisation from this point onwards gathers pace like a snowball with French, German and English songs being sung through the night, followed by gifts and exchanges of food, alcohol and cigarettes at daylight. There is more translation from Duffy as she charts the fast-growing warmth and communication between the soldiers:

I showed him a picture of my wife
iche zeigte ihm
ein Foto meiner frau.
Sie sei schon, sagte er.
He thought her beautiful, he said.

The soldiers also buried their dead in a part of the war-torn landscape described by Richard Schirrmann (founder of the German Youth Hostel Association) as, “Strewn with shattered trees, the ground ploughed up by shellfire, a wilderness of earth, tree-roots and tattered uniforms.” This was the area known as “No Man’s Land” which became temporarily transformed by soldiers who allowed themselves to “Make of a battleground, a football pitch.”

Duffy’s skilful use of alliteration and listing is shown to full effect in the poem, which powerfully conjures the moods of alienation or sudden interaction.  Can you spot a few examples?

Press censorship and military oppression ensured that little information regarding the truces emerged, so that much of the information came directly from soldiers at the front or those wounded in hospitals. One of those who took part in the Christmas truce, Alfred Anderson, who died in 2005, recalled, “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence. Only the guards were on duty. We all went outside the farm buildings and just stood listening. And, of course, thinking of people back home. All I’d heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machinegun fire and distant German voices. But there was a dead silence that morning, right across the land as far as you could see. We shouted ‘Merry Christmas’, even though nobody felt merry.”

The Christmas Truce poem illuminates this silence but introduces into it:

Then flickering flames from the other side
danced in his eyes
as Christmas trees in their dozens shone,
candlelit on the parapets,
and they started to sing, all down the German lines.

Much has been written about World War One, and much of it by soldier poets—above all, the great Wilfred Owen. Carol Ann Duffy’s approach is fairly nostalgic, but very lyrical. Duffy has said of her own work, “I like to use simple words, but in a complicated way.” Owen, in contrast, who is not distanced by time or place, said of his own war poetry, “My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”

christmas-truce3

Last but not least, I would like you to watch what some students prepared on the Christmas Truce.

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61 risposte a Christmas Truce

  1. Arianna Fabbro scrive:

    “The poem goes on to describe the horror of war through its evocative imagery of the damage it inflicted on the soldiers. Can you substantiate this?”
    I think Carol Ann Duffy made a great work in casting a light on the terrible conditions of the soldiers in the trenches even though this was not the main theme of the poem. The christmas truce was just a tiny little positive moment of the war which, usually, is everything but generous. In the second stanza (and in many others) the poet highlights the conditions of the battlefields , where corpses were spread all over the place and rats and owls wandered around them; the mud and and the freeze, along with the silence and the loneliness are the soldiers’ worst enemies. A significant passage of the poem is the one that says: “Men who would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporised by falling shells or live to tell, heard for the first time then – Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles schläft, einsam wacht…” because in my opinion it explains at best the situation the soldiers were living.
    “Duffy’s skilful use of alliteration and listing is shown to full effect in the poem, which powerfully conjures the moods of alienation or sudden interaction. Can you spot a few examples?”
    The entire poem is plenty of alliterations such as “Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank”, and “Harry, Hugo, Herman, Henry, Heinz” which offers a sense of closeness and equality between the german and the english soldiers; in my opinion the others alliterations present in the poem are meant to give a more tender or strong sense to the poem according to the letter that is repeated.

  2. Valerio Zaina scrive:

    After a first description of the activity of the soldiers in the trenches (simply activity such as smocking the pipe, watching the stars…) Carol Ann Duffy goes on to describe the horror of war through its evocative imagery of the damage it inflicted on the soldiers: For example the poem goes on saying that an owl swooped on a rat on a corpse. Although the poem is written as it was a fairy tale, because in some ways this episode has something magical in it, this kind of imagery remembers us that we are still talking about war and its horror. I said that this episode has something magic in it: The fact is that one of the few great examples of peace between men has occurred during a war, especially during the Great War. It is true that Christmas is Christmas but I think it goes beyond it. In 1915 everyone had already realized that that war was useless and that every soldiers of every nation lived in the same conditions, and Christmas was just an occasion to let them remember it. Carol Ann Duffy underlined this fact by an intelligent use of alliteration. In two verses she writes a sequence of names that can be german and english and all that names starts with the “F” (in one line) and with the “H” (in tho other one) creating the alliteration of those two letters. Anyway that alliteration is not just a figure of speech, it is symbolic: all the soldiers (be them german or english) shared the same conditions.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I like the reference to the juxtaposition between the images that remind the reader of a fairy tale and the horrific images that plunge the same reader into the abyss of the war.

  3. Iryna scrive:

    Semenyuk Iryna 5F

    “The Christmas Truce” is written by Carol Anne Duffy as a remembrance of the truce between German and English troops, which took place on Christmas Eve. There is a big difference between the first and the second part. In the first one we can see a description of the landscape, nature and this incredible war silence. It is very good idea to write a poem about this particular moment. Because usually in the books of history we have not any mention about this and many people did non even know about existence of this short truces. This poem is full of figures of speech such as
    alliteration which have the function of repeating like “Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank” or “Stroud stared at a star”. The use of names is particulary important as Carol wants to give an identity to soldiers from the both sides. It is important that she does not take sides as she would like to demonstrate that all nationalities are equally good, all languages are perfect and show that it is non important where are you from but the Сhristmas eve is magic for everyone. It is something like suspension of deaths for 24 hours. We have also personification, some corrispondence of two different languages (still/stille), big importance of music and songs.
    Carol Ann Duffy writes brilliantly well and brings both sides of the trenches to life, showing the soldiers as people with lives, homes and families.
    On the other hand we have still the war elements, they are still cruel and depressing. This contrast is very effective and show how big is the difference between normal civil life and life in trenches.

  4. Silvia Piol scrive:

    I must really say that I have appreciated both Duffy’s poems. Both “The Christmas Truce” and “War photographer” are such powerful poems, though I must admit that the second one had a slightly stronger impact on me. What I found interesting about “The Christmas Truce” is that it gave me the opportunity to see and better understand the different faces that soldiers can have. When thinking about soldiers a picture immediately comes to my mind. I would be quite sure saying that probably most of the people share this picture with me. To describe this mental picture I would use three words: courage, weapons, uniform. But this poem taught me there’s a lot more behind the word “soldier”. There’s warmth, humanity, kindness. If we stripped one of them of his uniform and weapons, we wouldn’t find nothing but a human being just like the other seven billion human beings populating the Earth. Moreover as human beings they have our some need for human contact and companionship. Duffy beautifully renders the soldiers need for companionship and interaction by simply presenting us the scene of the two young men belonging to the opposite armies, showing one another pictures of their respective fiancées or the one of the soldiers huddling together. Next to these scenes of warmth are placed scenes of cold, ice, winter. I think the author chose to put the different scenes that way because she wanted us, readers, to understand how precious those temporary moments of warmth are in the global atmosphere of the war. Though in this poem positive scenes counterbalance the negative ones, the author effectively presents us the worst aspects of war and its effects. Infact right in the second stanza the reader has to confront himself with a nightmarish scene. A corpses’carpet lies on No Man’s Land. Silent corpses, with their hair covered in frost. The weather preventing those corpses from decaying. An admonition not to forget.

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      I am so very proud of you Silvia, you wrote a nice post, with almost no mistakes in it. At your age I was not as good as you are and I congratulate myself with you on your good mastery of the English language. 🙂

  5. Rossetti Elisabetta scrive:

    “Christmas Truce” is a poem written by the famous English poet Carol Ann Duffy. In this poem she describes the Christmas truce among the soldiers of the English,French, German armies.
    In the beginning of the poem the author emphasizes the hard conditions in which the soldiers had to live: it is cold, the barbed wire is frozen and even the liquid mud is solid. The soldiers have to stay huddled in their greatcoats in order to sleep. The verse “owl swooped on a rat on the glove of a corpse” renders also the idea of widespread death and the image of a young man staring at the moon hoping to see his mother again is symbol of homesickness and loneliness. However the night the poem is talking about is not like the others: it’s Christmas eve. In this occasion the sense of belonging to mankind is stronger than war. German, English and French are all alike during this magic and awesome night: the soldiers sing hymns, folk songs, anthems, each one in their own language. For a while they can forget the tragic situation in which they are forced. The fact that they are different but at the same time all alike, is in this particolar night, is underlined by the use of the English language and the German language to report the Christmas songs (“Stille Nacht. Heilige Nacht. Alles schläft, einsam wacht”). They all think of their families at home, their wives and children and the days spent with them (I showed him a picture of my wife./ Ich zeigte ihm ein Foto meiner Frau./Sie sei schön, sagte er./ He thought her beautiful, he said”). This is another element that makes them feel brothers . These thoughts help them to go on day by day.
    The jux apposition between the moods of the soldiers described in the two parts of the poem underlines the fact that human beings nourish emotions and feelings and they are stronger than any war imposed by a power or authority. The soldiers’ desires, hopes, dreams are much stronger than cruelty or even than death.
    The poem is full of allitterations in order to emphazise certain situations:
    “Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank”, “for Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz” the alliteration makes the different names ( they are typical English, German or Franch names) sound more alike and in this way underlining the fact that even if they belong to different countries they are all similar, just human beings far away from home, doing something absurd, extremely absurd as a war can be.
    Morover, in my opinion,the use of allitaration in this poem (“A boy from Stroud stared at a star”, “no shadows, shots from snipers, nowt to note or report”, and many others) it’s a technique, a means Carol Ann Duffy uses this in order to make the reader identify himself with the soldiers not just through images but even through sounds.

  6. Elena Ghersetti scrive:

    The poem begins in total silence. The guns are silent, and the dead lying in no man’s land, are silent too. The soldiers wait something, maybe Christmas, perhaps the end of the war, continuing to make the same gestures, like lighting the pipe or kissing the gold of their ring. There is something magical in the air, as if Christmas Eve had given new hope. However, the soldiers do not forget the horrors of war, and the multitude of ways in which they could die; Carol Ann Duffy lists them: they might drown in the mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporized. A song begins to be spread in no man’s land and in the trenches; it is a song of hope, that unites enemies, which are all human beings. German and English soldiers exchange greetings and things to eat like Tickler ‘s jam, cognac, sausages, cigars, beer, sauerkraut, then they play football and bury the dead who can finally rest in peace. It is a poem that makes us aware of life in the trenches, of the smallest details, the horrors of war, and of all the unnecessary deaths.
    The alliteration has a fundamental value in this poem: it focuses attention on certain key verses, and helps to better perceive the atmosphere of the trenches. Some examples are: “Freddie , Franz , Friedrich , Frank”, this alliteration directs the attention on the names of the soldiers, some Germans and other English, who lie on the ground, dead in the same place but as enemies and that will be buried without a name. Then “Frozen , foreigns fields” where the focus is on the feeling of coldness and inhospitable places. ” A boy from stroud stared a star ” emphasizes the sadness and homesick experienced by soldiers, while “men who would drown in mud” makes us aware of the almost certain death of the soldiers. Then we have ” Harry , Hugo , Hermann , Henry, Heinz “, which are other names of soldiers who despite being enemies want to get to know each other and with the alliteration “with wisthles , waves” and then “cheers , shouts , laughs ” Carol Ann Duffy shows the gestures with which they come in contact.

  7. Silvia Zongaro scrive:

    “The christmas truce” by Carol Ann Duffy talks about the truce that the soldiers of two fronts made on Christmas day 1914. Duffy describes the life in trenches, the men huddling together, lighting their pipes or waiting for sleep. But the poem describes even the horror of war and the damage it inflicted on the soldiers. The poet renders the horror of war through evocative images such as the barbed wire (that is use as a tinsel), the soldiers’ corpses unburied or describing what usually happen to the soldiers every day: “men who would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporized by falling shells”. In the poem there is a contrast of the sense of living given by the song sung by the soldiers, and the death given by the image of soldiers sat on the dead corpses.
    In the poem is shown Duffy’s skillful use of alliteration for example when she writes the name of the soldiers, giving them an identity, all with the same letter (“Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank..” or “Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz…”). Then she uses alliteration in the verse “the frozen, foreign fields were acres of pain” or “with whistle waves..” where emphasizes the meaning of the verses.

  8. Serena Riservato scrive:

    In this poem Carol Ann Duffy describes the Christmas truce in which a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another. This Truce is for the memory of the happy moments, but it ended in the worst way: they would start fighting again after having socialized with the enemies.
    The poem goes on to describe the horror of war through its evocative imagery of the damage it inflicted on the soldiers. Duffy wants to bring out the misery of the soldiers with phrases such as: “the dead lay still in No Man’s Land”, “an owl swooped on a rat on the glove of a corpse”, “then silence spread and touched each man like a hand”, “men who would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporized by falling shells”.
    All of them evoke anxiety that characterizes life in the trenches and it is shared by all soldiers, British and Germans.
    Carol Ann Duffy also uses a lot of alliteration and the most important I think they are: “Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank . . .” and “Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz …” because every soldier is a human being, and even if they shared the same conditions, emotions, sufferings and hopes they are not killing machines. These names also indicate the brotherhood that has been created between the British troops and the German.

  9. Valentina Paronuzzi scrive:

    ”The Christmas Truce” of Carol Ann Duffy is a beautiful poem in wich the reader can understand how much similar where the German and the British soldiers.
    During the truce the two armies stay toghether, sing, exchange foods and things.
    This poem is a costant contrast between images of despair and of brotherhood.
    For example Duffy describes what happened to the soldiers during the fighting: ”Men would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporised by falling shells ”. And then she describes them singing, playing soccer and drinking togheter.
    With these images she wants to denounce the absurdity of the war and wants us to understand that men are the same, despite their origin, so they should live together in peace.

    Carol Ann Duffy uses often alliteration: with the list of the names ”Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank..” and ”Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz..”, both English and Germans, that creates a link between the two armies and also wants to give identity to them, not considering them just casualties.
    Then the alliteration in the lines “A boy from Stroud stared at a star” and ” The frozen, foreign fields were acres of pain.” want to symbolize the condition of loneliness of the soldiers.

  10. Sara Nicastro scrive:

    1) The most dangerous enemy for soldiers was loneliness. In the 4th stanza Duffy describes what each soldier does on his own, lost in his memories; meanwhile silence spreads all around. The image of the soldier is not the one of the hero, but the one of an ordinary man left alone amid war and pain who cares about the family he left, or the one of a person trying to get as much comfortable as he could manage, lighting pipes while waiting for a fight. In the 16th stanza the message is once again highlighted: soldiers from both sides were, at the end of the rifle, equal.

    2) The most important alliteration is about names, both english and german, which always begin with the same letter (Harry, Hugo, Hermann…). Another example is the alliteration of the word “moon” (the moon like a medal, the pinned moon) that becomes a sort of guide for the reader through the poem; last but not least, the alliteration of the same phrases but in different languages: in this way the reader has the real impression that soldiers were human beings as the others, after all, and maybe more similar because of what they passed through.

  11. D'angelo Antonino scrive:

    “The Christmas Truce” by Carol Ann Duffy is a powerful poem describing life in the trenches during WWI. With this poem the poet succeeds very well in engaging the reader and bringing him in 1914 in the midst of the war, particularly the night of Christmas eve in France, where English and German soldiers decided to lay down their guns for that night and celebrate together Christmas. Duffy reports us the actions of the soldiers, like some were lighting their pipes or were huddling and waited for sleep. These are simple actions that are not important for the war because they do not change the fortunes of war , but are important for the soldiers because they could still feel in some way the warmth of their house.
    But obviously there was a war going on and the poet brings us the horrors of the battlefield such as the unburied soldiers that were lying in No-Man’s land for days.
    The poet uses also alliterations to give more power to the images given by the words and these alliteration for example are: “Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank…” in the third line and “Harry, Hugo, Hermann, Henry, Heinz…” in the 45th line; the poet uses these names to give an identity to the dead soldiers that were lying in No-Man’s land, as mentioned in the first stanza.

  12. Giulia scrive:

    Carol Ann Duffy wrote this poem to remember the soldiers in the German and British trenches in World War I. She wrote this poem to underline the importance of the truce on Christmas Eve, how men were able to stop fighting and start to see each other as human beings and not as enemies. The language is simple, so everyone can understand the meaning of this cruel War. She described in this poem all the actions of the soldiers. She used alliteration like Freddie, Franz, and Friedrich, as a strong way to emphasize the cruelty of the war. She used also alliterations like frozen, foreign fields, waves, shout. Duffy used this kind of words to highlight the brutality of this conflict also through their sound. She used similarities to describe the action of the soldieries and thanks to them; you can fully understand the terrible situation of the poor people in the trenches. You can understand their thoughts, feelings, during this hard time. For example a young soldier looked at the stars and saw his mother’s eyes. This makes us think about soldier’s hope to go on and believe that one day they would see their love, family, friends again. At Christmas 1914, changed something for one day. In fact because of the Truce the soldiers could experience some positive feelings for a very short time. Soldiers began to sing and wish each other merry Christmas in their language, German or English. And for a night they were friends, very close to each other. In line eight, she writes: ’ men, who would drown in mud, be gassed, or shot, or vaporised by falling shell, or alive to tell..’
    With this line, she gave us a real picture of what was the War while Propaganda did not explain the problems; connected to the War it was a terrible long conflict, the World War I.
    Balbinot Giulia

  13. Giulia Bertacco scrive:

    WAR PHOTOGRAPHER:
    1) I think that the objective of a museum dedicated to war photography is that of showing people the sufference and the pain provocated by wars, in order to make us remember that many people die because of war and unfortunately many of them are just children, as well as to understand that war is just something dishuman that doesn’t bring anything good. I can’t imagine that in the world there are people who have the courage to kill other people that are human beings like them.
    2) I appreciate the third video, because I like the song by Michael Jackson and I think that it is the right song for the video, because it invites people to love, respect and help each other.
    Through this song, Michael Jackson tells people that they mustn’t think that there is no hope to change things, because bad things can turn into good things, but we have to collaborate, to be united in order to make them happen, because when a problem is huge a single man can’t solve it, but with the help and force of other people like him he can do it.
    In my opinion, the video is well done, because, by showing us some images that refer to the word of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem, it lets us understand better the poem.
    The images as well as the song are very powerfull.

    3) I was quite right in my considerations. There are some aspects that I couldn’t grasp, such as:
    – The idea of church as a place of peace, where the photographer goes to escape war, while for the people in images there is no escape.
    – The phrase “ A PRIEST PREPARING TO INTONE A MASS”, that stand for religion, that allows war to continue.
    – Rural England is the complete opposite of the kind of images the photographer is developing.
    4) I think that you have decided to conclude with this poem, because it make us remember that the soldiers and people, who die in war are not the only one, who suffer, but also their families, relatives and all the people that look at the photos taken by war photographers, because war causes only sufferance and death, nothing good, and I think that the poem wants to invite people to promote peace and banish war. I approve of this choice, because I appreciate this poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

  14. Giulia Bertacco scrive:

    CHRISTMAS TRUCE:
    1) The horror of damages war inflicted on soldiers is expressed by the image of them in mud, gassed, shot or vaporized by falling shells.
    2) The poem is full of alliterations, such as:
    – “The frozen, foreign field were acres of pain”
    – “No shadows, shots from snipers, nowt to note or report”
    -“Flickering flames from the other side danced in his eyes”
    -“A boy from Stroud stared at a star”
    -In the list of the names of the soldiers: Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank…
    ( through this list Carol Ann Duffy wants to give an identity to this soldiers, because they are human being)

  15. Lucrezia scrive:

    If we think about the sentence “Christmas truce in the trenches”, it could seem a contraddiction bacause to reflect upon the war, our mind fills of words such as: bloodshed, guns, death, pain. But in the poem “The “Christmas Truce”, Carol Ann Duffy gives a ray of hope. She wanted to remember the soldiers in the German and British trenches who became temporaly friends during World War I.
    We can understand this from the first line: “the guns were quiet”.
    In effect she describes what the soldiers hoped, their feelings; they wanted the war to finish, they were tired to see dead bodies everywhere, to suffer, to feel pain, to cry, .. to die.. So, perhaps they always prayed God for the war to end, they dreamed a truce , they wanted peace, and in Carol Ann Duffy’s poem we can grasp all these feelings; this poem is the realisation of the dream of the soldiers.
    “The Christmas truce” during the winter 1914 was the dream come true, it is a suspension of death, it is the proof that God exists.
    It is what made the soldiers continue to fight, because in that day they remembered to have a dignity, perhaps they remembered that they were able to smile again. They knew the truce would not last for a long time, but they also knew that for 24 hours the were friends as if they were not in the battlefield.
    I think Carol Ann Duffy is particulary forward-looking, she writes a poem in the poem, Christmas Truce” is metapoetry. She wantt to make us clear what a poet wrote in a trench.
    We can find it expicitly for example when in the third stanza she states: “ a soldier-poet noted it down”. The poem describes all the actions the soldiers did in that magic day. They played soccer, exchanged cigarettes and sang togheter.
    Carol Ann Duffy quoted the words of the Christmas carol in order to render the poem more meaningful, to involve the reader and to make clear to him that the songs.for the soldier in the trenches, were source of relief, because in music there is not inequality, as a matter of fact, in that day they are not enemies.
    Then I really appreciated the fact that she mentions the name of soldiers, she wants to give them an identity, for example in the eleventh stanza “ Harry, Hugu, Hermann, Heinz.. “ She wants to remember them they are human beings and the war can take away their life but not their soul and dignity.

  16. Virginia Nichilo scrive:

    Christmas in itself is a magical time, one you spend with family and friends, a time in which to feel loved; but when such a humbling and rejoicing moment is powerful enough to overcome war it acquires an even deeper meaning. The soldiers fighting in World War 1 in winter 1917 were able to experience this heart-warming experience, which is described by the Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy.
    The poem “The Christmas Truce” begins with the description of a silent and looming battlefield and we are immediately skyrocketed into the horrific setting of the trenches. By describing the soldiers’ routine and their actions, Duffy makes us feel close to them and their situation.
    The 4th stanza in a turning point in the poem because it shows that even though the soldiers live in an unbearable situation they still feel hope, they are still normal people who get excited at the thought that Christmas is coming. Carol Ann Duffy shows us who a simple song can bring hope to soldiers who have nothing to hold on to. The British and German soldiers exchange pictures of their wives and girlfriends at home, they share their food and they sing along together.
    In this powerful poem Carol Ann Duffy succeeds in disclosing the horror of the war but also the humanity that lays behind the soldiers walls, which had to be put up to protect themselves from a war they did not believe in.
    Alliteration plays a fundamental role in Carol Ann Duffy’s poem. The most symbolic alliteration in that of the letter “F” in the third line of the 2nd stanza, the names Freddie, Franz, Friedrich, Frank could be German but also English, but their nationality is relevantly important, the poet wants to underline the fact that they all lay dead in no man’s land.

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