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"meh...life...who cares...?" - Gon_b

Roger Mcgough - "No One Wins in Nuclear War"

  • Date Submitted: 03/27/2010 08:18 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 38.4 
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How does McGough’s Poetry support the concept that “nobody wins nuclear war”?

Throughout the poems “Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with infantrymen”, “Noah’s Arc” and “Icarus Allsorts”, a bleak picture for mankind’s future after a nuclear war is painted. An almost desolate and chaotic existence is what McGough foresees as the aftermath, and these poems are effective at showing the futileness of fighting a nuclear war, given the ramifications, and absolute destruction of the war. Using absurdity, inversion, black imagery, dramatic irony as well as rhythm and rhyme, these three poems have created a strong argument that “nobody wins nuclear war”.

“Noah’s Arc”, a poem about a man obsessing over preparing for a nuclear war, is a very absurd as it shows the futileness of preparing for a “life, after death”. The audience is able to see that the persona within the poem, the man, has been driven completely insane by his obsession, as, “My wife…god bless her…”, which highlights his unstable mental state, becoming delusional about living through the war. The persona realizes his children do not share his ideas, and then begins to absurdly think his children “regard extinction (nuclear war) as the boring concern of grownups…like divorce and accountancy…”, thus showing that he is going completely insane, and it can then be seen that by attempting to ‘win’ the war by surviving, he is in fact losing – his sanity. This however, is in stark contrast to the poem, “Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with Infantrymen”, where the persona is an innocent small child, quite oblivious to the destruction of a nuclear war around him.

“Mother, the Wardrobe is filled with infantrymen” conveys a confronting message of the horrors and destruction following a nuclear war, and that the world can completely collapse into chaos around those who try to survive. The persona, a small child, is used and a ‘childish’ tone is employed to allow the reader to sympathise with the child, and to...


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