To better understand literature it helps if you know about the time when it was written. How did people live? What were their problems and their joys? Some experiences are universal, such as love, others are tied to time.
World War I was a time of horror for the soldiers who had to live or die in the trenches. Children lost their fathers, wives their husbands, mothers their sons. There were brothers and friends lost. Just as brothers, sisters and friends, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers are lost today everywhere where there is conflict and war. In this way war too is a universal topic. You can learn more about WW I at Kahn Academy.
“The Old Vicarage, Grantchester” by Rupert Brooke (read by Tom O’Bedlam)
Brooke’s poems are today considered to be war poems, but this poem was written before WW I in Berlin, 1912, and he died in 1915, so the poem express his feelings not his experiences.
“English poet Rupert Brooke wrote in an anti-Victorian style, using rustic themes and subjects such as friendship and love, and his poems reflected the mood in England during the years leading up to World War I. ” (from poets.org). He also wrote The Soldier.
The role of the individual soldier has been changed by modern technology. Previous wars focused more, as in the poem The Soldier, on the individual soldier. In this poem, why has the speaker gone to war? What is his attitude toward his own country? And what is his attitude toward his enemy?
And of you are interested in going deeper into this poem there is a full lecture by Dr Andrew Barker available.
To learn how this part of England looks today you can watch and listen to
Cambridgeshire Country Walk – Cambridge to Grantchester via the River Cam return.
This post is a collection of digital material which can be used for learning and teaching.