Asleep in the Valley – Arthur Rimbaud : Poet’s Attitude towards War, Concept of Futility

How is the concept of futility of war revealed in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ ? 

 | Or, Discuss ‘ Asleep in the  Valley’ as an anti-war poem. 

|Or, What is the poet’s attitude to war in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ ? 

Introduction : In the poem, Rimbaud holds up his first hand experience of war. The poem begins with a description of the serene beauty of nature’s bounty in a green valley.

1. Asleep in the Valley as a Poem of War : Rimbaud goes on to describe the tragic death of a soldier lying among the heavy undergrowth. In an ironic tone, the poet describes the calm and peace which envelops the soldier in his death.

2. Images of Cold Death in Asleep in the Valley : The poem creates a shock as the imagery passes from pictures of nature’s fruition to the image of cold death.

3. Youth is Victimized in the War : The irony comes out strongly as the poet unfolds the presence of a dead body in the midst of a beautiful, idyllic scene. It has been made clear by the expression ‘the two red holes’. It exposes how inhumanly the soldier is victimized in war.

4. The Death of a Soldier : The red holes are nothing but ‘bullet wounds’. This emphasizes the notion of death in the middle of life.

5. Attitude of the Poet towards War : It is the intention of the poet to underline the futility manifest in war. The poet explores the inherent futility of war through the tragic death of a young soldier. War to the poet is nothing but waste of life.

6. Futility of War / Futility of Life : So, war is a huge destruction of young lives. In this poem, the poet expresses his attitude towards war, which manifests futility of life in the war field.  

Note : More points you can add to develop your answer : *** ( Elaborate in your own words )

7. The tragic death of a young soldier:

8. War is waste of life :

9. Killing of Innocence in the battlefields :

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