The Green Beret Poem by Ho Thien Analysis

The sample essay on The Green Beret Poem deals with a framework of research-based facts, approaches, and arguments concerning this theme. To see the essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, read on.

Both these poems are based around the theme of war, however they are set in different periods of time. ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ deals with the stresses that war can inflict and how tragic it can sometimes be. It focuses on the life and death of a soldier boy.

Throughout the poem the poet emphasises the simplicity of the boy. The poem has a simple layout and rhyme scheme, Sassoon is probably trying to suggest the simplicity of the soldier boy and how simple the life of a soldier in the trenches would have been. ‘Green Beret’ is more recent and is based on the Vietnamese war.

It tells the story of a Vietnamese boy who is being threatened with the death of his father to give information about the Vietnamese people.

Throughout the poem the poet suggests how the brutal actions of the soldiers only seem to make the resistance force greater. Both of these poems differ from each other but they both show the tragedies involved in war. The poets in both poems use different methods to show their ideas. In ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ the poem is structured in quatrains and the poem’s layout is very simple.

I think that Sassoon used the quatrains and a simple layout to emphasise the simplicity of the “simple soldier boy.

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” I also think that he may have used this layout to imitate the life of a soldier, as soldiers are thought to be orderly and neat. Sassoon uses a title which prepares us for a poem containing grown up men, however, when we read the first line we get the image of a young boy. This shows us that the young boys involved found the war it so dreadful that some even took extreme measures to get away from it.

Words That Rhyme With Suicide

In contrast, Thien uses a narrative approach and relates to events in order as though it was a story. The first long stanza focuses on what happened and the last short stanza focuses on how the resistant forces weren’t defeated, suggesting how brave the boy was for keeping quiet. I think that Thien finally revealed the silence of the boy so that the reader remained intrigued in the poem and it kept up the suspense. ‘Green Beret’ is in free verse and both stanzas are unevenly spread.

I think that this is because Ho Thien wants us to know that the Green Beret soldiers may be unfair and that the boy and the Vietnamese people are very much in charge of their own decisions and that they won’t give information away about their people, no matter what consequences are involved. At the end of the poem Thien even compares the Vietnamese people to fierce animals, “like tigers across the High Plateau. ” I think that Thien uses “tigers” so that we get the impression that the Vietnamese are like predators and that they are quiet when the move making it very hard for the Americans to find or detect them.

The lengths of the poems also vary dramatically. ‘Green Beret’ is rather long, which is probably because the poet wants us to know that the war went on for a long time and that it may have been very awkward for the Americans to get information. In the second stanza we get the impression that the brutal actions by the American forces only makes the resistant forces stronger and when the poet mentions “wall of steel” we can imagine how strong the resistant forces must be. Whereas, when we look at ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ we can see that it’s much shorter indicating that suicide was part of life in the trenches.

It also gives us the impression that the soldiers would have got over these tragedies quickly and that suicide was part of everyday life. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are significantly different when we compare both poems. In ‘Suicide in the Trenches’ the rhyme scheme is rather straightforward; aabbcc… (This again shows the simplicity of the soldier boy. ) The rhythm functions to make the poem easy to read and remember. However, when we reach lines seven and eight, the rhythm changes; “He put a bullet through his brain.

No one spoke of him again. I think the poet used these two lines to emphasise the brutality and the harsh reality of war. I also think it shows how desperate war really was. In both poems the poets use the language differently. In ‘Green Beret’ Thien gives a sense of realism by adding dialogue, it also gives a true sense of how Green Beret spoke. When he commands “kill the old guy” in front of the boy we see how heartless and unsympathetic that Green Beret really is. The poet describes the boy as “frail and “slight,” this shows that the boy may be quite malnourished and that he may be rather vulnerable.

At the end of the poem Thien describes the Vietnamese army as “tigers. ” He probably used this particular word as tigers are a sneaky and strong type of an animal and perhaps he wanted the reader to know that they are strong and quite a formidable force. Thien also uses repetition like “eyes. ” I think that he uses “eyes” so much through the poem as eyes can show a person’s emotions very effectively. When we find out that the boy has “the eyes of a hurt animal,” we take the boy’s side and we feel sympathetic towards him.

When we look at Thien’s choice of verbs they really stand out and put a strong image in the readers head. Thien uses verbs like “commanded” and “roared,” I think that Thien used these verbs as they show the brutality of Green Beret and that he is rather ruthless. In the poem Green Beret speaks to the boy in broken English, “tell us where or we kill father. ” I think this is to show that Green Beret thought that the boy was stupid or inferior and by communicating to him this way he would understand what he is saying.

By way of contrast, when we study the language used by Sassoon there are no similes, metaphors and very few adjectives used. I think that Sassoon used this technique as war is already brutal and by using very few of these words is presents war as it is and how desperate it was. I think that both of these poems were written for a wide audience; children to adults and they are to show the true horrors of the war. Green Beret was to show the things going on during the Vietnam War, and it almost exalts the Vietnamese people and shows that they weren’t so weak after all.

As we see that the little boy is willing to let his father be killed for the people of his country. On the other hand, Suicide in the Trenches outlines how horrific war can be and it shows that war is fought mentally as well as physically. In conclusion, both of the two poems have a lot of differences but they are still very alike each other as they both still portray the harsh brutality of war. But the two poets have used different techniques and methods to present their ideas and they have the same sadness in their tone.

I think that both poets have been very effective with the techniques used as both poems contain a lot of strong emotions. I personally preferred Green Beret as I thought it gave a convincing insight into the war and it showed how brutal it was. It also showed how one small boy could save all his people and how mentally strong he was. Although I thought that Suicide in the Trenches was more effective as it portrayed a lot of emotion and it gave a much different view on war and showed the different mental stresses it contained and how desperate war really was and is.

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The Green Beret Poem by Ho Thien Analysis. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

The Green Beret Poem by Ho Thien Analysis
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