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Suicide in the Trenches Summary & Analysis
by Siegfried Sassoon

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"Suicide in the Trenches" is a poem by the British poet Siegfried Sassoon, published in his collection Counter-Attack and Other Poems (1918). As with the other poems in that collection, "Suicide in the Trenches" draws on Sassoon's own experiences as a soldier in the British Army during World War I. The poem provides an account of the war that sharply contrasts with some of the more romanticized perspectives offered by poets like Jessie Pope and Rupert Brooke. This poem's speaker begins by describing a typical soldier—young, innocent, and somewhat naive. Tragically, the horrific reality of war drives him to commit suicide in the trenches. The poem then criticizes the public back at home, which it claims encourages young men to give up their lives without fully acknowledging the terrors that await "simple soldier boy[s]."

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