How is the concept of futility of war revealed in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ ?
Or, What is the poet’s attitude to war in the poem ‘Asleep in the Valley’ ?
Or, Discuss ‘ Asleep in the Valley’ as an anti-war poem.
Answer:- 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. Subsequently, 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. The poem creates a shock as the imagery passes from pictures of nature’s fruition to the image of cold death. 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. These red holes are nothing but ‘bullet wounds’. This emphasizes the notion of death in the middle of life.
☆ 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.
☆ 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: ☆ Write if it is necessary.
Question No. 2 : “His smile is like an infant’s” – / Whose smile is referred to here?
Why is the smile compared with that of an infant? How does nature take care of him?
Answer: The smile referred to here is that of the young soldier who is found asleep in the valley by the poet.
The soldier found asleep there seems to be submerged in deep slumber. The soothing sleep that he enjoys in the bosky valley on the heavy sod takes him to the reverie of extreme pleasure. There is no mark of apprehension, tiredness, and fear about his face. For he is now enjoying his perpetual sleep, undisturbed, unfazed, so the smile about his face is pure, gentle and innocent.
Nature takes utmost care to keep him warm there. She has spread heavy undergrowth with readying a pillow of fern to let his head rest on it. For his legs, she has made electrifying flowers bloom about them. All the things she harmonizes for his majestic soothing sleep are very much natural, dipped in bright on livening sun beams. Such is nature’s treatment for her soldier- souls slumber.