Tuesday, 8 September 2015

SPM English Literature : Poem : The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Assalamualaikum WBT,

I am in the mood of sharing another poem for the SPM Literature Components, which is, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Firstly, you read this extract.

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
'Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns!' he said :
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. 

'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew

Some one had blundered :
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die :
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volleyed at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell,
Rode the six hundred.

Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Hi dear students who actually searched for this for their SPM answer. Well, to me, you have come to a simple blog with simple explanation that might bring to your simple sense in learning this poem. Actually, this poem is not that difficult to understand and as you can see, after you read the poem, you might come across a few things, which maybe a recall from what you have learned in your classes. Remember? During those early month of the years, before lemangs took over your body? Remember? haha...

Now, let me tell you a bit about the poet. Alfred Lord Tennyson was born on 6 August 1809 in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. He was Poet Laureate of Great Britain and Ireland from 1850 till his death at the age of 83. In his poems, Tennyson used a wide range of subject matter, ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to observations of nature, as source material for his poetry. His poem are noted for the richness of his imagery and descriptive writing. He also handled rhythm masterfully.

In 1855, Tennyson produced  one of his best-known poems "The Charge of the Light Brigade", a tribute to the heroic British cavalrymen involved in an ill-advised charge on 25 October 1854, during the Crimean War. Alfred, Lord Tennyson is acclaimed as one of the greatest poets in English literature. He died on 3rd October 1892 at Aldworth. He was buried at Westminster Abbey.

About the Poem

This poem is about the 600 British soldiers as mentioned in the poet's background. It also about the heroism and courage of a brigade. Well, many died in that battle which is called by Crimean War (1854-1856). The soldier belonged to a light brigade which means they were on horseback and armed only with sabres and baton (light arms). By some mistake by one *in the poem said so, and they were ordered into a valley which had heavily armed Russian enemy battalions on three sides - front, left and right. The Russians were fully armed and they were very powerful and they had powerful cannons. Now, when the light brigade charged into this "valley of death", they were massacred by the cannons fire.Yes, most of them died but they showed great heroism and patriotism in battle. On one side, well, we can see how heroism and patriotism took part in the way we think, but hey! the coin has two sides right? another side would be the challenging ideas of the concept of obedience, patriotism and nationalism. Don't you think so? 

Now, the themes for this poet are,

1. Heroism and courage
2. Patriotism
3. Duty
4. The tragedy of was
5. Leadership failure

Moral values:

1. Patriotism
2. Duty
3. Anti-war sentiment

The persona :

The poem is narrated by an omniscient (all-seeing) narrator who reports not only the action but the thoughts and spirit of the 600 men as a collective unit. There is also a reference that "someone has blundered".


Since the poem is about war so, it is clear that the tone and mood is quite intense and as the overall mood, it would be collective action, rather than individual impulse. The poem has the sound of military march and also the feeling of exhaustion, something like that. But to me, as long as you could imagine how war is about then, marks are waiting for you students! but make sure you relate your answer with the poem. Easy right?

As for the Language and Style, well, as you can see, there were Repetition. Why? As you all know, we repeat things because we want to make a bold statement by saying a few times. In this poem, the repetition (refrains) was used  to create hypnotic effect and the refrains give us the impression of an army marching forward. *I will explain more on Language and Style of this poem, once I read it VERY thoroughly, ok?

Point of view :

The poem is narrated by an omniscient (third person) narrator. 

Now, later, on maybe next two entries I will write on the Language and Style and also I will explain more on Themes and Moral Values of "The Charge of the Light Brigade". To me, this poem is very, very good. It was a very good poem indeed, but I could not run from thinking of if you know someone has blundered, why do you have to follow the instructions given? But it was not mine to ask why? hehe... *I used the same sentence structure as in the poem. You can detect that right? yesss... hehe...

That is all for now, I am pretty sure you will get more from me.

Assalamualaikum WBT

p/s: Its an easy poem actually. Please, read. Make sure you read the poem and understand it first, ok?

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire" - Aristotle.


  1. thank you for the explainations, but maybe next time you should just add the theme, style and language in the same post. anyway, it is really helpful! thanks again