What are the themes in The Soldier by Rupert Brooke?

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A Man Cannot be Separated from His Country

The speaker refers to his home country seven times throughout the poem. By the third line, readers know where his sense of patriotism lies: with England. England is so intertwined with his soul that should he die in another land while fighting...

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A Man Cannot be Separated from His Country

The speaker refers to his home country seven times throughout the poem. By the third line, readers know where his sense of patriotism lies: with England. England is so intertwined with his soul that should he die in another land while fighting for his country, he will forever leave a little bit of England in that spot. There is an immense sense of pride in the ways England has shaped him; the very English air he has breathed has made him a better and stronger man. In the end, the speaker notes what would remain of him if his heart was stripped of all its evil; England would still remain. The sights and sounds of his home country are part of his heart eternally as he recalls days spent under an "English heaven."

The Idealistic Notions of War

War has ripped the speaker from his home country, leaving him longing to return to her "sights and sounds." Perhaps it is only through war that the author becomes so very aware of his love for and loyalty to England. As he sits in another land, potentially facing his own death, he longs for the country he loves. He realizes that this war may prevent his ever returning to England, and he therefore realizes how much there is to lose. The speaker also feels that ultimately he will be victorious over war because even if he dies in this "foreign land," he will leave a bit of England there. War cannot separate him from his country as he claims the final victory.

Man's Connection to Nature

The things that connect the speaker to England are very much in the natural realm. He has "washed by the rivers" of England. Washing is often symbolic of a spiritual cleansing, establishing a link between his very soul and the natural world in his home country. In England, he is "blest by suns at home"; this natural connection provides symbolic links to knowledge and goodness. The sun connects him to a sense of faithfulness and constancy in England. This connection to the natural world is established in the very first line as the speaker tells the reader that should he die, part of England will always remain in other country. If his blood is spilled or his body is never recovered, the speaker acknowledges that he also is part of the natural world that has been formed in England, and he will return to his most natural state, becoming a "richer dust" than that of this "foreign land."

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