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Identify the Key Content in both 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Bayonet Charge' and Explain How They Compare

In this worksheet, students will identify the key themes in both 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and 'Bayonet Charge' by Ted Hughes and explain the similarities between the two poems.

'Identify the Key Content in both 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Bayonet Charge' and Explain How They Compare' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and 'Bayonet Charge' by Ted Hughes. Both poems can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your anthology.


 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Bayonet Charge' are poems that describe the horror of war and the chaos it brings. The Charge of the Light Brigade creates a description of the soldiers under heavy fire and creates sympathy for the men, who the reader is told have very little chance of surviving the battle. Similarly, in Bayonet Charge, the soldier is in the middle of a war zone fighting for his life. Both perspectives are from the viewpoint of soldiers with a duty to fight for their country and question the idea of blind patriotism.

In the following questions, you will look further at the similarities between the two poems.

 

 
battle
 
 

battle

 

In order to identify the similarities in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Bayonet Charge', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and match the questions to the correct answers below:

 

Column A

Column B

Where is the poem set?
There was a miscommunication in the order they wer...
What is a 'Light Brigade'?
In Russia, during the Crimean War
Why did the men charge head first in to the cannon...
Men on horses who were lightly equipped
Why was the 'Light Brigade' so respected afterward...
For following orders, even though they knew they m...

soldier with a rifle

 

 

Now read the poem 'Bayonet Charge' and match the questions to their answers below:

 

Column A

Column B

What is the soldier doing in the poem?
A knife designed to fit on the end of a rifle
What is a bayonet?
He forgets why he is there and tries desperately t...
What happens to the soldier when the battle starts...
It could represent the soldier - they are both afr...
What is the soldier "bewildered" by?
He is going over the trenches to attack
What does the "hare" represent?
He is confused because the horror of the battle ha...

Both of the poems present the horror of conflict during battle.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet describes the battle as devastating for the soldiers.

 

toy soldier

 

The following quotations are all from 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. Which one do you think supports the idea of the horror of conflict?

 

"Half a league onward"

"Into the mouth of hell"

"Cannon to right of them"

"When can their glory fade?"

Now, let's compare the horror of conflict expressed in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is expressed in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

The quotations below are all from 'Bayonet Charge'. Which one do you think shows the horror of conflict?

 

"The patriotic tear"

"He lugged a rifle, numb as a smashed arm"

"Listening between his footfalls"

Both poems question the idea of blind patriotism - fighting a battle without fully understanding the reason for it.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' the poet describes how the soldiers go ahead with the battle, without questioning the order.

 

Choose one quotation which you think reflects the idea of blind patriotism.

 

"Rode the six hundred"

"Theirs not to make reply"

"Flashed all their sabres bare"

Now, let's compare how blind patriotism is presented in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is used in 'Bayonet Charge'.

soldiers at war

 

 

The following quotations are all from 'Bayonet Charge'. Which one do you think creates the idea of blind patriotism?

 

"In raw-seamed hot khaki"

"Sweating like molten iron"

"Suddenly he awoke and was running"

Both poems look at the idea of patriotism in a different way.

 

Patriotism = devotion to your country.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet creates a sense of patriotism and praises the soldiers for their loyalty. In 'Bayonet Charge', the poet looks at the death of patriotism and the terror of war - it is more of a criticism of the soldiers following orders blindly.

 

 

battle

 

 

Choose one quotation below which you think shows that the poet admires the soldier's patriotism.

 

"Not though the soldier knew"

"Honour the Light Brigade"

"Into the mouth of hell"

Now, let's compare how the idea of patriotism is used in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is used in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

Read the poem and consider how the narrator feels about the war when he is in it.

 

Which quotations show that he feels fear, and which do not?

 

 Quotations associated with FearQuotations NOT associated with Fear
Stumbling
Rifle
Numb
Tear
Dignity
Bullets
Bewilderment
Alarm
Honour
Field

Both poems present the idea of the chaos of war.

 

In The 'Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet describes how the horses, guns, cannons and swords created a "Valley of Death".

 

 

battle

 

 

The following words create the impression of chaos. Can you match them to their definition?

Column A

Column B

Dismayed
Lose balance and stagger
Blundered
A stupid or careless mistake
Volleyed
Concerned and distressed
Plunged
Strike in quick succession
Reeled
Move quickly and energetically

This impression of chaos is also created in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

trenches

 

The following words all create the impression of chaos. Can you match the words to their definition?

Column A

Column B

Crackling
Series of short explosive sounds
Stumbling
Blinding bright light
Smashed
Confused
Dazzled
Breaking noisily into a lot of small pieces
Bewilderment
Tripping or losing balance
  • Question 1

battle

 

In order to identify the similarities in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and 'Bayonet Charge', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and match the questions to the correct answers below:

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Where is the poem set?
In Russia, during the Crimean War
What is a 'Light Brigade'?
Men on horses who were lightly eq...
Why did the men charge head first...
There was a miscommunication in t...
Why was the 'Light Brigade' so re...
For following orders, even though...
EDDIE SAYS
The poem tells the story of a brigade consisting of 600 soldiers who rode on horseback into the “valley of death” for half a league (about one and a half miles). They were obeying a command to charge the enemy forces that had been seizing their guns.
  • Question 2

soldier with a rifle

 

 

Now read the poem 'Bayonet Charge' and match the questions to their answers below:

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

What is the soldier doing in the ...
He is going over the trenches to ...
What is a bayonet?
A knife designed to fit on the en...
What happens to the soldier when ...
He forgets why he is there and tr...
What is the soldier "bewildered" ...
He is confused because the horror...
What does the "hare" represent?
It could represent the soldier - ...
EDDIE SAYS
This poem is about a soldier's experience of a violent battle. It describes his thoughts and actions as he desperately tries to avoid being shot. Although the soldier started off feeling strong and patriotic, he is soon overcome with fear!
  • Question 3

Both of the poems present the horror of conflict during battle.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet describes the battle as devastating for the soldiers.

 

toy soldier

 

The following quotations are all from 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'. Which one do you think supports the idea of the horror of conflict?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Into the mouth of hell"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Into the mouth of hell" creates the idea that the soldiers are riding to their deaths. Comparing the battle to "hell" creates a sense of the absolute horror of what they went through in order to fight for their country.
  • Question 4

Now, let's compare the horror of conflict expressed in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is expressed in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

The quotations below are all from 'Bayonet Charge'. Which one do you think shows the horror of conflict?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"He lugged a rifle, numb as a smashed arm"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "He lugged a rifle, numb as a smashed arm" has a dual meaning: he could feel numb to the pain he had to cause with the rifle. He could have literally smashed his rifle into his arm in his panic. This highlights both the soldier’s inexperience, and trauma at what he has had to do in the war.
  • Question 5

Both poems question the idea of blind patriotism - fighting a battle without fully understanding the reason for it.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' the poet describes how the soldiers go ahead with the battle, without questioning the order.

 

Choose one quotation which you think reflects the idea of blind patriotism.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Theirs not to make reply"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Theirs not to make reply" explains to the reader why the soldiers went into a battle which they knew they were unprepared for. The soldiers were trained to do what their commanding officer told them to - without question or "reply".
  • Question 6

Now, let's compare how blind patriotism is presented in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is used in 'Bayonet Charge'.

soldiers at war

 

 

The following quotations are all from 'Bayonet Charge'. Which one do you think creates the idea of blind patriotism?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Suddenly he awoke and was running"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Suddenly he awoke and was running" creates the impression that the soldier was in a daze of patriotism. The adverb "suddenly" suggests that now he is in the horror of war, he realises that he does not understand why he is fighting and only wants to survive the battle.
  • Question 7

Both poems look at the idea of patriotism in a different way.

 

Patriotism = devotion to your country.

 

In 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet creates a sense of patriotism and praises the soldiers for their loyalty. In 'Bayonet Charge', the poet looks at the death of patriotism and the terror of war - it is more of a criticism of the soldiers following orders blindly.

 

 

battle

 

 

Choose one quotation below which you think shows that the poet admires the soldier's patriotism.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Honour the Light Brigade"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Honour the Light Brigade" shows that the poet agrees with the decision that the soldiers made to go into a battle which they were unprepared for. The word "honour" shows the respect that the poet had for the bravery of the soldiers.
  • Question 8

Now, let's compare how the idea of patriotism is used in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', with how it is used in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

Read the poem and consider how the narrator feels about the war when he is in it.

 

Which quotations show that he feels fear, and which do not?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
 Quotations associated with FearQuotations NOT associated with Fear
Stumbling
Rifle
Numb
Tear
Dignity
Bullets
Bewilderment
Alarm
Honour
Field
EDDIE SAYS
Although the soldier is described as shedding a "patriotic tear" at the start of the poem, this soon turns to confusion as he realises the horror of war and questions why he is there. Unlike the soldiers in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', this soldier fights to stay alive, rather than out of patriotism for his country.
  • Question 9

Both poems present the idea of the chaos of war.

 

In The 'Charge of the Light Brigade', the poet describes how the horses, guns, cannons and swords created a "Valley of Death".

 

 

battle

 

 

The following words create the impression of chaos. Can you match them to their definition?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Dismayed
Concerned and distressed
Blundered
A stupid or careless mistake
Volleyed
Strike in quick succession
Plunged
Move quickly and energetically
Reeled
Lose balance and stagger
EDDIE SAYS
These words all create the idea that there was a lot happening on the battlefield and the soldiers were shocked by the ferocity of the attack. The chaos and confusion is down to the fact that the soldiers were not prepared or equipped to fight such a battle and they were attacked from all sides.
  • Question 10

This impression of chaos is also created in 'Bayonet Charge'.

 

trenches

 

The following words all create the impression of chaos. Can you match the words to their definition?

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Crackling
Series of short explosive sounds
Stumbling
Tripping or losing balance
Smashed
Breaking noisily into a lot of sm...
Dazzled
Blinding bright light
Bewilderment
Confused
EDDIE SAYS
These words all create an impression of chaos on the battlefield. The soldier is clearly in a state of shock at the horror, action and noises of everything around him - it seems as though he is unprepared for war. The poet creates a sense of the different noises and movements, which are all happening at once. That's the end of this activity! Well done!
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