In Flanders Fields

This study guide will help you analyse the poem “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, composition, characters and speaker, language and style, rhythm and rhyme, imagery and metaphors, theme and message.

Presentation of the poem

Title: “In Flanders Fields”
Author: John McCrae
Published in: “Punch” (magazine)
Date of Publication: 1915
Genre: Poetry

John McCrae (1872-1918) was a Canadian poet, soldier, and physician. His best-known poem is “In Flanders Fields” which was inspired by the author’s experiences as a soldier in World War I. The poem is said to have been discarded by the poet, who was not pleased with its composition. But his fellow soldiers retrieved it and, subsequently, the poem has become known worldwide. The poem is now a symbol of Remembrance Day across the Commonwealth countries.


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War and duty

The theme of war and duty functions as a background for the theme of life and death. The poem explores the death of soldiers, who fought in Flanders during World War I, and creates a powerful image of duty and responsibility in war, as it imagines what the dead soldiers expect from the surviving ones. For their sacrifice not to be in vain, the dead soldiers should be honoured by the living ones by continuing to fight (l. 12) and by upholding to ideals of duty and responsibility represented by the torch (l. 14). Furthermore, not upholding these ...

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In Flanders Fields

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