In Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “The General,” It is clear that the identity of the persona are soldiers of some sort of English army. On the literal level, they were talking about the general. They were even mimicking the way the general greet good morning. On the metaphorical level, it could be that the soldier was addressing those who glorify the war.
There was a cheerful tone in the general’s first few lines. There was even an exclamation point to signify the cheerfulness of the general.
Then the soldiers would supply the grim mood with the following lines. This contrast of tone between the soldiers and the general generates a beautiful paradox that makes the poem interesting. The poem was mostly about paradoxes about the war.
The poem was about the time of the First World War.
The names “Jack” and “Harry” suggest that the poem happened in English vicinity. The title of the poem “The General” supplied the readers what to expect, that the poem was about war.
The word “swine” was used as an allusion to soldiers that are almost living in dug trenches full of mud.
There was certainly a rhyme schemed that was followed. The rhyme scheme was “a/b/a/b/c/c c.” I find the rhyme as excellently executed. It sounded natural. It didn’t sound contrived at all.
The beauty of this poem is its honesty and truthfulness. I happen that the author Siegfried Sassoon did really fight in the First World War. This poem is not just a poet’s expression of the depressions that the war has brought. This poem was written by an active participant of the war who experienced the horrors of warfare firsthand. This poem was done by an individual who had witnessed his friends’ heads being cracked open by riffle bullets.