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Analysis and comments on Buttons by Carl Sandburg

[1] 2

Comment 11 of 11, added on September 28th, 2015 at 10:28 AM.

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Comment 10 of 11, added on September 3rd, 2015 at 2:16 PM.

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Comment 9 of 11, added on July 18th, 2014 at 10:38 PM.

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Comment 8 of 11, added on October 12th, 2011 at 5:10 PM.
A little background perhaps

I read buttons, and it is clear that the buttons indicate soldiers, but
from what conflict I wondered. Being an American and egocentric, I
automatically assumed that it must have been an American conflict, however,
I discovered that in 1904-1905 there was a war between Russia and japan,
and theoretically, the colors of the buttons would be an era-appropriate
representation of these countries. Sandburg was a member of the socialist
party at that time, so it seems appropriate that, although he was not a
member of the nations in the conflict, he possibly was interested in the
expansion of the communist party.

Robyn from United States
Comment 7 of 11, added on February 28th, 2011 at 9:47 PM.

Some posters have suggested this poem was published in 1905 and has nothing
to do with the First World War. They are absolutely incorrect. Sandburg
only began publishing in 1916, and this poem is from his Chicago Poems (his
first collection), explicitly titled "War Poems, 1914-1915." It is quite
obviously a poem about the suffering inflicted upon nameless soldiers who
are represented on a news bulletin as a meaningless blob that has more to
do with military objectives than the reality of warfare.

Chris from Canada
Comment 6 of 11, added on March 13th, 2009 at 11:44 AM.

This poem was published in 1905, and is a commentary on American expansion

Emily from United States
Comment 5 of 11, added on November 27th, 2008 at 4:28 AM.

The different colours suggest the enemies. The agony is described between
brakets.The tragedy is reflected by the boy, and he gave information.

mirta sosa from Argentina
Comment 4 of 11, added on March 13th, 2008 at 10:51 PM.

The poem was published in 1905, years before the start of the Great War. So
it obviously has nothing to do with a war that hadn't happened yet. It
would appear to be a much more general critique of wars in general and a
discontinuity between people fighting a war and people "supporting" a war.

American Student from United States
Comment 3 of 11, added on May 9th, 2007 at 12:54 PM.

The buttons have more to do with there not being an understanding of war at
home, where people have never experienced its horrors. The freckled face
boy is making fun of those dyeing soldiers, because if the buttons are
moved one inch west, then it means the allied advanced was beaten back, and
the Americans lost land. This poem talks about that lack of understanding,
and the glorified aspects of war before the peace movement and
Vietnam.(Though the grisly aspects were more understood then say, at the
beginning of WWI)

Axel from United States
Comment 2 of 11, added on March 19th, 2006 at 10:10 PM.

the buttons in this poem symbolize how the high authorities are greedy for
land and measure success on how much land they have gotten victory over and
not how many lives it has costed them

English Student from United States

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Information about Buttons

Poet: Carl Sandburg
Poem: 7. Buttons
Volume: Chicago Poems
- War Poems (1914-1915)
Year: 1914
Added: Feb 4 2004
Viewed: 683 times

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