ICSE English poem — Small Pain in My Chest

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106 Responses

  1. Aditya jaishankar says:

    It’s remarkable to see such an amazing site. No signing up etc. Which I would do if asked as I’m just appalled with how detailed well written etc everything is. Thank you. Pls keep doing this. It is one of a kind.

    • Satya Prakash says:

      Thanks Aditya for your appreciation. Keep reading my posts. Soon, I will resume my writing on current affairs. I am sure you will like them.

      • Tejas Page says:

        Can u plz help me with this question: How has MIchael Mack clearly brought out the physical, psychological and emotional agony of the soldiers who fight it out on the battlefield?

        • Satya Prakash says:

          I wish I could write it for you, but I am resting after a heart surgery. However, if you send me your answer, I can modify it and mail it to you.

  2. ivan says:

    could you please help me with with the symbolisms inthe poem??

  3. Shweta Singh says:

    Thank you so much for this. It is very well explained and has been a great help. Looking forward to more of your posts.

  4. Anshika says:

    Thanks a ton for such a wonderful and subtle explaination! A small favour from you- can you please include the analysis of the poem Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening?
    Would deeply appreciate if you help me with this.

  5. Vanitha says:


    Is the notes available for all subjects for Icse.


  6. varsha says:

    it was really useful 4 my exam….

  7. MIchael Mack says:

    Thank you so much for your analyzation of my poem. You did an excellent job!

  8. ana says:

    Thank you so much for this site! A small favour from you could you please post on the important events in the poem small pain in my chest

  9. ana says:

    Thank you so much

  10. Shivika says:

    This is really a good site and helped me a lot in my project

  11. Diksha says:

    Thank you for the notes.
    Tiny favor: could you please post the themes of the poem since it’s not really clear in my book

  12. Aditi says:

    This really helped me
    P.S.Could you please do me a favour by summarising the whole poem in a few words?If you could it would be a great help.Thanks…

  13. Kulsum says:

    Really really helped me understand the poem well
    Thx 😄😊

  14. Pritix says:

    Hi the matter is greater but can u even explain the relevance if the poem in today’s world? Please reply as soon as possible.

  15. Advaid says:

    Very nice website,
    Could you please post what is the significance of the title small pain in my chest ?

  16. Mayank Kumar says:

    hi, the above note helped a lot can u pls tell me that
    the narrator is talking about a soldier boy in the Asian dirt.Does it have any special significance?? please reply s soon s possible

    • Satya Prakash says:

      America was involved in military conflicts in Asia during and after the WW2. Later,it fought a long and bloody war in Vietnam,and recently in Afghanistan. It is difficult to guess which ‘Asian soil’ the poet is alluding to. It could be Japan, Korea,the Philippines, Afghanistan or Vietnam.

  17. ishika says:

    what does it was a deeply moving experience to see a young soldier signing off from life with all guns blazing mean…..

  18. ishika says:

    does dis line make sense ? when death knocked on his door, he ran out from the window, but not for too long due to the excruciating pain…….

  19. shreshta says:

    hi !
    do you have notes for a doctors journal also…..if no ..can you please upload it ?

  20. Rhea says:

    This explanation really helped alot…

  21. Aspyn Hunter says:

    Could you please answer some of my questions ASAP

    Q1. Why do you think the poet used the phrase ‘soldier boy’?
    Q2. Do you think the poem is just about the pain of soldier or it is something more than that?
    Q3. What does the narrator mean when he says ‘ our wounds pressed against each other … the large one in my heart and a smaller one in his chest’?What does ‘large one’ refer to?
    Q4. Explain “the night exploded…”.
    Q5. what tells you that the soldier was losing his consciousness? Why was he confused about it being day or night?
    Q6. Do you think the narrator mourns the death of a soldier or the atrocities of war inflicted upon mankind?
    Q7. What is the message that the poet wants to convey through this poem?

  22. neeraj mayur says:

    first of all i am very thankful for the information which you have posted on this website and i just wanted a small favor from you. if u can please help me.
    please post the character sketch of the soldier in the poem and the war and effects of war in contrast to the poem “small pain in my chest”.

  23. Swati says:

    Really notes helped me a lot.thank u so much sir.

  24. Garima says:

    well, great work…but i got a question in my text that says”small pain in my chest is an anti-war poem. justify it by giving illustrations from the poem”. can u help???

    • Satya Prakash says:

      The question does not make sense at all. The poem does not have a single word against war. Instead it heaps praise on the grit, camaraderie , tenacity and self-esteem of a young recruit. This is why this poem is sung in all ceremonies of U.S.army held before the burial of dead soldiers. The object is to inspire the armed forces to fight to the last and never give up, till the last blood. So, how can it be an anti-war film?

    • Utkarsh Singh says:

      I too need this answer for my project

  25. Yedhu Krishnan says:

    Question-Describe briefly the experience of the narrator on the battle field and what he realises at the end of the poem. The answer should be 40 lines and i need it by June 7th please

  26. Aditya singh says:

    beautiful poem and excellent analysis

  27. Ayush Singh says:

    Can u help me with the answers of the following questions:
    Q1: Explain the last two lines of the extract. What is the symbolism of the wounds?
    Q2: How did the soldier and the narrator meet?
    Q3: How did the soldier end up with a small pain in his chest?
    Q4: How is the death of the soldier described by the poet?
    Q5: Give a character sketch of the soldiers. Support your answer with suitable examples from the text.

  28. Arunima says:

    Can you please tell me how does the poem portrays the theme of death?

    • Satya Prakash says:

      In short ..
      Human body gets destroyed, not the spirit, nor the soul. The young recruit falls in the battlefield till the flame of his youth departs, but his defiance, valour and his true soldier’s spirit does not ;eave this mortal earth. He breathes his last craving to carry on his fight so that his mother and wife do not think small of him. So dedicated was he to hold aloft his flag of a chivalrous soldier. This is why his immortal story of courage is sung in the funeral of dead soldiers.No doubt, those who hear it on those occasions have their blood rushing in their veins The young recruits sacrifice will continue to inspire countless soldiers for all times to come.

  29. Utkarsh Singh says:

    Very well sir satya Prakash for your brilliant analysis and help everyone is fully satisfied with your answers.Thanks a ton👌👍

  30. Arka says:

    Thanks, it helped me a lot in scoring good marks in exam.
    The explanation is really good

  31. Mihika says:

    Can you include the analysis of the poem “Enterprise” as well.

  32. Mihikaa says:

    Thank you so much

  33. Gurpreet says:

    Really appreciate your efforts and work!
    Sir could you please email me summary of this poem for abt 16marks answer.

  34. Adrita Das says:

    Sir can you please answer the questions _”why did the soldier consider his paintings and small one?”&”how does the poem satirises the futility of war” sir it’s urgent. Please reply fast

    • Satya Prakash says:

      The question appears to have some mistakes. What do you mean by ‘painting’? Also, write ‘satirize’, not ‘satirise’.
      After you clarify, I will write the answers.

  35. Adrita Das says:

    Sorry sir the above questions went wrong because of spell-check in my keyboard. Here are the questions.
    1. Why did the soldier consider his pain a small one?
    2.How does the poem satirizes the futility of war?

    • Satya Prakash says:

      1. Why did the soldier consider his pain a small one?

      The young soldier was a gritty young man who was witnessing the battlefield horrors for the first time in his career. He was grievously hurt, and must have been in very great pain. However, despite being moments away from his death, in spirit and body, he was extremely resolute and valiant. He truly was proud of being a worthy son of his mother, and a chivalrous husband of his young wife. So, he defied his misfortune, and vowed to carry on fighting.
      For him, his soldier’s life was not finished yet. So determined was he in his resolve that his fatal wound appeared to him as a small scar.

      2.How does the poem satirizes the futility of war?

      The sacrifice of this valiant young man was exemplary and inspiring, but what value do such wars dd to mankind, other than more bloodshed and more revenge? Wars, historically have solved no existential issues of people other than devastating life and property in mammoth scale. When we retrospect on this young man’s courage and valour, we bow our head i respect, but what else does it yield in terms of job, health, environment? Nothing.

  36. Adrita Das says:

    Sir please write the answers. It’s urgent. My exams are starting on 16th August.

  37. Adrita Das says:

    Thank you sir.It helped me a lot.

  38. rajvamsi says:

    Sir, can you give comparision and contrast between A small pain in my chest with WIlfred owen’s poem, based on theme, writing style.
    And also 3 visual and 3 auditory imagery used in the poem “A small pain in my chest”

    • Satya Prakash says:

      Well, this is a tall order for me, as I have no qualification in English literature. Yet, I will try.

      • Rajvamsi says:

        Thank you Sir, Look forward for it as I need it for my project work

        • Shourya says:

          HEY RAJ
          I TOO NEED IT BRO!!!!

        • Satya Prakash says:

          Comparing Dulce et Decorum Est
          by Wilfred Owen and A Small Pain in My Chest by Michael Mac

          a. Both poems are a viewer’s account of a battlefield scene. The times are, however, different. Wilfred Owen wrote his poem, possibly as the World War 1 was razing on. Michael Mack wrote his poem during a much later period, possibly during World War 2 or the Vietnam War.
          b. Both authors capture the horrors and the brutality of war. The injury, death, and the devastation caused by the war are vividly described. In particular, the anguish and the trauma a dying soldier feels in his last moments are narrated by the authors. It leaves the reader shaken and devastated. Ultimately, the dying soldier is the main protagonist in both cases. It is his miserable condition that moves the reader.
          c. The similarity ends here. A Small Pain in My Chest eulogizes valour, the never-say-die instinct, the esprit de corps, and the tenacity of a young recruit. Quite clearly, the young brave soldier sets a new bench mark in gallantry. Through his defiance, he inspires other fighting men to emulate him. Unlike the way many describe the poem, A Small in My Chest is not an anti-war film. It is a poem that calls for action. It stirs the lite ning in soldiers to never let down their arms, never capitulate, nor surrender. This is the reason why this song is played by the U. S. army each time a soldier returns from the battlefield in is coffin. The poem is totally silent on the futility of war, and the stupidity of the politicians who start a war, only to please their egos.
          d. Dulce et Decorum Est, on the other hand, is definitely an anti-war poem. In the back of his mind, Alfred Owen has nothing but scorn for the leaders and the royalty who start a war to please their egos. The war that the poem is based on was fought with all the deadly weapons and lethal gases. Soldiers died like rats. Injured soldiers could neither be evacuated, nor treated properly. The soldiers jumped into the war because they vainly assumed that victory in the war would bring glory to their motherland. This notion was wickedly and deceitfully propagated by the kings and emperors to flatter themselves.
          The soldier dies. He falls, unsung, un-honored, and un-loved. The message he conveys is that wars are futile tools for conflict resolution. Nothing, but severe mental and physical suffering comes out of a war. There is no call for determined and dogged fight.

          Conclusion [Write yourself.]
          Proof-read it properly. I haven’t given it a second reading.

    • Satya Prakash says:


  39. No name says:

    Sir can u plzz give an outline of the poem….like a note about the writer ,the war on which it is based and the ultimate message of the poem…..I would kindly request you to post it as soon as possible.

  40. Jahnavi.S says:

    dextrously written n explained…this one was really helpful…pls continue to help and share such wonderful thoughts with students like us…

  41. Sreyan says:

    Could you pls give me the answer of the question :-
    Is the soldier boy really aware of the wound? How can you say so ?

    • Satya Prakash says:

      He is surely aware, but he is defiant, and too focussed on fighting to worry about it. His valour and spirit hide his pain.

      • Sreyan says:

        Thank you
        But you did not give the ans of HOW CAN YOU SAY SO ?

        • Satya Prakash says:

          When the other soldier asked him about his condition, the young recruit admitted that he had indeed sustained a wound in his chest, but it was not such a serious one. Exhibitting rare courage and grit, he said that he wanted to fight on despite his failing strength.

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