John McCrae (1872-1918)

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John McCrae, In Flanders Fields. New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1921. Archival and Special Collections, University of Guelph (s0024Hb001).

In Rilla of Ingleside, Walter Blythe’s poem, “The Piper” speaks to the patriotic duty of joining the war to fight for ideals like freedom while also conveying the tremendous loss of life. McCrae was probably the model for Walter’s character, as the poem made him famous. Similar to Walter Blythe’s poem, these poets portray the brutalities of war while honouring the men who served. 

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae is one of the best known Canadian war poems. Written during the second battle of Ypres, the poem speaks to the sacrifices made by those who gave their lives in this battle. Many scholars believe that McCrae’s life and poetry inspired Montgomery to create the character of Walter Blythe.

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