Synopsis of the poemThe persona in the poem is an old soldier. He is tired as he is old and weak. He and his people suffered in the past in their fight for freedom of their country and they made many sacrifices. People lost their lives and some remain nameless or unknown.
The persona, who believes that he will be in the wheelchair for the rest his life says he can only watch the happenings around him. Physically, he is helpless and he has no energy left. He was either seriously injured when he was a soldier or is very ill. He finds that times have changed and being a crippled man, it is too challenging for him to fight the injustice he sees around him. He is troubled by many lies being told everywhere.
Being highly spirited, he calls on the younger generation to wake up and fight on. They have to realise that they have to form lines or ranks irrespective of racial, religious and social differences to fight courageously for justice. He wants the young people who inherited the country's freedom to be united and denounce lies which may threaten the country.
The persona feels helpless that he is not heard. He urges the younger generation to fight or speak up for what is right because it is now their turn to do so.
The SettingThe poem is set after indenpence. The persona feels that the independence he has struggled for is now threatened by subversive elements.
Tone and moodIn the first stanza, the tone indicates that the persona is sad and weary because he is old and weak. The persona is also melancholic, reflecting on his past sacrifices he made for the country's independence.
In the second stanza, the persona voices his helplessness, anger and contempt because his country is facing threats.
The tone used in the third stanza is serious and demanding. The persona urges the present generation to form a united front to uphold the freedom that he and many others has fought for.
The persona ends by insisting that the younger generation continues to fight against injustice because he can no longer do so.
Themes1. PatriotismPatriotism is one of the themes of this poem. The people in this country have made a lot of sacrifices to fight for their freedom. They have achieved independence but now there are other threats such as deceit. This affects the country's safety. The persona calls on the younger generation to fight for justice and to speak up against deceit.
2. Being courageousAnother theme is being courageous. In the past, people made many sacrifices and fought bravely with the country's enemies for their freedom. Now, the persona urges the younger generation to be brave and fight against other threats in the country. He tells them to stand up and speak with courage.
3. UnityIn the past, people were united when they fought for independence. Now, the persona emphasises that the younger generation who has inherited a free country should unite to preserve their freedom. They should stand united by building a wall of people or forming ranks irrespective of racial, religious and other social differences. The "lines" in the poem, A Fighter's Lines refer to the persona's lines and the lines or ranks formed for unity. We have to be united and strong as in the saying, "United we stand, divided we fall".
Values1. We must be brave to uphold justice.The persona urges the younger generation to stand up against the widespread lies which are rampant in society today. This 'net of deceit' worries his as it can destroy the solidarity of the people. Therefore, he urges them to stand united and uphold justice to preserve the freedom and safety of the country.
2. We must be willing to make sacrifices to preserve our independence.In the fight for independence, the persona and other soldiers sacrificed and risked their lives when they fought for independence. Now, he is wheelchair-bound because he was either crippled in the war or is now old and sick. Now, he wants the younger generation to make sacrifices too to preserve their freedom.
3. We must be united to preserve our freedom.The persona wants the younger generation to stand united regardless of their differences to ensure their freedom.
* The above notes are courtesy of Curriculum Development Division, Ministry of Education Malaysia 2011** All these notes are updated on 26 July 2012.
A fighter’s lines