Compare And Contrast: “Dead Man’s Dump” By Rosenberg And “dulce Et Decorum Est”
By Owen Essay, Research Paper
Compare and Contrast: “Dead Man’s Dump” by Rosenberg and “dulce et Decorum est”
In the poems “Dead Man’s Dump” by Isaac Rosenberg and “Dulce et Decorum
est” by Wilfred Owen the main concern of these poets is to relay the theme of
death. They want to let the reader feel the action, to see it with there own
eyes. Both stories portray realistic imagery in many ways. The conflict that
the dying soldier goes through in Rosenberg’s poem and the struggle that the
soldier has lunging for his mask in Owen’s poem shows death as imagery
In “Dead Man’s Dump,” you see the wheels of a truck crushing bones
already perished. “The wheels lurched over the sprawling dead,” they are
driving over a battle field to pick up the survivors. The drivers of the truck
are playing the role of God, by coming and saving the soldier’s from death.
Another reference to God in the same poem is when Rosenberg refers to the
“limbers,” wheels of a cannon being pulled, carrying the dead as “Stuck out like
many crowns of thorns,” symbolizing Jesus’s crown of thorns that he wore at his
crucifixion. Finally they hear a sound, one of the soldier is still alive. He
begs the cavalry to hasten their search and find him. The troops hear him and
begin to come barreling around the bend only to hear the dying soldier murmur
his last screams. In “Dulce,” the regiment are tired and marching like “old
hags” because they are fatigued. As the enemy discovers them they attack by
dropping a gas bomb on the men. As they scatter for their masks one man doesn’t
quite make it. He goes through an agonizing process of dying. Like the
soldier in Rosenberg’s poem his cries out for his troops, his friends, to help
him. To no avail does he get any help and the whole squad is forced watching
his excruciating process of death.
In both of these poems death comes, but in two different forms. In
“Dulce” death is the gas that is thrown upon them. In “Dead Man’s Dump” death
are the wheels of the truck that go crushing everything in its path. The main
part of the poem that shows this is when the soldier is cries out to the living
to come and save him. They dash off in search of the soldier only to make it
just as he is slipping into death’s hands. The last few lines of the poem read,
“We heard his last sound, and our wheels grazed his dead face.” Earlier in the
poem the wheels had been crushing bones like they were death taking all of these
lives. In “Dulce” death comes in a form of gas, yet it only claims one life.
The gas is referred to as “a sea of green.” The author points out that he
seemed to be drowning in the sea. Unlike Jesus and in a sense his fellow
troops who walked on water he was drowning. He has been chosen by death to
leave this world only to be whisked to his next.
These poems are similar to each other in the since that they both happen
in a time of war and they are soldiers. The difference of the two poems is the
main focus. When you read “Dead Man’s Dump” and you visualize it, not just read
it you see a battle field that is destroyed by war. Bodies lay everywhere. The
way the author describes the gruesome detail of the dead troops, “A man’s brains
splattered on a stretcher-bearers face;” one can literally see the guts.
Rosenberg uses spectacular imagery in that piece. The general picture that
Rosenberg tries to get across to the reader is that of the bodies just lying
around all over the ground. Carnage exists everywhere the reader can imagine.
The big picture is death, but Owens places specific detail on the soldiers’
wounds and the sounds of the poem. Bones crunching by the wagon looking for
survivors. Wounded soldiers yelling for the wagon to come and rescue them from
dying. In “Dulce” the main point Owen tries to relay to his readers is how
silly it is to die for your country. The poet places particular imagery on a
few aspects in particular: the gas, the clumsy soldier, and the fatigue. The
reader can see the soldier’s trudging down a dirt path, not muttering a sound
because they are practically asleep. As if given from God himself a gas bomb is
drops upon them. All of a sudden they are back alive scrambling for their masks.
You can see the gas start to rise as it dispenses. All of the infantrymen have
found their masks except one. The reader can see the gas start to take its
toll on the soldier, “Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, as
under a green sea, I saw him drowning.” Owen then goes into detail about the
dead soldier is vivid as he talks about blood gargling from his lungs and his
eyes writhes in his face. Many can tell you about a war and how horrid it was,
but few can put you in the war itself for you to experience.
Both poems deal with someone dying and not being able to be saved. In
“Dead Man’s Dump” the soldier at the end of the poem begs for the wagon to come
pick him up, yet they get to him just as he takes his last breath. In “Dulce”
the soldier that didn’t find his mask is implores the soldier who tells the
story to help him. Even though he dies right in front of him there can’t be
anything done to save him. This is like having the answer to life, but not
being able to use it because the dying soldier is right in front of him, but if
he’s gives him his own mask he will die himself. This is why Owen’s tries to
tell us that it is not honorable to die in battle.
These poems are similar, yet they do have some differences. The both
want to get across the same idea, but use different ways. The vivid narration
of these poems is what makes these poems unique. What better way to convince
someone that what the reader believe is the right way than to make them go
through the experience too. War is wrong and the way that Owens tell his
reasons why there is no way a person could disagree. Although Rosenberg
concentrates more on the dying process the soldier has to go through to die
(war), it is not the way a man should perish. The reader finishes these poems
with a sense of agreement that no one should die like these men died.