Wilfred Owen

’s Poetry Essay, Research Paper

Wilfred Owen was strongly against war. He could not see what it achieved, only the suffering it caused. After becoming shell-shocked in 1917 he took a hatred to war and began to write poetry to express his sentiments on the subject. As he had been through it, his poetry was very impressive and showed a lot of feeling. He also spent some time at a hospital in Edinburgh which was part of his inspiration for some of his poems.

In Wilfred Owen s poem The Send-off he talks about soldiers leaving for the front line that he expects will never come home. Owen uses words like they and all to give us an idea of the numbers. These words also show the anonymity of the many soldiers that were sent off. The public were not happy to see them off, but instead were somber and depressed. The men who were leaving were grimly gay with a low moral. They knew what their fate would be. The few that did manage to return home, were not met with a party, but were left to find their own way home.

Dulce et Decorum Est is about the type of conditions the soldiers endured. It concentrates on a battlefield incident and points out the horror of war. Owen uses the present participle to prolong the actions fumbling , stumbling , drowning , choking . This helps to create a painful image in our minds and shows us some of the horrific actions these men went through. The poem shows the lack of moral, like The Send-off , and also the inadequate conditions and the death that men had to put up with every day. The last line sums up what Wilfred thinks of war. The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. -It is sweet and honorable to die for one s country. The capital letter on the word Lie tells us that he knew that phrase as a lie, and naturally called it that. The poem describes one of the deaths of a man and it does not give the author s opinion. This lets us imagine the horror and pain of flinging a dying man s body into a cart. This technique is often used in many of his poems. This poem completely wipes away the idea of structure and uniformity in the army and instead gives us an image of men trudging through the trenches, oblivious to their surroundings.

Wilfred Owen saw the stupidity of the sergeants in the army when they were picked on for having one small spot of dirt on their clothes. The poem Inspection is all about the irony of war. The men were expected to die for their country, not bleed. It is about a man coming on parade with a spot of blood on his uniform, which was seen as dirt , and the sergeant yelling at him for it. The men were expected to die for their country, not bleed. In this poem Owen uses simple words to convey his feeling towards the sergeant. It shows his dislike towards people who were so petty and also his sadness throughout war.

In the title Anthem for Doomed Youth we see what Owen predicts for the soldiers. It suggests no future in the life that would be ahead of young men. He compares the death of men to that of cattle being slaughtered, which gives us a sense of the numbers and also the stupidity of war. Owen uses alliteration and onomatopoeia ( stuttering rifles rapid rattle ) to try and show us what the guns were like. He talks about these sounds as being the mourning bells and also revenge for the people that have been killed in the wars. In this poem he is saying that that dying in battle is not the way it is supposed to be, but even so, he knows that the men he sees leaving will never return. The guns are personified in this poem as though they have a mind of their own. This helps us blame it on the circumstances instead of the soldiers.

In Wilfred Owen s poem Disabled we hear the tale of a young soldier who has come home from the war severely wounded. The poem talks about his life before, during and after war and deals with the problems that many soldiers faced after arriving home. Before the war he talks about the man having a wonderful, happy life, but after the horrific event he is left without any limbs, friends or even a life- only an existence. It faces the aftershock and loneliness that men faced when they came home and how Owen thought that they should be treated (i.e. with loud and happy cheers to celebrate the victory). But instead people did not want to talk about it and so Owen expressed his feelings in his poems.

Wilfred Owen was a man who strongly disagreed with the concept of war. He was one of the few people that expresses his feelings, and he did this by writing poetry. Many of his poems tackle the pain and distress caused by war, but a lot of them show up the pointlessness of it. In his poems we imagine the horrific deaths and injuries that they had to endure. Poems such as these help modern-day readers to see what people went through in the war, and not to just neglect them as people did in Disabled . These poems are only about one man s life and experiences. Millions of men had lives worse than this, and often we do not even want to think of the numbers.



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