Wilferd Owen Essay, Research Paper
In “Mental Cases” Owen spends time in a hospital for shell-shocked veterans.
He describes how bad the veterans looked, as if they came from hell. It also seems as if the veterans are between life and hell, that they are “purgatorial shadows”. All the images seem to be close to death, “Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ teeth wicked”, “Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets”, “their heads wear this hilarious, hideous, awful falseness of set-smiling corpses”.
He says the veterans looked like that because of “Memory fingers in their hair of murders” and he emphasizes it by writing, “Multitudinous murders”.
He also describes many images from battle scenes, “Batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles”; “Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander”, “Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter”.
In “The Sentry” Owen describes an incident that happened in one of the battles. They were in a dug-out waist high with slush and they heard the shells shriek above them. Suddenly a bomb landed very close to their shelter and the sentry fell down the stairs into the slush. The soldiers thought he was dead so they dredged him up and he cried that he is blind.
I think that Owen wanted to show us how hideous it was to fight there because of “Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime”, “Slush, waist-high”, “Air remained stank old, and sour with fumes from wizz-bongs, and the smell of men who’d lived there years, and left their curse in the den, if not their corps?”, “Shrieking air”, “Dense din”.
In all this horror Owen still has to check out other posts where other people are injured and dying “How they bled and spewed, and one who would have drowned himself for good”.
From all those horrific images Owen seems to remember one special case that “Watch my dreams still”; when the sentry shouts “‘I see you lights!’”.
I think that in this part the sentry is trying to convince himself that he can see, while everyone knows he can’t- there are no lights.
I think that it’s touching that out of all the horrific war scenes Owens strongest memory is of the sentry who is trying to convince himself that he can see, when he actually cant.
Because of Owens poems I can see that there are other injuries beside body injuries in war, and how disgusting WWI was.