Wilfred Owen Poems Analysis
20th Century War Poems Analysis
I think that your production of a new book “Anthology for a Warred Youth”, the content it should include is of three sections. The three sections should consist of “Sending Men of to War,” “Horror within War” and “After effects of War”. The five poems you should include are “The Send-off,” “The Going of the Battery”, “Joining the Colours”, “Dulce Est Decorum Et” and “Disabled”.
The first poem “The Send-off” is written by Wilfred Owen. The poem is about men going off to war. It expresses an intense and ominous atmosphere. It is described as being done furtively “down the close darkening lanes”. The use of darkening by Owen suggests that it was done in the evening to obtain secrecy and privacy from any interference of a person. “And lined the train with faces grimly gay”, this third line and Owen has made use of the device oxymoron. The juxtaposition of the word ‘grimly’ against gay suggests that the men are happy to got to war. But one can assume that deep down inside the men are feeling miserable and are low in the level of confidence to proceed with going to the battle front. The usage of ‘gay’ has been applied to convey the device oxymoron, although the men are anxious about departure for war, they still try to show cheerfulness. Owen progresses further ahead into the poem and introduces people watching the men departure. “A casual tramp, stood staring hard.”, the indication we get from this line is that other individuals who have not entered to fight in war are the ‘ones’ better off than the soldiers. The tramp is described “staring hard”, he must have been thinking at the back of his mind, I am lucky that I am not rising my life to go and fight for my country. The use of “hard” indicates that the tramp really focused, gazed, glared not taking his eyes off and foreseeing the large number of men one by one lining up.”Sorry to miss them,” feeling guilt inside himself. “I should be down there to offer my services on behalf of the entire Great Britain. Owen says “then, unmoved, signal nodded and a lamp winked to the guard.” Here there is a usage of personification, meaning signals do not nod or wink, that is the action of a human being. As they went “so secretly, like wrongs hushed up,” Owen uses a simile here. The word “like” indicates this. There is a mention of mistakes “like wrongs ” when they departured. They were “stuck all white with wrath and spray” that could be assumed as preparation for death. The sisters and mothers as the “women meant who gave them flowers.” Assuming the young men would not return as they would result in being killed during war. The men will make their way “to the village wells,” many not to return alive and unable to identify their non-existent village due to war damage, travelling “up half known roads.” The rhyming scheme is ABAAB which is regular as it repeated in all of the verses.
The second poem “The Going of the battery” is written by Thomas Hardy. This is also a poem about war, it’s about the Boer War. “Gas glimmers drearily, blearily, eerily” is a section of this poem showing that this poem is highly rhythmic as it sounds like a song the whole of the poem. this speeds up the pace of the poem, when compared with Owen’s “The Send-off” it is more faster it is similar by having a regular rhyme scheme of ABCB while “the Send-off” ha a ABAAB rhyme scheme. This poem consists of seven quatrains while “Send-off” consists of a 3,2,5,3,2,5 line structure. It is also similar to the “Send-off” by showing these men as fully determined to go to war and fight on behalf of the entire United Kingdom. The women are unfortunate “first to risk choosing, them leave alone losing them,” they are unable to convince their men not to go to war. They have been described as going “beyond the South Sea…,” the use of an eclipse here conveys that the distance travelled will be large. The soldiers can not expect to return safely as many would have battled as the “rain came down drenchingly:” has a symbol of a colon, in poetic terms this is called caesura, it is only made productive for a change in mood or expressionism. It is similar by to Owen’s “Send-off” in aspects of women “choosing them”, their husbands and then as they proceed to prepare for war they are left to “leave alone losing them.” Owen describes this as “women meant who gave them flowers,” they had affectionate and deep passionate feelings for their men and were concerned by how young the men were. Hardy’s view differs from Owen’s by “each woman prayed for them,” each individual needed as much positive thought and needed the help of god to succeed. “nevermore will they come:,” who could die in agony, going unnoticed , piling upon existing rotting bodies, who “evermore are there now lost to us.” Not to return or maybe to develop physical and mental disabilities. In “The Send-off” Owen has used similar foundations upon the return of men but “may creep back, silent, to village wells,” they will feel mentally hanged and travel “up half known roads,” affected physically during war injury and also by the environmental surroundings not familiar with the men anymore. For weeks they have spent their lives in trenches, seeing so many lives lost. “The Going of the Battery” is more descriptive and goes more in-depth into the emotions of the soldiers hopes and how ‘each’ feel for one another. The external rhyming scheme is similar to the “Send-off” but Thomas Hardy has gone one-step, further and added an internal rhyming scheme. The use of this is to reflect the atmosphere of the surroundings of the soldiers. The internal rhyming scheme gives it a jaunting beat, a livelier, regular beat to this poem “The Going of the Battery.” Evidence of effective use of internal rhyming scheme is when described as “haunting us, daunting us, taunting us,” there is really powerful language and imagery used here there are many others like this in this poem. Within the final lines of this production by Hardy, the soldiers are not frightened or afraid “gravier things” which could lead to an early death. A use of an eclipse here slow down the speed of the poem and also causes more anxiety and a pause. The soldiers have no fears of as they are true ‘British’
men, not wanting to surrender or be brought in to submission, “hold use to bravier things,” we are expected to win this battle. As the soldiers were ready to departure they “stood prest to ” their woman, “with a last request to them,” in fear of not being able see their woman again incase they die during battle. It was a difficult task “hard their ways ,” but superstition and spiritualism “hand will guard their ways. The “hand” is being defines as the hand of god. Who is on their side, eventually guiding them safely to victory, which “time fulness shall show”. This poem has the reader interested all the way through it. There is always ‘tension’ in the background at all times,” but prophetic to sight.” The internal rhyming scheme has a great effect on the mood of this poem. The highly descriptive rhyming words make it easier for the reader to understand. The wide range of vocabulary Thomas hardy has used, along with caesuras does not bore the young reader or of my age.
The third poem “Joining the Colours” has been written by an Irish female Katherine Tynan. The title given to this poem “Joining the Colours” is appealing as it can be referred to as the Union Jack flag. In 1914 Ireland was still part of the British Empire. This poem consists of optimistic and pessimistic descriptions. It mainly involves how much success and glory the young man will have in war. They march in the streets singing and parading, completely focused and high in confidence with no fear on what is to come ahead. This poem also focuses on the soldiers not possibly returning from war. Just as “The Send-off” and “The Going of the Battery” whom both give descriptions on the feelings of the men. They are parading very happily “smooth cheeked and golden” which indicates that the men are positive, bright and full of happiness. When compared with “The-Send-off” there is a much livelier atmosphere and no so many intense emotions or tensions are rarely boldly existent. “The Going of the Battery” begins with an illustration of the sensibilities of the soldiers, “O it was sad enough, weak enough, mad enough”. There are two ideas being expressed within “food for shells and guns” There is imagery of two situations, the word ‘gun’ referring to food for guns almost bait. Then there is another impression we can get from “food for shells,” which is for the men to eat and survive on through war. As they parade the expressionism is “they go to a wedding day”. There is no mention of food in Hardy’s or Owen’s poems. Tynan can be referred as ambiguous by “the mothers sons,” which connotes two ideas. One of them being that they are young “mothers” sons and the second that they may not return home as they might possibly be killed in war. As they march the “street stares to see them.” forms the denotation of the device personification, Tynan is producing an image as though the street are ‘staring’ as a human being. These soldiers are producing carelessness optimism of the unexpected “too careless-gay for courage,” of the task which lies ahead of them. In each of the four quatrains the fourth line is short and seeks one attention. As they proceed further there they go “into the dark,” diffusing as the preparation of progress one stage further. Stanza three corresponds very well with the with the structure of stanza one’s opening. In the opening lines of both of these stanza’s “pipe their way to glory” and “all in-step so gay” suggest realism. But after a happy start both stanza’s progress and begin to show the “foolish and young” whom will now not stand much of a chance as “love cannot save” them. Fate awaits them, not too far ahead in their paths. It is different from “Send-off,” Owen focuses on the device of oxymoron. Thomas Hardy shows us the seriousness and the consequences faced in war such as when it rained “drenchingly but we unblenchingly turged on.” This line shows the determination and how strong minded the soldiers are. Hardy does not really create any happiness. His poem “The Going of the Battery” consists of in-depth descriptions, as an example “glimmers dreamily, bearily, eerily.” Hardy has focused on seeking the readers attention by using rhyming and highly descriptive language to really see and absorb the imagery faced by the soldiers. The adrenaline of the men in “Joining the Colours” is expressed by the euphoria of these men. As they departured the “poor girls they kissed” was due to sensual pleasure and feeling terrified of not seeing their lovers for the last time incase they die. This case of kissing and sensual feelings for one another exists similarly in both “The Send-off” and by the “women meant who gave them flowers,” in this instance it is the essence and smell of the flowers which are affectionate towards the soldiers. Hardy, ha is on similar lines but rather straight forward, “our pale faces outstretched for one kiss.” He has described how much the men really need a physical passionate feeling for a memorable kiss as they may not return to see the wonders of deep passion after war. A possible reason for selecting this poem in your new book “Anthology for a Warred youth”, is that when war broke out in August 1914 many people thought the war would be battled and reached a successful conclusion. But many of them wrong to think that the matter would be finished before Christmas. The reason so many me so young wanted to join the military force was because it was an opportunity to go abroad. Hardly anyone had travelled abroad in all the years they had lived for and it was a chance for a ‘break’. “Run with them:” a caesura has been put to use for a change in thought. It explains the sadness in as ” they shall kiss no more, alas!,” the women will be forgotten whilst in war and not recognised when they return. Owen uses a similar term as they return, to “village wells,” it will be “up half known roads.” The word golden is used twice, it forms the men as valuable, precious and perfect. This exists in both stanza’s one, line two and stanza three, line three. It trying to value the qualities of the men as perfect, but it can be said no individual is perfect, each individual his or her strong abilities and also his or her weaknesses. In reality no one can be regarded as perfect. This will teach the audience an argumentative case to form a debate on. They faded “into the mist,” unable to be seen by the naked eye, due to the smoke of the train. The mist maybe fog, the unknown, the mist of the ‘garden’ of heaven and death. Very slowly they fade away and almost disappeared “singing they pass,” from one life form to another ‘new’ life form. There is a regular rhyme scheme of AB AB through all of the poem. This regular rhyme scheme contributes to the marching of the men. All of these poems are similar when on the last line closing the poem. Owen used “Up half known roads.” Suggesting the men will lose contact with relatives and family. Thomas hardy conveys this by “Time’s fulness shall show,” meaning only when war has ended we will receive the results and know who the successful survivors will be.
The fourth poem that you should consider on including is “Dulce Est Decorum Et” also written by Wilfred Owen. This poem shows the suffering and pain experienced in war. It declares in a way that it is sad and not honourable to die for your country. The poem consists of four stanza’s all different in length The poem is about a march, it is quiet, but suddenly it is interrupted by gas bombs. It shows us if you fail to wear a gas mask you will be in tortuous pain and eventually die. It also firmly conveys how death is not honourable or glorious using irony. The imagery of dying of chlorine gas poisoning contributes to the realism, which produces it being more personal. “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,” bring a sickly revolting image to mind. This poem is very saddening once fully explores and read carefully aloud. It is basically describing a painful, but slow agonising death.
A mental picture of the horrible trench conditions is formed in stanza one. The men were “bent double, like old beggars under sacks,” due to the characteristics of the trenches, which were certain to be dug up again, several times to keep them in working order. The soldiers used shovel, they would be bent over to remove the soil braking off and falling into the trench. The trench may have not have been deep enough for the soldiers to walk in with a straight back position. These conditions are presented as the soldiers “cursed through sludge” as the floor of the trenches turned to mud when heavy rain occurred. Still, “many had lost their boots but limped on, blood-shod.” There was poor hygiene whilst in the trench. “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags” indicates the disease and sickness that the soldiers were forced to live n on a daily basis. The bodies of the dead and wounded had started to pile up, they just got buried themselves in the trenches, there was not much time available to the soldiers to accomplish the task of properly handling the bodies. The soldiers fought not only the enemy, but also the natural urge to rest as the “men marched asleep” and were “drunk with fatigue.” The men were suffering from exhaustion and stress so much that their brains were numbed as “all went lame, all blind.” Owen’s very first few words in this stanza one portray the revolting surroundings of the trench but also to convey the deadliness of war. Lines nine and ten exemplify a killer’s power as an “ecstasy of fumbling, which can only be avoided by “fitting the clumsy helmets just in time.” The gas mask was the lungs only line of defence from the deadly gas. Without it , death would capture a victim who would be “yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime. The simile is fire, that perfectly corresponds to the reader by telling them the unknown pain of breathing poisonous gas with the known pain of burning. Owen extends this describing the death as dreadful. He outlines the setting, “through the misty panes and thick green light as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.” The gas mask’s window must have made visibility unclear and blurry, once one had seen the green fumes it would be just a matter of time before he died. Owen develops this event further by making use of the metaphor of drowning . The poor scoundrel is obliviously not in over his head, but whether it be drowning in water or gas the feeling of impotence is the same. The reader ids made to think more evil when Owen continues with “in all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.”
These lines make the reader imagine that he or she is at the battle front in the trench, infront of a dying man , helpless. He is helpless in that nothing can be done for him except to let him die. Owen uses these dreams to really make the audience ‘absorb’ his imagination. Owen referrers to the reader, as if he is directly speaking to him by saying, “if I am smothering dreams youth could pace behind that wagon that we flung him in.” it can be assumed that he is telling us the audience that the dying man is no longer human, but a piece of meat. Owen uses the senses to describe the agony of walking behind a man barely alive lying on a death cart to “his tangling face, like a devil’s sick of sin,” and to “hear at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.” The use of the words writhing, hanging and gargling make the reader aware of the senses of the sight and hearing. You should use this poem as it is essential. It is this relationship that will cause the reader to be silenced and made more respectful of anguish of war. This portrait is meant to be the view to, the reader towards the glory of war. Owen alter describes that if a member of the audience had witnessed this event that he “would not tell with such high zest to the children ardent for some desperate glory.” The line Dulce Est Decorum Et means it is sweet to die for one’s country. All of these lines are aimed towards who would glorify war. In this poem you can sense Owen’s argument that serving and dying for you country is not honourable and glory, but it is painful and horrifying. His main point of writing this poem must have been that war should be taken seriously and not passed off as a child’s play.
Dulce Est Decorum Et is a piece of poetry, which is meant to show the disgusting, graphical details of war that are oblivious to the general public.