Futility- Wilfred Owen

  • Created by: Vicki1996
  • Created on: 02-09-15 16:37
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  • Futility- Wilfred Owen
    • Tone
      • Admiration and compassion but towards the end: Negative, bitter and resentful
    • Themes
      • The value of life
      • The Futility of war
    • Background
      • Poem written before the end of world war 1. War poetry written for 2 reasons.
          • that young men who fight and die in wars are bravely fighting for their land of birth
          • Tell people the truth about war: it is cruel, ugly and destructive
      • The front line on a bright winter morning. A soldier has recently died though we don't know precisely how or when. Owen appears to have known him and something of his background and he ponders nature's power to create life, setting it against the futility of extinction.
      • Futility means to be of no use/ useless/ having no result
    • Summary
      • Reflect's soldier's desperate hope that his comrade is not dead
      • Gives instructions for comrade to move into sun.
        • Sun - awakening and growth
      • 3 questions -- speaker accepts soldier's death with bitterness and despair
        • FUTILITY
          • Putting dead man in sun is a useless act
          • Faced with consequence of war... is life itself futile?
          • Why was life created, if it must end in death... in such a death?
    • FORM
      • 14 lines, not a sonnet
      • Half - rhyme every second line:
        • " sun/once"
        • "once/France"
        • "unsown/snow/know"
      • No obvious rhyme - appears confusing
        • Illustrates soldier's confused emotions about friend dying.
        • Even punctuation odd & confusing
      • Metaphor
        • "Was it for this the clay grew tall?"
          • 'clay' metaphor for stuff of which humans are made
          • Not literally 'made of earth', but figuratively connected to nature and to earth
      • Assonance
        • 'rouse him now' reinforces futility of attempt
        • 'home-unsown' emphasises the loss
      • Consonance
        • "woke, once, the clays of a cold star"
          • Past tense emphasised
      • Symbolism
        • "fields unsown"
          • symbolises future - soldier cannot experience
      • Rhetorical Question
        • Full-nerved - still warm - too hard to stir?
        • Was it for this the clay grew tall?
        • To break earth's sleep at all?
      • Rhyme
        • sun-unsown once-France snow-now-know       seeds-sides     star-stir        tall-toll-all
      • Personification
        • 'earth's sleep' (line 14)
        • 'seeds' (line 8)
        • 'cold star' (line9)
        • 'woken' (line9)
      • Antithesis


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