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Slide 2

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Stanza 1
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Dramatic opening through use of power visual image. Pain and moving awkwardly. Not fit, healthy
and glorious like propaganda posters showed.
Simile undermines stereotypes image of soldiers as young and fit. Suggests they are
filthy and weak.
Soldiers have lost weight due to malnutrition ­ uniform hanging off them.
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Simile conveys how men have become unrecognisable, their masculinity and youth
destroyed.
Compares men to sick women showing how they are unrecognisable; they have lost
their masculinity, youth, health and are now outcasts to society.
Alliteration for emphasis, a hard, staccato sound to echo the harsh mood of theses
lines and soldier's misery. It stresses echo the brutality of the soldiers' destruction,
their transformation from healthy young men into `beggars' and `hags'.
Onomatopoeia implies how heavy and difficult the ground is to cross.
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
Personification suggests death is haunting the men. They live in peril. It is a constant
presence wherever they go; they have no rest.
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.…read more

Slide 3

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Stanza 1
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
Metaphor conveys the men's exhaustion, they are so tired they are
barely aware of what they're doing or their surroundings.
The poor physical state of the men is clear, their feet are caked in
mud and blood. The phrase has echoes of `bloodshed'. Tone is
bitter and sarcastic.
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Metaphor suggests how the men are so weary they are staggering
and uncoordinated, possibly stumbling or slurring their words.
Repetition of `all' emphasises every man suffered.
`limped on' Connotations of pain and suffering.
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Metaphor suggests how the men are so weary they are staggering
and uncoordinated, possibly stumbling or slurring their words.
Onomatopoeia suggests a warning sound but also that the shells
are mocking the men.
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Owen develops his description of the soldiers' poor physical
condition by conveying how they are so exhausted they are
unaware they are under attack.…read more

Slide 4

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Stanza 2
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling
Series of short exclamations conveys panic - a sudden contrast to verse 1.
`ecstasy' `fumbling' - Words implies madness. This is what is in Owen's
mind at this point.
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
Transferred epithet conveys how the men struggle to put on their gas
masks in time.
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime. --
Word choice tells us how the man is thrashing about in agony and distress
as it burns his skin and enters his lungs.
Simile emphasises the pain the man is in- as if he was being burned alive.
The image also has connotations of hell.
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
Reader sees event from Owen's perspective- makes poem more immediate
and emotive
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
`Green sea' is green gas swirling about. Gas literally caused them to drown
in their own blood so the word is appropriate.
An extended metaphor describes the man choking to death- unable to
breathe, he falls about. Owen describes having flashbacks to the death of
his comrade highlighting how the impact of war lasts over many years and
across generations.…read more

Slide 5

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Stanza 3
Stanza three is structured as two lines only. This indicates a shift in time as
the narrator relates how many years after the war he still recalls this traumatic
event. This emphasizes how the impact of war is felt for many years, and
many generations.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight
Death is described in clinical detail.
Conveys a sense of guilt that he can do nothing to help his friend.
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
`plunges at me...' - These words continue the metaphor introduced
in Stanza two and helps us picture the man falling about,
desperately trying to draw breathe.
`Guttering' refers to a candle spitting before it goes out, suggesting
coughing and spluttering and symbolising the young man's life
being extinguished.
Onomatopoeia imitates the soldier's attempts to draw breath.…read more

Slide 6

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Stanza 4
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Poet feels suffocated and disturbed by memories.
Directly addresses reader.`Pace behind' suggests funeral procession.
Owen directly addresses the reader, forcing them, to imagine the horror
of watching the young soldier dying in agony.
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
Emotive word choice implies soldiers are treated with no respect as if
disposable.
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
Alliteration emphasises the hideous sight of the man suffering. Eyes
rolling as he's in pain.
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
Simile conveys how even Satan would be disgusted by this sight.
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Word choice suggests sudden movement- implies pain the man suffers.
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Cud is brown substance cows regurgitate. The gas tastes bitter and
causes the man to bring up a brown substance as he coughs up his own
lungs.
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --…read more

Slide 7

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