Notes on 'Futility'- Wilfred Owen

Notes on the poem 'Futility'- Wilfred Owen, from 'Moon on the tides'

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Futility- Wilfred Owen
What?
o The sun trying to wake the dead soldiers, but the Earth knows it's no good
Mood/tone?
o Depressing
o The sun is meant to be happy- but it isn't
o Doesn't show the violence of the battle- sombre/ reflective
Language
o `Kind old sun'- personification. During the war the sun gave a bit of warmth
and happiness even during fighting
o `move him' command/order
o Line 8- sun commands seeds to grow, just like an army officer
o Day=earth
o Still warm- could have just dies or he could still be alive
o Life took so long to develop on earth and they're being shot down. War is
destroying all life- futile losses
o `awoke him once'- trying to wake him again
o Clays=earth
o Fatuous- foolish/silly
o Awoke, woke, rouse, woke- all trying to get him to wake up and then in the
last stanza- sleep, like giving up
o Very philosophical
Message- what is the point? With just a bullet they can die
Each stanza starts with a command
V1 starts "move him", we don't know who "he" is. Intrigues the reader
In past+ present tense- shows life before and during war
`the kind old sun' shows how helpless the soldiers are- that they have to rely on the
sun to wake him
The sun has seen it all before
V2 lots of punctuation- philosophical
`it'- the sun `wakes the planet' bought it to life
`limbs'- taken a long time to create and grow and is gone so quickly with death
War is futile and so is trying to wake the soldier- he is most likely to be dead but
they try to wake him anyway
Why do we exist, live, if we are going to be shot down and killed
Owen is a WWI poet but he relates to all wars
Owen only published 5 poems whilst alive

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