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This poem concentrates on the meaning of existence, and the futility of war and
inevitability of death.

The sun is personified in this poem; Think how it wakes the seeds- Woke once
the clays of a cold star. (8-9)which is a motherly thing to do and whispering.
The sun…

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and made our bodies so complex- `full-nerved' when we are no better than animals
and go to great lengths to destroy one another. So much has gone into the making of a
man ("so dear achieved"), how can the sun that has done all this in the end do so…

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Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, -ironically subverts the reader's
expectations of soldiers as upright, well to do, polished, etc. sacks implies the weight
of responsibility they bear- young men misled by the nature of war (who's for the
game), shows their reduced status as well as their stature.…

Page 4

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A soldier who came home from WWI missing limbs, and how this disability
changed his life. It was common that soldiers would return home missing limbs or
severely wounded,
(lines 1-6). - In the dark, he doesn't have to face reality. The voices of boys and it
made him…

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In line two, "carried shoulder-high" is from Houseman's poem "To an Athlete
Dying Young." The narrator is reminiscing about when and why he originally
enlisted. It was after a football game and a drink of brandy with soda that he
decided to join. When he says "He wonders why" he…

Page 6

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They had mud that was dried and cracking on their cheeks when they smiled.
"Cracked" is an example of onomatopoeia. Owen describes the soldiers as wretches
(miserable unhappy people) but ironically these wretches are smiling. The smiling
could mean that they have lost their ability to tell right from wrong;…

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"Strange Meeting"

One image plagued his dreams, which was the idea that war was a sort of "mouth of
hell," and it was this image that inspired Owen's poem Strange Meeting.

Owen's poem is also reminiscent of Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Revolt of Islam,
which also depicts a journey through…

Page 8

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"Dead smile" is an oxymoron; if one is dead then that person can't smile, but the
narrator uses it to describe how empty the soldier's soul is.

"Strange friend," I said, "here is no cause to mourn." (line 14) This line marks the
beginning of the dialogue between the narrator…

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The format of the poem in the form of an ode adds to the cynicism of the poem.
Since a ode is primarily meant to praise a person or aspect.

The poet begins the poem by claiming that -- Happy are those soldiers Who have
remain unaffected by compassion,…

Page 10

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A heavy beat at the start of line 1 promises drama to come. Then from line 5 the
tension abates leading to a more reflective tone in the third stanza. The
onomatopoeic "rapped" and "snapped" add to the initial feeling of menace. Fairly
constant rhyme and rhythm aid the poem's…


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