Wilfred Owen poetry

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  • Created on: 27-08-14 12:52
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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 woke the man briefly, and his last moments were filled with memories of
his childhood on a farm. The sun is life-giving; it makes seeds and men grow.
"Cold Star" is also an oxymoron; a star may vary in temperature, but they are not
Fields half-sown is a metaphor for a life not fully lived. Many soldiers in WWI
were barely eighteen years old, and hadn't even had the opportunity to
experience life.
Was it for this the clay grew tall? - referencing Genesis 2.7: "And the Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground -- ;" so clay symbolizes man.
Broken into two 7 line stanzas, takes the form of a short elegiac (mournful) lyric the
length of a sonnet though not structured as one. Owen uses the sun as a metaphorical
framework on which to hang his thoughts.
The two stanzas contrast significantly with one another, the first recounting Owen's
experience of moving one of his men `into the sun' after being wounded on the
battlefield in hope of reviving him, as the sun (as a benevolent natural force
untouched by war) has awoken him every other day of his life. There is a contrast
between the idyllic pastoral imagery of `fields half-sown' and the `snow' of the
battlefield- the cold harshness of war depicted through nature- pathetic fallacy? The
second stanza describes the long arduous process of creation the world has been
through, and questions bitterly why nature bothered to create such a beautiful planet

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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 little?
"Dulce Et Decorum Est"
There were numerous technological advances in chemical warfare during the First
World War. In 1915, Germany introduced chlorine gas, which "is a powerful
irritant that can inflict damage to the eyes, nose, throat and lungs. In 1917,
Germany introduced mustard gas, caused internal and external bleeding.…read more

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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.
gas! gas! quick, boys! ­ an ecstasy of fumbling, -direct speech, sudden change into
the present tense is dramatic.…read more

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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 feel sad; they make him remember his childhood. It was not long ago
that he was like those boys running around with any cares, but it all seems like a
distant memory.…read more

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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 is trying to make sense of his
(37-39).-There were not a lot of people there to welcome him home; no one
wanted to see the negative aspects of the war.…read more

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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; they appear to
be happy when they kill someone, but that is contradictory to what we are brought up
to think about killing.…read more

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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 a strange land.
Pararhyme , the second rhyme is usually lower in pitch than the first, which
produces the effect of dissonance, and failure. groined/groaned ,and hall/hell
Alliteration helps to convey imagery and stress timing.…read more

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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 and the soldier. Aside from this line,
the narrator is the listener and the soldier is the orator.…read more

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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, neither do they have contempt or affinity for
the same.…read more

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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 mostly conversational style.
Satirised - the army, a clear target for its inappropriate practices, and warmongers,
militant clergy and so on whose call for others to be sacrificed and therefore
"whitewashed" carries its own stain.…read more


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