Owen context ww1



Physical, Mental and Spiritual Consequences for th

  • Shell Shock
  • Loss of control
  • Hallucinations
  • Nightmares
  • Constant fear
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of faith/belief
  • Questioning why they exist, philosophical thoughts
  • Disability
  • Hope and fear 
  • Death and injury

Owen himself spent time in the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh suffering from shell shock.

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The Realities of War

  • Trench conditions were appalling e.g. rats, rationing, corpses
  • Saw huge amounts of death – slaughter
  • Lost naivety
  • Death of comrades
  • Didn’t do much most of the time apart from sitting around waiting until they were given orders to go over the top
  • Felt fear at going over the top
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  • Comradeship, idea of fighting together for your country
  • Propaganda made people more patriotic
    • eg- Jessie Pope was a poet and children's fiction writer. She is identified as ''my friend'' in Dulce Et Decorum Est. Her ''patriotic poems epitomised the glorification of war that Owen so despised.''
  • Naivety
  • Glory and honour as the soldiers were fighting for their country
  •  Almost lost towards the end of the war
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The Politics of the War

  • Propaganda, encouraged people to sign up
  • Censorship
  • Hierarchy and social class in war with the soldiers
    • "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" The use of latin excludes the lower (therefore un/less educated) from much of the poetry at the time.
    • They were the only ones who could understand the true 'importance' of war?
  • Extensions into the power of the state in emergencies e.g. conscription, rationings, enemy aliens (changed names, e.g. royal household) found it difficult to live in the UK
  • Suffragettes, women wanting power, died down during the war a little so that they could help the war effort
  • Sassoon’s declarations shows politicians are the ones in charge, government inform generals with what to do, prosecuted for the wrong reasons
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Women in the War

  • Changes in the lives and role of women due to the suffragettes.
  • Women had a domestic role before the war
  • Nursing – saw what the injuries were like
  • Experienced loss on an enormous scale
  • The men missed the women
  • Change in sexual attitudes – liberation, soldiers may never come back
  • 1918 – women had the right to vote
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The importance of the war for Owen

  • Had he not been a soldier, he would not have met Siegfried Sassoon in the Craiglockhart Hospital. Until he met Sassoon he lacked a subject that he could feel strongly about, he requited 'emotion recollected in tranquillity’, so he sent his mind back to the experiences he had undergone at and near the front earlier in 1917.
  • Some of his first poems to show Sassoon's influence were  ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ (September) and ‘Dulce et decorum Est’ and ‘Disabled’ (October).
  • ‘Strange Meeting’ is perhaps the only wartime poem in which a soldier meets the man he has killed and hears the truth from his ‘enemy’ who is now, too late, his ‘friend’
  • Protest was not enough: ‘the pity of war’ had to be demonstraited– as Shelley had said, pity enabled people to enter imaginatively into the suffering of others.
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