'Exposure' notes

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  • Wilfred Owen fought and died in world war 1
  • born in 1893
  • died in 1918, one week from the end of world war 1
  • poetry is characterised by powerful descriptions of the conditions faced by soldiers in the trenches
  • world war 1 is considered the first modern war and is remembered for its use of trench warfare and gas
  • Wilfred Owen was one of the 'war poets'
  • was diagnosed with PTSD and met Siegfried Sassoon in hospital
  • returned to the war and was killed at 26 years old


  • war- how death claimed the lives of so many soldiers
  • weather- freezing conditions are seen as being dangerous to the enemy. bullets are seen as less deadly than the cold
  • despair- men's loss of faith and death is seen as inevitable


  • eight stanzas with five lines each
  • last line of each stanza is shorter and indented which emphasizes its importance
  • disrupts the rythmn of the poem which uses hexameters (verses with 6 beats to a line)
  • first four lines follow rhyming pattern abba
  • regularity emphasizes the unchanging nature of daily life in the trenches
  • employs the half rhyme technique (rhymes that don't quite work)
  • unsettles the reader- echoes the experience of war
  • vocabulary is sophisticated
  • use of alliteration and assonance

alternative interpretations

The immediate and repeated use of the pronouns ‘our’ and ‘we’ show that Owen is describing a situation he was part of. The individual is sharing in the collective suffering and horror of the war. The poet has a sense of injustice about the


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