exposure notes

  • Created by: loupardoe
  • Created on: 30-12-16 09:42


  • describes the experiences of a group of soldiers in a trench in the first world war
  • soldiers are freezing and exhausted from listening out in the silence
  • feel attacked by the weather and conditions, but there are no changes in the war
  • although they occasionally see bullets, they feel more at risk from the cold
  • they think about home, about how 'crickets' and 'mice' are indoors and warm while they are not able to get inside
  • losing their faith in God because of their predicament
  • they are out in the cold spiritually, emotionally and literally
  • frost settles on them at night and some of them will die

key aspects

  • repetition in the final line of each stanza creates a chorus like effect and emphasises the soldier's monotonous experience
  • the viewpoint owen chooses clearly shows the soldiers as a united group through use of the pronouns we/us/our
  • this is further supported by the present tense, which gives the poem immediacy
  • the considerable use of half-rhyme has an unsettling effect
  • owen uses alliteration of soft sounds- particularly sibilance- to support the impression of near silence and whispering
  • the poen powerfully evokes the images and sounds of war

key setting

  • owen doesn't describe the immediate setting of the trenches themselves, but their wider surroundings
  • this is what the soldiers are focused on as they wait for something to happen
  • the reader sees the soldiers 'cringe in holes' which are compared with 'grassier ditches' and owen refers to 'the wire' of No Man's Land, a concept with which readers would have been familiar
  • the poem as a whole is not about setting the scene of the trenches but about evoking the experience
  • owen's description focuses on sound and sensation from outside the trench

key technique- present tense

  • owen's use of the present tense throughout this poem has the effect of creating immediacy for the reader
  • whenever you read the…


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