Futility

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"Move him into the sun -"
The imperative here is a command to the soldiers - perhaps it is the officer talking; could this be Owen? The imperative suggests that he can't move himself and makes us wonder why. Could he be moved to: a) Wake him b) let him die to go to heaven.
1 of 18
"...sun -"
The sun could be linked to life and death. The sun rises which could symbolise new life but at sunset the sky turns red; symbolises death and blood. The sun is also a source of power, which gives life and energy to soldiers.
2 of 18
"...sun -"
It could also symbolise the light at the end of the tunnel = death or the life cycle. The heat could represent death by cremation or explosions and fire. The hyphen shows this emotion.
3 of 18
"Gently its touch awoke him once..."
The sun is personified here and the phrase of "him once" suggests that the sun can do it again.
4 of 18
"At home..."
This phrase is very nostalgic. Is Owen referring to his homeland of England or maybe the thoughts of home.
5 of 18
"...fields half-sown."
This is nature imagery here and is open to alternative interpretation: a) Dead people being put to death b) Half-job done? c) Suggests he was a farmer before he had to be a soldier, and also lost potential.
6 of 18
"...even in France..."
The mention of France suggests the First World War battlefields. The word 'even' gives a sense of sarcasm.
7 of 18
"Until this morning and this snow."
The word 'until' suggests that something has changed. The time phrase of 'this morning' suggests an inevitable death and 'snow' gives negative connotations of a loss of hope = death and cold.
8 of 18
"If anything might rouse him now..."
The word 'anything' gives a sense of desperation and the line as a whole links with the title, as there is a resigned tone.
9 of 18
"The kind old sun will know."
Again the sun is personified but this time as a friend. It suggests that the sun is the only omniscient and all seeing. It gives images of God.
10 of 18
"Think how it wakes the seeds -"
Both stanzas of the poem begin with imperatives - this could be suggesting that the reader must face reality. The word 'seeds' is an interesting word choice: a) Represents the soldiers (young) b) Seeds are grown to be eaten.
11 of 18
"Woke..."
This idea of 'woke' is repeated from line 4 to show how important it is - nothing will wake the soldiers now. This hints that he's died or that he's alive but incapable of moving himself.
12 of 18
"Woke once the clays of a cold star."
The 'cold star' could be a metaphor for a)the sun b)earth c)dead soldiers. Either way it raises the question of 'If the sun can wake seeds and a cold star, why can't it wake a soldier?' The 'clay' could give images of the mould clay which formed A+E.
13 of 18
"...so dear achieved..."
This phrase makes living human beings sound precious - it's hard work to create them.
14 of 18
"Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?"
This line contrasts in tone to line 10, which suggests a fresh death. There is a tricolon of emotions. The phrase 'still warm' could suggest how close the soldier is to death or maybe the energy he had. "Hard to stir" = hard to break-up conflict.
15 of 18
"Was it for this the clay grew tall?"
This questions the reasons for giving life in war - suggests it's futile. The word of 'clay' could be a metaphor for the Country and 'grew tall' represents power.
16 of 18
"- O what made fatuous sunbeams toil..."
The genitive case is very emotive. Perhaps the word 'sunbeams' is a metaphor for God - suggests God has become "fatuous" if his creation dies. The word 'toil' is juxtaposed to line 2 - "Gently..."
17 of 18
"To break earth's sleep at all?"
The questions show the poet's emotion building up. He challenges the reader to agree or disagree with him.
18 of 18

Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

"...sun -"

Back

The sun could be linked to life and death. The sun rises which could symbolise new life but at sunset the sky turns red; symbolises death and blood. The sun is also a source of power, which gives life and energy to soldiers.

Card 3

Front

"...sun -"

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

"Gently its touch awoke him once..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

"At home..."

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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