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“Cannon Fodder” and “The Armistice”.

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"Cannon Fodder" and "The Armistice" The two poems are both written during the time of the First World War, and reflect the emotions felt towards the war. Both poets have different experiences of the war, yet share a common grief. They reflect their grief and other emotions through their use of language. In the poem "cannon Fodder", Wilfred Owen tries to convey to the reader the terror that he felt when discovering the corpse of the soldier seven days after his death. Owen uses very powerful imagery to show the reader the horror of the corpse: "Feeling the damp, chill circlet of flesh Loosen its hold On muscles and sinews and bones" This represents the decay and decomposition of the corpse, and he shows us the horror of seeing the extent of the decay by using a metaphor. The flesh isn't really holding on to the dead soldiers body, but it is there to inform us that it is falling apart. Owen also tries to convey to the reader the feeling of futility towards the war. He shows the pointlessness of it all by using rhetorical questions: "Is death really a sleep?" ...read more.


During stanzas two, three and four, Wilfred Owen uses the soldier to try and tell the story for the people back home by using the context that they will understand: "O mother, sewing by candlelight, Put away that stuff." This quote was used to show the reader that the war would affect them back at home almost as badly as the soldiers are feeling it over in France. In stanzas two, three and four, one can detect a large amount of bitterness, and possibly anger, yet the anger is conveyed more subtly than in poems like "dulcet et decorum et" where the stanzas are set out almost like tirades. We detect this bitterness by the rudeness to the people back at home. In stanzas three and four, he even tells the mother and the lover what to do. In the poem, "The Armistice" by May Wedderburn Cannan, the reader feels some entirely different emotions than the ones conveyed in "Cannon Fodder". The first different emotion that the reader detects from the poem is relief. The whole office feels this, as it descends in chaos: "One said, "it's over, over, it's the end: The War is over: ended" The reader can feel the hustle and bustle of the people in the office, as their excitement and relief boil over. ...read more.


Wedderburn Cannan also makes us feel empathy towards the two female characters at the end of the poem: "It's over for me too...my man was killed, Wounded...and died" The pauses in the dialogue make the reader feel that the woman is struggling to force back tears. It also makes us feel that maybe she is contemplating what the future holds, and reflecting on her dead husband. The poem comes to an extremely sombre ending, and this is very similar to the ending of the war: "Peace could not give back her dead." This makes us feel that the whole war was worthless. Even in the times of peace, people like the woman in the poem are still feeling the grief that devastation of the war had caused. The two poems are from different times, wartime and post-war but the anti-war message is still the same and is still being utilised effectively by the strong language used in both poems. In "Cannon Fodder", Wilfred Owen displays to us the full of horror of the war in gory detail, whilst in "The Armistice", the horror of the war is the loneliness of the people left behind. Whereas Owen uses shock tactics to put his message across, Wedderburn Cannan tries to draw the reader's empathy instead. Kieran Timms ...read more.

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