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A comparative study of war poems.

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A comparative study of war poems. By Carl Casis I have chosen the poems 'Disabled', 'Does it matter' and 'Suicide in the trenches'. The poem 'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen tells of one mans turmoil due to the effects of war. Owen describes a man whose life is ruined because now he is 'legless' due to the fact that his limbs were blown up in the battlefield. This is evident in the third line of the poem where it says 'Legless, sewn short at the elbow. I think Owen tries to express his sympathy and wants us to sympathise with the man. Owen chooses his words carefully. 'He sat in wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivering in his ghastly suit of grey,' I think 'waiting for dark' could be a metaphor for waiting for death. His 'ghastly suit of grey' could symbolise his feelings. He hears 'voices' of 'boys' and 'play' these could remind him of his youth. In the second verse Owen refers back to this mans younger days when girls 'glanced' at him before they 'threw away his knees'. But Owen soon reminds us that he will never feel how 'slim girls wastes are' because they see him and take pity on him now. 'All of them touch him like some queer disease' I think this lines shows that they don't really want anything to do with him now that he is disabled because ...read more.


His expectations weren't that great when the crowds cheered him home because they only cheered to keep up the propaganda of war going. They cheered in pity and maybe not in pride. And now only a 'solemn man' a priest thanks him and 'inquires' about him. By the priest and the rest of the country he must feel betrayed because only one man, a holy man check up on him. Nobody else seems to care. 'Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes, And do what things the rules consider wise' This again shows irony as he cant do much anyway since he has no arms or legs, so the 'rules' in these institutes wont even matter to him. Now he will take whatever pity they give him. He notices how one woman looks at him and then looks to the 'strong men that were whole' meaning men with limbs. He is saddened by this. The final line is 'Why don't they come?' This phrase could represent his need for attention and makes him seem uncared for. His expectations of 'salutes' now mean nothing. He feels worthless and used. The second poem I chose 'Does it matter' by Siegfried Sassoon uses sarcasm. This poem deals with every handicapped soldiers ordeal with sarcasm and rhetorical questions. ...read more.


In the second verse Sassoon skips straight to the battlefield. 'In winter trenches, cowed and glum With crumps and lice and lack of rum, He put a bullet through his brain, And no one spoke him again.' The first two lines of this verse describe the harsh condition he and many other soldiers had to suffer with. The second two lines simply describe his suicide. But the words 'Never spoke of him again' remind me of the other two poems, where no one seems to care. The 'smug faced crowds' cheer the other soldiers' top keep up the propaganda of war. 'The hell where youth and laughter go' refers to the battlefields of war. In conclusion, each poem is very unique in its own way but very similar. 'Disabled' deals with one mans turmoil after the war and the effect it had on him. 'Suicide in the trenches' however deals with a troubled soldier during the war. The poem 'Does it matter' deals with all the handicapped war veterans. Each poem mentions some sort of essence that there is no honour in dying or losing a limb for your country because the cheers are false and hollow. The cheers are only to hype up and keep the propaganda of war going. The unsatisfactory cheers and salutes of crowds only there for show, only there to encourage new soldiers and to pretend to praise old ones, when they're really just there to pity them and to keep it all going. ...read more.

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