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A Comparison of the poem "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen and the song, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" by Eric Bogle.

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A Comparison of the poem "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen and the song, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" by Eric Bogle. The poem "Disabled" and the song, "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" both show the horrors of the war from a soldier's perspective, describing from the day they joined the war and how this affected their lives after the war. The soldier in "Disabled" lived a joyous life in his youth. He liked to play football with his pals and then used to go out and get drunk together. He had a girlfriend and joined the war to please her and also because "someone had said he'd look a god in kilts". He was not yet 19, and legally a minor for the war, but this never concerned him, nor did it concern the authorities who knowingly wrote down his lie, "Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years." He was silly enough to lie about his age, not thinking about the consequences that awaited him and what war really meant, "And no fears of Fear came yet"; he wasn't afraid of death because he was too young to understand the horrors of war. ...read more.


At the end of the poem he is now an old man, and is watching the parade of soldiers pass before him. He notices a difference in the ways the old and the young men march, how the old men march slowly - "all stiff and sore". Like the young people, he asks himself the question, "What are they marching for?" and the answer which we can probably give is 'nothing'. The irony in the poem "Disabled" is that the soldier before the war was a handsome young man ("There was an artist silly for his face") and his main purpose for volunteering to go to war was to have a chance to look smart and please his girlfriend. He is now repellent to the girls unlike in the early days before he went to the war when he was the one who attracted the girls, "Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole." In "Disabled", the soldier describes his injury as - "leap of purple spurted from his thigh", which sounds very horrid. ...read more.


shows that the soldier is at the end frustrated. He is eagerly waiting to be put to bed. This may as well mean that he is angry and also waiting to meet his death, because he knows he won't face these miseries in the 'after-life'. This idea is also supported by the first line of the poem, "He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark". The soldier has to rely on others for help even for the simplest of things like being put into bed. Even though he is mentally able, his physical condition forbids from doing what he wants. In "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" it ends with the question "Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?" 'Waltzing Matilda' was a national patriotic song of Australia and when the soldier, an Australian, fought in the war, this song was sung to raise the spirits of the Australians. In this case however is used ironically. When the soldier says, "I waltzed my Matilda all over", Matilda here represents previous the girl friends of the soldier. The question at the end "Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me?" leaves the reader with a dreadful sense of irony, since the soldier is of course no longer able to dance. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

This essay represents some useful thoughts about these two works, but it is clearly an unfinished work. It leaves us hanging, with no concluding paragraph to draw together the main threads of comparison.

Both of these works are in rhyming verse. What is the purpose of this and what effects do the authors produce by using poetic devices? What, for instance, is the effect of the internal rhyme in the penultimate line of each stanza of "The Band Played...."? Why are the stanzas of "Disabled" of different numbers of lines?

The quotations used are mostly appropriate and support the points being made, though the form of quotations is often poorly reproduced. Sentence construction is generally well managed but paragraph structure is loose.

3 stars

Marked by teacher Jeff Taylor 10/06/2013

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