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Compare the ways in which the poets you have studied deal with the subject of war.

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Introduction

POETRY OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR Compare the ways in which the poets you have studied deal with the subject of war. * Discuss the language and structure of four or more poems you have studied; * Provide comparative critical analysis; * Demonstrate an understanding of the poems' place in the literary tradition. You must discuss at least two of Wilfred Owen's poems. Early poets such as Rupert Brooke, who were taught at public schools, tell their stories in heroic and accurate detail. However, poets such as Wilfred Owen who were not privileged enough to be sent to good schools describe war and tell the events and conditions of war as they saw it. The cultural background of the poet is reflected in the structure and contents of the poem. Poems were seen as vehicles for hero worship; some recounted history in narrative mode and others dwelt on emotions and questioned the wisdom of the people, especially leaders. For example, Tennyson wrote 'not to reason why but to do and die'. Certain purposes for war poetry were to glorify war like deeds, however so many poets had so much experience about war but wrote very little about it, as they were more concerned about home. In addition, other poets were searching for a reward of great devotion and courage and found writing an enjoyable way to express their experiences and emotions. ...read more.

Middle

All their eyes are ice." The poet relates to the party as having picks and shovels in their 'shaking' grasp. The verb 'shaking' effectively describes their emotions of fear and coldness causing their hands to tremble. Their reaction from half - known faces turns their eyes to 'ice'. By using the word 'ice', Owen is describing the sudden shock of these faces causing them to freeze and then their cold, motionless feelings. In the poem 'Disabled', the reader is instantly inspired of the life of a disabled. The fragment of the first line, 'waiting for dark' creates the thought that he was possibly for death. The explicit description of 'legless, sewn short at elbow and his appearance, metaphorically described as a 'ghastly suit of grey', establishes the atmosphere and the scene which the poet is relating to. The poet uses the simile 'voices of boys rang saddenly like a hymn' to describe the sounds which could be heard within the atmosphere. In the second stanza, Owen talks about the past and at the same time relates to the present situation of the disabler's life. He personifies the town as it 'used to swing so gay'. "Girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim, In the old times, before he threw away his knees." ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen explains that if 'you' were to hear every 'jolt the blood come gargling' and see the 'hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin' you wouldn't believe the old lie. Owen makes a moral judgement in the simile of the face like a 'devil's sick sin'. Towards the end of the stanza, he concludes his point his has been explaining. "My Friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory" The poet deliberately refers to the reader as my friend to personally express the bitter sarcasms he feels about the old lie: Dulce et Decorum Est Pro patria mori which means how sweet and proper it is to die for one's native country. However, by describing the awful conditions and experience of the war, Owen expresses just how sweet and proper it really is. The words 'such high zest' emphasises the pleasantness and glory one believes about dying for one's country. In all the poems studied, the use of language has helped to create either the atmosphere or the drama within the scene. The poets, in particular, Wilfred Owen describe the physical conditions in such a way which the reader is easily engaged the scene and able to picture the writing. The structure of all poems is carefully thought about as the poets write each stanza in either a different tense or about a different subject. ...read more.

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