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Compare two poems which show how Wilfred Owen was influenced by the experience of war

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Introduction

Jennifer Miller Compare two poems which show how Wilfred Owen was influenced by the experience of war One of the greatest examples of the influence of propaganda is its use during the First World War. Across the channel thousands of men were dieing gruesome and bloody deaths, but in England the government had the public believing that war was fun, exciting and anything but the truth. The public were completely in the brain - washed. Everything was censored, even down to the letters written home by the soldiers themselves. At first it wasn't hard for the army to find young recruits, eager to fight for their country. But as the war intensified, it began to get harder and harder to find new soldiers. Poems were published, by such writers as Jesse Poppe, glorifying war. These were used to encourage youthful boys that death in was honourable and therefore to join the army was the correct path to choose. Wilfred Owen was the author of many famous wartime poems. In he's earlier work; his pieces were much like many other poets of that time. In ' The Ballad of Peace and War' he describes that is 'sweeter still.... to die in was for brothers'. But, after Owen enlisted as an officer in the army, his viewpoint dramatically altered. It could be said; that he's experience in war consequently influenced his poetry. Two of his poems are 'The Sentry' and 'Dulce et Decorum est'. ...read more.

Middle

It has become such a part of life for them all that 'men march asleep'. There is no variation from this routine. Even when injured, they 'limped on ... all went lame; all blind'. The unit are not on the front line, and the battle has become a distance memory 'the haunting flares'. Owen uses few caesuras making the stanza long and extended, reflecting the marching of the soldiers - unending. Part I of 'The Sentry', is once more setting a scene. Own and his men are caught in an old German dugout during a shell attack, 'shell on fanatic shell'. Again, they are in frightful conditions,' 'rain guttering down in rainfalls of slime, kept slush waste high'. The dugout is littered with reminders of the Germans, 'the smell of men ... if not their corpses. Owen feels that the Germans must be aware that the British are on their territory, it is the only explanation for the ferocity of the air raid, ' ... he knew, and gave us hell...'. The Shellers will soon send the men to hell if the attack continues. The second stanza is only a few lines long. Owen uses this same technique in 'Dulce et Decorum est'; separating a few lines but are still connected by a similar rhyme scheme. Since in all of his poems, dreams have been a main feature, these separations could be interpreted as he'd dreams incorporated within the piece. Although the soldiers have been safe from the blasts, a shell eventually hits the shelter. ...read more.

Conclusion

He finishes with 'The old Lie; Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' meaning - it is sweet and meat to die for one's country, it is sweet and decorus. This was an expression dating back to the roman period, also used for propaganda purposes. Owen wants to put an end to the timeless deceit that dates so far back; war is not glorious or at all honourable. Part III of 'The Sentry' reflects very much on his personal remorse. He tries to forget all that he has seen, but he 'let dread hark back for one word only: how'. Although this sounds like a question, it is not followed by a question mark. Perhaps he sees no answer for it all; cannot see how all the death and destruction can be justifiable. All hope of compassion and humanity has been lost to Owen. At the end of the poem he hears the young blinded by shout 'I see your light!' and in response to this is '... ours had long died out.' The lights going out, is a sign that hope is gone. Light has always represented goodness and purity, dating back to biblical times with the Holy Spirit being the light of the world. For the light to go, dreams and aspirations have gone with it. In conclusion, Wilfred Owen's primary concern is to influence others, who have been brain washed, with his knowledge of reality. In this way, perhaps he can feel that his experience was not in vein and some good can come of it. His nightmares haunt him forever, but his ideas are able to go on to persuade others against the supposed 'glories' of war. ...read more.

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