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Discuss how Owen and Sassoon make war vivid and consider their intentions and motives in writing their poetry.

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Discuss how Owen and Sassoon make war vivid and consider their intentions and motives in writing their poetry. (Discuss the language used, the tone of the poem, the views of the poets. Discuss in detail the methods/devices used by the poets to bring the poems alive/ie. Make vivid. Make the poets' intentions clear.) Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon experienced war for themselves as soldiers. When Sassoon met Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, he encouraged Owen to write about his experiences and express his feelings in poetry. Sassoon had been admitted for shell shock and so took this time to write poetry. When Owen died at the front Sassoon published Owen's work and continued to write about his experiences. It then became apparent to Owen that his duty lay in sharing the suffering of his men and returned to active service. Although he survived a shot to the head from one of his own men, he died a week before the Treaty was signed. Both Owen and Sassoon had their own criticisms of war and so the analysis of these poems will help us to understand their experiences and criticisms of war. To do this they both use different methods to make war more vivid. Owen's "Dulce et decorum est" is about a group of fatigued soldiers returning to a temporary rest place from the front line. Suddenly a surprising gas attack alarms them and all the soldiers manage to put on their gas masks. ...read more.


But in their own minds they were nervous and scared, they knew that it was very likely that they were going to be killed. "Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray As men's are, dead." Flowers were stuck on their jackets. This arrangement of flowers was usually given on funerals, which reminded the wearers of the dead. In the next stanza the "porters" (people who are too old to go) and tramps were sorry that they weren't to go with them to war and so they stood staring with envy. Personification is used when it says, "a lamp winked to the guard", this lamp's flame would be flickering and so it might look as though it was winking. Owen then talks about them as being "wrongs hushed up" as they went secretly. He says this to show that they were not thought of as heroes when they were being taken to war but as wrongs, people who could not do anything else with their lives. They are taken secretly because the people who are taking them are ashamed of them because they see them as wrongs. When Owen says, "they were not ours" it is as though he is glad that they were not with his camp and it is also as though he is not bothered that they are going to the Line, but only bothers to know that they are going. They knew the significance of the flowers that the women gave to them and so they were not prepared to mock what the women meant. ...read more.


When Sassoon uses colloquial speech he is remembering the time he was with them and is remembering what they are talking about when he was with them. The speech used would not be used by upper class people and so Sassoon is suggesting that people who went to war were those who were young and financially poor and didn't have a hope in their life so they might as well join up, and when it says, "Jordan, who's out to win a D.C.M. some night;" it suggest that he is a soldier who had always been in the army, and was waiting to go to war. He is showing that the upper class were the ones who were least likely to go off to war and in this way he must be criticising them. "Young Gibson with his grin; and Morgan, tired and white; Jordan, who's out to win a D.C.M. some night; And Hughes that's keen on wiring; and Davies ('79), Who always must be firing at the Boche front line." He is describing the different qualities of the different people to show the different personalities who went to war and there were people who had very different intentions compared to each other, and so this group stands out most so it is described in the poem. He is also showing the propaganda promoting war as honourable and nothing to fear when he shows someone saying, "'The war'll be over soon.' 'What 'opes?' 'No bloody fear!'" The poem is also Sassoon conveying the fact that the needless loss of men with so many good and different qualities was unnecessary. ...read more.

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