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Discussing Disabled by Wilfred Owen.

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Introduction

'Disabled' by Wilfred Owen Sophie Thompson Wilfred Owen (1893 - 1918) was caught in a shell blast in 1917 and was sent back to England with shell shock. His poem 'Disabled' was written during his four-month stay at Craiglockhart Hospital in 1917. The poem sends its readers on a journey into the life of a World War One soldier after he has returned home from the war. The poem eloquently depicts the disassociation and detachment from self and society by his soldier who has become disabled. The first stanza sets a very sad and sombre tone as the disabled man is reflecting on his waste of life. The opening phrase 'He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,' is a very stark and arresting opening as we immediately gain knowledge that the man is in a wheel chair, the reader visualizes a physically disabled man using a wheel chair. The man is introduced as 'waiting for dark,' it can be implied that 'dark' is a symbolic representation of impending doom or death and having a meaning of pessimism. It gives the reader the impression this boy has been separated from society so much so that all he has to look forward to is death. ...read more.

Middle

There is a contrast between past and present, making the boy yearn for all his past and the reader yearn for the boy. The readers are forced to feel sympathy for this boy as he recollects his past. In the phrase 'In the old times, before he threw away his knees' Owen conveys a sense of bitterness directed at the soldier for wasting his life away and expresses the idea of how one minute he was able and now he is disable. In the phrase 'All of them touch him like some queer disease' a simile is used to suggest how girls now touch him gently and don't know how to be around him. The imagery adds power to his present physical repulsiveness and emphasising the speed at which his youth plus his beauty was drained out of him. Owen uses the term 'queer' to show that the soldier's losses have made his body alien. These injuries have also removed his social masculinity. In the third stanza we see an instant return to reality as the soldier regrets his actions. In the phrase 'Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry' a visual image of pouring blood is used as the reader visualises the soldier pouring his life away in front of him. ...read more.

Conclusion

We see how the disabled soldier is also socially disabled as well as physically and how he is not treated the same way before when he was 'whole'. The use of the word 'whole' is significant to how the disabled boy is feeling as the man has lost confidence in his own personal strength and vitality. In the final phrase 'Why don't they come, And put him into bed? Why don't they come?' Repetition is used to express his feelings of ingratitude by the people of the country he helped. His life is at a close, having lead a small life. Owen has left us with a very personal portrayal of one man's experience and outcome due to World War One. At the end of the poem the reader finally realizes that the boy is not waiting for the end of the day, but the end of his life, he has nothing to live for now. He can only envy other men as he waits for 'dark' for them to 'come'. Owen wrote in opposition to the war and yet supported the men he served with his poetry by bringing the discomfort and horror of the war to the eyes of the public. I found the poem very poignant and despondent however I enjoyed the realism conveyed by Owen. ...read more.

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