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Examine the ways Wilfred Owen uses Contrast in his poems; “Anthem for doomed youth”, “Disabled” and “Dulce Et Decorum Est”.

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Examine the ways Wilfred Owen uses Contrast in his poems; "Anthem for doomed youth", "Disabled" and "Dulce Et Decorum Est". Contrast is an element used frequently in the poems "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Disabled" and "Dulce Et Decorum Est". "Dulce Et Decorum Est" first uses contrast in the title which means half of the Latin saying, "It's sweet and proper to die for your country". This title is sarcastic and ironic as the reader knows it is not glorious to die for your country and Owen does hold the strong opinion of war being a terrible cause of the loss of many innocent lives. Owen wrote this poem, particularly to address those who thought war was good and right, such as poet- Jessie Pope who wrote poems encouraging young men to sign up for the war. Throughout the poem, there are many lines, which contrast and contradict the title. The third stanza contains a very effective list of three, harsh words, "He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning". Owen also writes in the fourth stanza, a very visual picture in words which creates very extreme images, which he is describing from previous nightmares that he recalls. "White eyes writhing in his face". The most descriptive stanza in the poem is the fourth, as harsh words are used in descriptions and metaphors. The metaphor of "his hanging face like a devil sick of sin", gives a strong image as the devil is supposed to be the highest form of sin and evil, making this a strong metaphor. ...read more.


This is then anti- climaxed by the first line of the second stanza where the subject of mourning is approached, "What candles may be held to speed them all?". Contrast is then made when the boys who died receive no candles and receive no respectful mourning. The tone of the second stanza in comparison to the first stanza is far less harsh and does not give visual images of noise and fighting in war, but to the more personal level of the soldiers leaving their loved ones. The second stanza is intended to apply to the readers compassionate side, to show how there were no candles or bells to mourn the death of soldiers. The last line of the poem is very effective; "Each slow dusk a drawing- down of blinds", which symbolises a mark of respect as a black curtain is running over the universe, as though the whole universe is mourning. All the way through the poem, Owen uses the irony of the differences between the treatments of those who die in battle in terms of prayers, "no prayers nor bells" candles "not in the hands of boys", and mourning "Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs", in contrast to all this for those who die normally at home. In the poem "Disabled" the main contrast is of how the man used to live, in contrast to his physical and mental state currently. ...read more.


The contrast is now that he is carried for a different reason, not for being a hero; "One time he liked a blood smear down his leg...carried shoulder high". Owen gets his resent across in the poem, as he says how the people smiled at other peoples expenses; "Smiling they wrote his lie". The people who signed him up knew that he was not old enough, but they had no reason to care about him, as smiling they wrote his "lie". There is again another direct contrast at the end of the fourth stanza, as his expectations of returning from war are very high, as he goes into expecting jewellery, salutes, drums and cheers, large pay arrears. Then this is severely anti-climaxed in the fifth stanza when only some cheered him home, and people were quick to thank him but did not care about his mental state and the state of his soul; "ONLY a solemn man who brought him fruits, Thanked him, and THEN inquired about his soul". In the final stanza, it starts with "now", telling us what the man is now doing. He has to spend some sick years in institutes, and is not even allowed to think for himself. It took him a long time to realise why women no longer come to him, he finally realises this towards the end of the poem, but does not want to believe it, so he asks himself rhetorical questions which provide a very effective ending to the poem; "Why don't they come?...Why don't they come?". ...read more.

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