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How do the poems reflect the experiences of going to War? In this essay I will analyse the mood and tone, mood, language and attitudes of the writers in Dead Mans Dump and Exposure.

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Introduction

How do the poems reflect the experiences of going to War and at War? The experiences of World War One are reflected in a variety of different ways. Poems are a very good source of seeing how the different attitudes from the War, are expressed. In this essay I will analyse the mood and tone, mood, language and attitudes of the writers in "Dead Man's Dump" and "Exposure". The mood and tone in Dead Man's Dump (DMD) is defined from the very first stanza. It is very descriptive and describes the actual movement of the horses that pull the gun carriages over a ruined and battle wounded road ("Plunging limbers over the shattered track"). This creates a very negative image in the readers mind and sets an attitude against the War. There is also a very strong, prominent religious tone in the poem which is also seen in the first stanza when the barbed wire is described as "Crowns of thorns" which links towards the death of Christ. This could imply that the soldiers, like Christ, are sacrificing their lives for God and their people. ...read more.

Middle

It could be the men are exposed to the elements, which could be what the whole poem is about. It could be the men being exposed to death, so, like a flower, in winter which slowly freezes, until, eventually it shrivels up and dies, or it could be the men being exposed to the enemy but which is very unlikely as the enemy is not directly mentioned in the poem at all. In Exposure the mood is dreary and cold and sad. Words that prove this are "Knive", "Mad" and Shaking Grasp". It shows that this poem was an anti war poem as it is graphic and truthful. Owen probably wanted to shock people because the description is very vivid. Also a lot about the elements is mentioned which shows that the real enemy was not the Germans (who are not mentioned at all in the poem) but the wind, snow, rain and hail, which could also be why he used this as one of his main themes. Also Misery was a theme which he showed by using "Wearied" and "Nervous" which shows just how scared these men in the trenches were of everything. ...read more.

Conclusion

This could lead to the meaning that the men were on the verge of gaining or losing faith in god and that they are questioning his existence. Collective pronouns like "we" and "our" are used to show that the men are united and stand together against the enemy. But it could also mean that they are one writhing mass of pained soldiers that have changed so much that they are unidentifiable, that they have forgotten names and just use collective pronouns. Exposure is altogether a very serious and deep poem, as it encourages you to think about it a lot during the process of reading it. The reader empathises during it and also at the end gets to feel a fraction of what the soldiers did in the trenches, so they are left with a sense of misery and distraught. It helps to learn about the soldiers by reading this, as it is very vivid and uses imagery and personification. Both "Dead Man's Dump" and "Exposure" reflect very negative aspects of the war, but from very different perspectives. Whereas "exposure concentrates on nature as an enemy, "DMD" concentrates on Death and Loss and is very personal, and they both help us to view the war in different more realistic ways. ...read more.

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