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How does Wilfred Owen help us to share his feelings about war?

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Introduction

How does Wilfred Owen help us to share his feelings about war? Wilfred Owen was born in 1893 in a town in Shropshire. He was educated in Birkenhead, and matriculated at the University of London. He also lived and taught in France. In 1915 he was enlisted into the army and joined the Manchester regiment in 1916. After his experience in the trenches he took up writing poetry and produced some of the most moving pieces in poetic history. Before the First World War, all the poetry had been written by poets who did not actually fight. They seemed to glorify war; such examples are 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and 'Vitai Lampada' by Henry Newbolt. The general view of the public was that it was fine and honourable to die for your country. As we can see from such modern films as 'Saving Private Ryan' and, because of the development of television allowing the public to see exactly what is going on, this view is no longer popular. Owen was killed on November 4th 1918 while leading his men across the Sambre canal at Ors. The news of his death reached his parents on November 11th 1918, Armistice Day. Sassoon published Owen's single volume of poems containing some of the most poignant English poetry of the war. One of Owen's major points is the conditions in which the soldiers had to fight. ...read more.

Middle

'Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge,' This line to me creates the image that the soldiers are slowly plodding along a muddy track coughing and spluttering and they are so tired that their legs keep colliding with one another. In the next few lines Owen says that they start to head away from the front line towards shelter. In the sixth line the phrase 'blood-shod' appears, which to me suggests that the men's feet have been covered by a layer of dried blood, which is acting like a pair of shoes. Owen uses a metaphor 'Drunk with fatigue', to show how uncoordinated they are through exhaustion. Even though they have finished their fighting for the day and are heading home they are still not safe. The gas shell drops behind them and because they are so tired and it is so muddy most of the men do not hear it. One man bravely sacrifices himself to warn the others. Owen uses lots of different ways to create the scene and the emotions of the moment. He uses short sentences ' Gas! Gas! Quick boys! ' and powerful descriptive words ' An ecstasy of fumbling' to create an impact and a scene of panic. He then uses a simile to describe the man who shouted and saved them ' Like a man in fire or lime' This to me appears like the man is burning but from the inside. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Why speak not they of comrades that went under' Where he asks why the men that survived don't talk about their fallen comrades if it was so glorious. And in 'Dulce et Decorum Est' the last two lines carry the message 'The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori' Which is Owen expressing his feelings about telling the young men that it is fine and honourable to fight and die for your country, he believes it is a lie now that he has witnessed it first hand. Also in conjunction with Owens messages in the last lines and during the rest of his work he portrays his feelings about war and its affect on him. He believes war is futile and is a pointless exercise where nothing is really gained nor lost. In his writing Owen describes his faith in God and how it falters during the war. He believed that God was great and good but after the horrific scenes he saw and the conditions he had to endure he began to doubt God and his morals. Owen and the other First World War poets changed the face of world poetry but writing some of the most memorable and moving poetry of which had never been seen before. They did away with the army's conventional poets who never got anywhere near a battlefield and glorified war. The men were the real poets and wrote what they really felt. I believe they changed the face of modern poetry for the better. Daniel Burdett 10R ...read more.

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