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How is war portrayed differently in Birdsong and in the poetry of Wilfred Owen?

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How is war portrayed differently in 'Birdsong' and in the poetry of Wilfred Owen? The outbreak of World War One in 1914 affected not just politics and the shaping of the modern world, but also on literature. Wilfred Owen's poetry, written 'on the butt of his rifle' in the trenches, gives a harrowing real-life account of life in the trenches. Meanwhile, Sebastain Faulkes novel 'Birdsong' is a retrospective look into the lives of soldier's fighting in France during the First World War. In Part One of 'Birdsong', Faulkes depicts life in France with the Azaire family before the war. This is particularly effective when impressing upon the reader later in the novel the effect the war had on the country itself. When recounting a boat-trip the protagonist, Stephen Wraysford, takes with the Azaire family, Faulkes describes the surrounding scenery as "The gardens were formed by the backwaters of the Somme." ...read more.


Sebastian Faulkes' prose allows for detailed character description and elaborate story telling. Throughout the course of the novel, the reader is introduced in depth to a large cast of characters. There is first the journey of Stephen Wraysford, from his clandestine love affair with Isabelle Azaire to his appointment as an officer in the army. Alongside this, you have the stories of Jack Firebrace, Michael Weir and Elizabeth Benson. The poetry of Wilfred Owen is usually self-descriptive, although there are other characters described in poems such as 'Disabled.' His work very much describes his feelings, and his thoughts, as poetry is usually very personal to the author. The work of Faulkes doesn't carry the same feeling that results from first hand experience. Owen was very much opposed to the war, as his words in the poem "Dulce et decorum est," suggest. "My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro ...read more.


"Waiting for dark," suggests that he is waiting for death, and the first line of the final stanza "Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes-" shows how the boy will spend the rest of his life. Alone and injured. It is difficult to compare the portrayal of war in the work of both Owen and Faulkes, due to the differences between style, time and form. However, Faulkes work is very much a novel written after the war. Despite graphic descriptions of both sex and violence, it is evident throughout that he is telling a story, and it is not just one of war. On the other hand, Owen's pieces are full of the jarring emotion that one could only obtain from seeing the horrors of war. The feelings, thoughts and imagery in the poetry of Wilfred Owen are far more real that in the novel 'Birdsong,' and this, I believe' is the key distinction. ?? ?? ?? ?? Map test English Literature Sarah Jones. ...read more.

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