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How Wilfred Owen Challenges The Romanticised & Glamorised Picture Of War

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How Wilfred Owen Challenges The Romanticised & Glamorised Picture Of War This essay is to explain and to show how Wilfred Owen challenges the glamorised image surrounding the war. This glamorous image was created by the media in order to get people to join up for the war, as a result of the propaganda people believed that it was honourable to go to war and you would be regarded as a hero. To do this I will need to present evidence, using quotes and commentating on his various writing techniques. To show this I am going to write about two of his poems: Dulce et decorum est and Disabled. Both of these poems are renowned for challenging the propaganda created by the media and proves that it was all lies created to make people sign up for war and it's not in any way honourable, heroic, glamorous or romantic to die in the war. These poems have credibility because Owen has first hand experience in the war as he served in WW1. He uses this to his advantage and writes truthfully and openly to crush any remaining propaganda that may still say that it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. Dulce et decorum est is a poem that follows a nameless man through a day during WW1 and describes some of the things that he saw. He writes that they look 'like old beggars'. This is an effective simile because when you think of 'old beggars' you think of dirty, scruffy, weak ill people, which is a complete contradictory to the image of a soldier that the media created using propaganda. ...read more.


There is also alliteration with 'now he will never', which emphasises the negative. This makes you feel sorry him because people 'touch him like a queer disease' and treat him like a freak; no one wants anything to do with him and all because he believed the propaganda. This stanza has a very strong contrast within it because its start off happy and 'gay', looking back on the old times and it quickly runs into a sad and depressing outlook on what his life is like now. It is very thought provoking because in this second stanza Owen shows how quickly these things can happen as he also does in the second stanza of Dulce. He was once good-looking because 'there was an artist silly for his face'. But 'now he is old; his back will never brace;' There is a comparison between these two lines. There is a change of pace and a contrast. He's not really old but he is mentally old and is dying before his time. He is having flashbacks of how 'half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race'. His life has passed quickly and it is very fragile. It has a nightmare quality because it could be you. This stanza has flashbacks just as the third stanza in Dulce but they are subtler in Disabled. This stanza shows how he has gone from a good-looking young teenager to someone who is old and dying in a very short space of time. It happened quickly and now it can't be changed. ...read more.


It also give a little history of the man so we realise he has lost. Dulce was more direct as it was written in the first person, so you feel as though you were there. Disabled is written in the third person which creates distance, which is a good idea as it isolates the man even more which symbolises how lonely he is. In each of these poems the tone and the timing both change throughout. Dulce is on the battlefield, as it happens but Disabled contains flashbacks to different to different times in his life and shows his thought wandering. The tone in Dulce changes to reflect what's happening at the time. Disabled changes constantly, but overall it is bleak and sombre. The theme of both poems is the same but it is put in different style of writing. At the end in Dulce he directly addresses the reader, angrily and definite. Disabled has the same message but instead of telling you what you should and shouldn't do it makes you think. The message is there but in a different way. The characters in each poem are completely different. Dulce's character is written about in first person narrative and the man who dies is anonymous, which I think symbolises how you don't have to know some one to be permanently affected by their death. It shows that death can strike anyone. The man died by accident. Disabled though gave us a history of the character, so we knew a little bit about his personality and what he used to be like before the war. I think this shows us how much one person can be changed and how his life has been ruined just because he couldn't say no. ...read more.

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