• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Presentation of Suffering in Dulce et Decorum est and The Sentry

Extracts from this document...


How does Owen convey the suffering of the soldiers in the Sentry and Dulce et Decorum est? In both the poems "The Sentry", and "Dulce et Decorum est", Wilfred Owen create a strong impression of the suffering of the soldiers involved, both at the time of the incidents portrayed, and the time lapsed since those incidents. Dulce et Decorum est tells the story of the death of one of Owen's men in a gas attack. In the first stanza, the use of hyperbole is a strong technique illustrating the torment of the soldiers. For example, lines such as: "Men marched asleep." And "All went lame, all blind" are blatant exaggerations, but subsequently convey the overwhelming nature of the soldiers' exhaustion and pain. Consequently, I feel that the use of such ideas as "Men marched asleep" gives the impression of the soldiers' psychological detachment from their own bodies - they have been subjected to so much stress and trauma that their minds no longer work in the same way as their bodies. This is a clear symptom of shell shock, and is evident in The Sentry also: "And splashing in the flood, deluging muck - / the sentry's body; then his rifle". ...read more.


To further this technique, Owen uses personal pronouns carefully: "we" shows the narration of the events - the things that physically happen to the soldiers and their reactions to them. "We'd found and old Boche dug out", "We dredged him up", "we heard him shout" in The Sentry, and "Behind the wagon that we flung him in" and "we cursed through sludge" in Dulce et Decorum est. On the other hand, sentences that use "I" or "my" as a pronoun instead tend to show the most evocative feelings - Owen own clearest and most haunting memories of the incidents. "As under a green sea, I saw him drowning", "In all my dreams, before my helpless sight", "I held a flame against his lids", and "I forgot him there". This demonstrates how the mental suffering caused by the memory of such an event is prolonged and unrelenting. I also feel that the mental torment suffered by the soldiers is demonstrated in the many references to the loss of hope, particularly in The Sentry: "We dredged him up, for killed" as well as the last line, "'I see your lights!' But ours had long died out". One line in the last stanza of the sentry seems superficial, and too obvious in the context of the poem to actually be stated: "I try not to remember these things now." ...read more.


This technique is almost a rebellion against the traditional Victorian poetry conventions of the time, which in itself helps to illustrate that Owen seems to feel that a new and different style of literature is necessary to represent an unprecedented and shocking period of history. Owen's description of the environment of war also contributes to this effect. The Sentry has a particularly strong atmosphere of claustrophobia and filth, as well as the imminent danger of the enemy. "What murk of air remained stank old, and sour" and "Pummelled the roof and slogged the air beneath - / through the dense din" "And gave us hell, for shell on frantic shell / hammered on top, but never quite burst through." The atmosphere in Dulce et Decorum est is less reliant on claustrophobia, instead the description centres around the fatigue and suffering of the soldiers. "Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge": This is a more direct approach to the illustration of the soldier's suffering, however both techniques are equally effective, and alongside the other Owen's many other poetic devices, are successful in building up lasting images of the experiences of the soldiers and the conditions they endured. ?? ?? ?? ?? Sophie Miller English Literature Block 5 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Comparative Essays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

*** 4 STARS

A well written essay which clearly understands the effects of the techniques used by the poet. There are some perceptive comments which show engagement with the poems and PEA is used throughout the essay.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 05/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Comparative Essays essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    A Comparison Of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' And 'Suicide In The ...

    4 star(s)

    Suicide in the Trenches" starts off with the description of a young joyful boy as described as "Who grinned at life in empty joy." Empty joy indicates that even when there was nothing to be happy about, the boy kept grinning.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    George and Lennie- COmparison and Contrast

    He follows everything what George told him. Some of the part that shows Lennie's loyalty is when he resist to fight back to Curley then he crushed Curley's hand as Gorge told him to fight back. Another one is when the time Lennie met Curley's wife at the barn, he

  1. Explore the ways in which Isobel Dixon uses language and other poetic devices to ...

    The author, in the fifth stanza, explains how she used to feel about her mother, how "[she] thought her mean." Dixon did not understand what her mother was going through, and now that she does, she feels sorry. Consequently, she wishes to forget those memories.

  2. Compare the two "Wuthering Heights" poems by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

    The repletion almost sounding like the wind. The repletion of the word failed gives the reader the impression that the wind has come to chastise the character in the poem for thinking that they are as good a writer as Emily.

  1. Compare the ways in which Heaney and Sheers write about memories. Your response must ...

    The way the berries "burned like a plate of eyes" make the children feel like they're being watched. To make them feel guilty for picking too many berries. Nevertheless, as we mature we do eventually realize the inevitability of disappointment in life because Heaney states that he would "hope they'd

  2. Compare the ways in which Plath and Hughes write about settings and landscapes. In ...

    But there is no door, making the reader. Looking at the sky, the character notices the moon. She thinks at first it might offer hope, a "door," a way out. But no door is available. She moves steadfastly out of the graveyard, the moon, and the church teeming with spirits.

  1. Comparing And Contrasting The Poems The Trees by Phillip Larkin and The Trees Are ...

    Mew uses symbolism in The Trees are Down further defends her argument and message as well as to display her appreciation of the spring. Mew argues that the cutting of the trees defies the purpose of springtime, that spring is a time of rebirth and renewal.

  2. Sir Philip Sidneys poem The Nightingale and Amy Clampitts poem Syrinx are two very ...

    The Nightingale also seems a more personal poem as it is written in the first person, whereas in Syrinx Amy Clampitt seems to be addressing her listeners and just uses: ?we? (line 10) once. Therefore this gives The Nightingale a more deep and meaningful tone, where Syrinx has a very controversial tone.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work