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Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen

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G.C.S.E English Post 1900 War Poetry Coursework Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen write to convey the horror of the living conditions in the trenches during the First World War. Both poets discuss the physical and mental torment of the soldiers as they suffered on a daily basis. However, while Sassoon concentrates on the views of the British public, Owen writes of the physical hardship endured by the soldiers. Essentially, 'Suicide in the Trenches', 'Exposure', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Does it Matter?' reveal the grave adversity of war in many differing ways. Both writers first reveal the extreme conditions in which the soldiers existed. In 'Exposure', we learn that coldness was unbearable. It is described as 'The merciless iced east winds that knife us...'. This personification of the wind creates an image of a force, which is hostile to the soldiers. It is also described as "mad". The overall effect achieved by this brutal image of the weather creates a strong sense of sympathy towards the men who perished as a result of it. The description of the weather as aggressive is furthered by the lines, 'pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our face.' ...read more.


Many of the soldiers saw friends, which they had grown up with either get blown up or gassed. This led to men going mad because the images they saw were so horrific. In 'Dulce et Decorum est', Owen tries to relate to the public how harrowing the things the soldiers saw were: 'In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me guttering, choking, drowning.' Owen knows what happened to the men during the War as, like Sassoon, he fought in the trenches. Owen conveys that not only does a soldier have to learn to cope which such horrific experiences but knows they will haunt a man's dreams until he dies. Perhaps the soldier in 'Suicide in the Trenches' had killed himself for this reason. All the poems I am writing about show that fear was a very key aspect in the war. Soldiers did not know when the enemy would attack, or when they might be killed. This constant fear would drive any man insane but these soldiers were expected to be able to handle this though they had never had to deal with such a mental strain before. ...read more.


He writes, 'there is such splendid work for the blind', but he is being sarcastic and he knows that the British nation will treat the war veterans badly. Owen conveys the physical effects of the war in 'Dulce et Decorum est'. The simple but hard-hitting image he creates is that of a soldier dying of gas poisoning. Any of the people reading it will therefore understand the casualties in the war were staggering. Lines such as 'White eyes writhing in his face' and 'the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs' create a truly nauseating image. Ultimately, from the poems we learn that the British soldier had to survive not only the presence of the enemy but also the harshness of the weather and finally attacks upon their own sanity. All of the factors written about in 'Suicide in the Trenches', 'Exposure', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Does it Matter?' show that the effects and conditions of the war are all linked together. While the bad conditions worsened psychological problems, they also caused gangrene and malnutrition, among other physical conditions. Both Sassoon and Owen write of their collective experiences in the trenches giving an insight for the reader through their two different viewpoints. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gareth Scott GCSE Coursework 1 ...read more.

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