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Two poems, 'Dulce et decorum est' and 'The Sentry' both by the poet Wilfred Owen.

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War Poetry I have studied two poems, 'Dulce et decorum est' and 'The Sentry' both by the poet Wilfred Owen. The first one I will study is 'Dulce et Decorum est'. The first thing Owen does is to give us a vivid description of what is happening, he tells us that he and his men are marching away from the trenches, and the way Owen describes his men gives us a clear picture of what they have been through. "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags" They had been in the trenches, terrible places, with bullets and shells flying constantly overhead, explosions all around, the constant fear of death. These men were leaving the hell of the front, they were going to rest. But they still have a long way to go before they are safe, they are still within the range of artillery. Despite of this, they march on "towards their distant rest", they are walking in deep mud, which covered most of the battlefield, and for this reason, there are some of the men have no boots on, but still they "limp on, blood shod". They are described as being "drunk with fatigue", they are exhausted, but still, they march on. ...read more.


He can hear "blood come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues", the body is now decomposing, it is being burnt by the liquid from the inside, and is leaking blood from the lungs, he tells 'you' that if you could hear the sound of the blood, you "would not tell with such high zest, to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" He means that they would not tell the children, who want to hear war stories, the lie 'It is sweet and fitting to die for your country.' The next poem I will study is 'The sentry'. This poem, unlike 'Dulce et decorum est' is set in the trenches, and again, Owen Starts off by describing what is happening around him. They had taken over a Boche (German) dugout, which was a shelter built into the sides of trenches, which gave reasonably good cover from shells and bullets. The Germans know that it has been taken over, and so they are constantly firing shells at the position, "hammered on top, but never quite burst through". ...read more.


Owen says that the image still haunts him, "watch my dreams still". Owen calls for a stretcher. Now, he is concentrating on bringing order back to the trench, he is trying not to concentrate on the "sentry's moans and jumps, and the wild chattering of his broken teeth" of which he is reminded every time a shell lands from the ongoing barrage. Although, at that moment, through the intense noise, he hears the shout of the sentry, "I see your lights!". His vision is saved, and, with this kind of would, he will probably be sent home. The sentry's war is over. But Owen finishes with the haunting line "But ours had long died out". Most of the men on the front, including Owen, will die. Their fate is death. They have no hope left. After reading these poems, I have realised there are some similarities between the two. They are both structured in the ABAB style of writing, also, they both start off with a hugely detailed description of the surroundings and the situation that Owen and his men are in. But most obviously, and most importantly of all, they are strongly anti-war, they tell of the truths of war, they tell of what is happening everyday to soldiers of both sides. By David Cruise ...read more.

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  1. Marked by a teacher

    Critical Response: 'The Sentry' by Wilfred Owen.

    3 star(s)

    In the next few lines of the poem, Owen uses words such as "coaxing" to soften the helpless tone of the poem and to describe his actions to help the sentry: "Coaxing, I held a flame against his lids And said if he could see the least blurred light He

  2. From your reading of Dulce et decorum est and the sentry, what do you ...

    'Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,' the 'Knock-kneed,' slows down the speed greatly and the simile compares the soldiers to witches. This creates an image in our head of old wrinkled women slowly stumbling though the mud coughing tremendously.

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