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War Poetry - 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Anthem forDoomed Youth'

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War Poetry - 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' War Poetry Wilfred Owen was born in Shropshire on 18th March 1983. He was the son of a railway worker and was educated at schools in Shrewsbury and Liverpool. Owen was encouraged to write poetry from an early age by his devoted mother. He couldn't afford university education, so decided to go abroad to teach English in France. Owen volunteered for the Army in 1914 when the First World War broke out. After training he became an officer and was sent to France at the end of 1916, seeing service first in the Somme sector. The following year, Owen took part in the attacks on the German Hindenburg Line near St Quentin. When a huge shell burst near him, he was shell-shocked and sent back to England. The horrors of battle quickly transformed Owen and the way he thought about life. He was treated in Craig Lockhart hospital in Edinburgh. Doctors there specialized in shell shock and it was a terrible experience for Owen, who spent hours surrounded by other distressed patients. Patients were encouraged to return to their pre-war interests, so Owen decided to look over his old poems and begin writing new ones. Owen was very impressed with Sassoon's poetry, and when Sassoon arrived at the hospital in August 1917, Wilfred Owen decided to meet him. Sassoon encouraged Owen in his poetry, telling him to 'Sweat your guts out writing poetry.' Sassoon offered help and guidance when Owen began to write new poems based around his war experiences. It was under the influence of Sassoon that Owen began capturing his vivid visions of the war in the form of poetry. A number of Owen's poems are now very famous and Owen has done a lot to prevent the reading public from being persuaded that death in battle is 'sweet and decourus.' ...read more.


I think that the writer describes the death so graphically to try and get through to the reader how horrendous it really was. It describes how precisely the man is being tortured. A very effective metaphor compares '...vile, incurable sores...' with the memories of the troops. It not only tells the reader how the troops will never forget the experience, but also how they are frightening tales, ones that the troops will never be able to tell without remembering the extremely painful experience. This comparison illustrates the point so vividly that it increases the effectiveness of this poem. Finally, the writer implies that if the reader had experienced this disgustingly frightful situation themselves, then they wouldn't tell with such 'high zest to children ardent for some glory, The old Lie: Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori.' There is some irony in this concluding stanza, but Owen is also very serious. He uses the saying as a warning and a final attempt to persuade the reader that war is grotesque. He describes the saying as 'The old Lie,' implying that it is a trick. Owen calls this a lie by using good diction, vivid comparisons and graphic images to have the reader feel disgusted at what war is capable of. This poem is extremely effective as an anti-war poem, making war seem absolutely horrid and revolting, just as the author wanted it to. The aim of this poem was to shock the reader-to let them feel the sense of disgust and frustration felt by all the soldiers as they witness the soldier's struggle to breathe. At no point in this poem does Owen make use of euphemisms. He is very clear about the horror of war. The second poem that I have decided to study and analyse is 'Anthem for Doomed Youth,' also written by Owen with assistance from Sassoon. It can be easily distinguished from many of his other works, as it is a sonnet. ...read more.


to Wilfred Owen's poems. She writes in a more conversational manner which makes the poem more memorable and persuasive. She compares the war to a 'game', implying that there is little danger on the battlefield. She also refers to the war as a sport where a player would return with a minor injury such as a crutch. Within the poem, Pope uses many questions which involve the reader more and together with the use of everyday language give the poem a less formal feel. She persuades the men to join the army by making them feel deceitful and cowardly if they were to 'lie low'. She also has a friendly manner in her propaganda poem as she refers to the men as 'lads'. She pressurises the men into joining the forces with her assumption that they'll 'come on alright'. She makes the country more appealing and dependable upon their support when she gives it a female gender. This capitalises on the sexist attitude of the era where men were expected to take care of and protect their women. Pope has written this poem in four quatrains with a regular rhythm and rhyme scheme. This makes the poem more memorable. This is also a technique employed in children's poetry and as such trivialises her subject matter. This poem is a recruiting poem with the aim of encouraging men to volunteer to join the forces. It was written at the beginning of the First World War and therefore the true disastrous effects of the war had not been experienced. Those left behind, women, children and exempt men, were often unaware of the true horror of the war and instead were seduced by a romantic ideal. In conclusion, I feel that both poets are effective, but they both present such different pictures of War. Owen's poems are excellent examples of poetry portraying the realism of war whereas Pope's poem is an excellent example of the unfortunate attitude cultivated on the home front. The contrast between the two allows the reader to see the reality of the First World War from two immensely different perspectives. ...read more.

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