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What does the war poet, Wilfred Owen, have to say about World War One?

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What does the war poet, Wilfred Owen, have to say about World War One? What are the most interesting features of his structure, form and language? The poet Wilfred Owen enlisted as a soldier in World War One in 1917. While in treatment for shellshock, Owen was encouraged by his doctor to translate his experiences, specifically those he relived in his dreams, into poetry. For this reason Owen's poems are an insight into the mind of a soldier fighting in the Great War. Many of his poems were published posthumously, making them especially personal. The poem "Exposure" is about the winter of 1917. It describes Owen's experiences in the trenches of France. He portrays the bleakness of the war and psychological effects that soldiers endured while waiting for the beginning of an enemy offensive; something that has often been overshadowed by poems describing gunfire and bombings. The poem begins by giving the reader a personalized view of the setting: "Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us..." The poet has used a simile to compare the icy winds to a knife, saying that the wind itself is painful, but also that the soldiers brains are aching, already showing the psychological effects on the soldiers. ...read more.


He rhymes the words "silence" and "nonchalance", as well as "snow" and "renew". This plays on the ever-present them of silence, which is usually something tranquil, but in war causes nervousness. The seventh stanza is particularly compelling. It alludes the soldiers to Christ-like figures: "Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born, For love of God seems dying." Owen is making the statement that the soldiers are sacrificing themselves for those at home in England. The poem is structured into eight verses, the emphasis of each falls upon the last line, which is always indented. The last line "But nothing happens" is repeated four times, to enhance the constant expectation of battle. It also symbolises how the soldiers have ended in the same as the beginning of the poem: waiting nervously for an attack. "The Send-Off" is another poem by Wilfred Owen, fully completed in 1918, not long before his death. It describes the young men leaving England and going to war. The setting is much safer, but beneath the veneer presented there is an approaching danger. It was written at Ripon, in a large army camp, where the troops in the poem have just returned from a sending-off ceremony. The poem begins with an immediately sinister atmosphere. ...read more.


He is also saying that when they return there will no longer be ceremonies and celebrations, as the reality will be inescapable. The final stanza tells of how the war will change those who survive. The lines read: "May creep back, silent, to still village wells Up half-known roads." Wilfred Owen is saying that when the men return they may have changed so drastically that their homes will not feel like homes anymore. "The Send-Off" is structured very simply. Alternating verses of three and two lines emphasise Owen's strong opinion on this topic. The simple rhyming pattern also does this, as well as giving the poem a steady pace, which echoes the marching of the soldiers during the send-off ceremony. Overall, Wilfred Owen has many things to say about the First World War, which he expresses through his poetry. In these poems he says how the war will change the soldiers, and many will not return. He also tries to portray the side of trench warfare that was not shown often, the endless waiting around for an attack and its effect on the soldiers' psyche. In conclusion, I personally found that Owen's poems make one thing about these war issues more in depth, evoking varied and at times conflicting emotions. ?? ?? ?? ?? Joseph Holdsworth-Morris ...read more.

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