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Wilfred Owen's subject was the pity of war. Using three of his poems describe how he achieved this.

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Introduction

ENGLISH LITERATURE Poetry- Post 1914 War Poetry Coursework Wilfred Owen's subject was the pity of war. Using three of his poems Describe how he achieved this. If Wilfred Owen's war poetry had one main aim, it would be to expose "the old lie": that war is always a good and justified thing and that it is a good thing to die for one's country. Owen had experienced first hand the horrors and tragedies of the First World War, so he inevitably wanted to break open the false fa�ade and let the world know the truth. I am going to explore what I find to be three of his best poems and show how he achieved this aim. Owen was born on the 18th of March 1893 in Shropshire, England. He received a good education as a child and in 1915 he enlisted in the army when he was 22 years old. He was injured in a shell explosion in France and transferred to a war hospital back in England, where he was given the chance to stay for the rest of the war. But due to his loyalty to his troops, he returned to the frontline. He was killed in action attempting to lead his men across a canal on November 4th 1918. His death was particularly tragic as it came just a week before Armistice Day and the end of the war. A common misconception is that all war poets of the First World War were against war. Usually on their way to war, some famous poets such as Rupert Brooke wrote some very famous war poems. ...read more.

Middle

I believe that what Owen is attempting to do with this poem is to stop young men making this mistake in the future and to tell the world the reality of what ended up happening to them. Throughout "Disabled", Owen uses the third person narrative so as to make the main character feel more isolated from everyone else. This builds sympathy for him. The poem opens straight away with the third person word "He". The first verse describes the boy sitting in his wheeled chair, "waiting for dark". I think that "waiting for dark" is effective as it tells you that this boy has nothing else left to do and "dark" could possibly symbolise death. Throughout this poem, Owen uses an extended metaphor comparing the joy of his life to colour. He begins this in line two by referring to his uniform as a "ghastly suit of grey". At the end of the verse, the boy begins to think back to before the war began. In the boy's flashback, Owen describes the "gay" town in which he lived. Owen tries to make this sound like a perfect place to live by filling it with colour and life. In the second line, it describes the "light blue trees". This contrasts with the earlier "grey" and keeps up the extended colour metaphor. In the fourth line, Owen says "before he threw away his knees". I find this effective as it tells you that this boy wasn't forced into this, but he volunteered. The fourth verse is much of the same thing but describes the boy himself as a handsome sort of boy, and then how he lost his limbs in a shell explosion. ...read more.

Conclusion

What he is telling us hear is that there is no glory in war and that no one should believe otherwise. In the sixth verse, the third line starts with the word "exposed" to emphasise the fact that these men had absolutely no protection or cover and were almost certainly going to die. The last line of the seventh verse underlines one of Owen's beliefs. It says: "Some say God caught them even before they fell". The key word there is "some". Owen believes that things like that were just excuses for war made up by the propagandists and that war is never justified in any case. The poem ends with the question "why not they speak of comrades that went under?" What Owen is saying is that it is extremely important to remember those that died and that we mustn't under any circumstances forget them and he is asking why nobody talked about the carnage. The obvious answer is that it was all too shocking for these men to mention again; this is what Owen wants to emphasise. I believe that Wilfred Owen's poetry achieved its purpose fully and that no one after reading it will believe that the First World War was for a good purpose and will see behind the false fa�ade of the propaganda. I think Owen's two most important lines in his poetry are "You would not tell with such high zest to children ardent of some desperate glory, the old lie" and "Why not they speak of comrades that went under". These tell his beliefs- that war is never justified and it is not a good thing to die for your country, and also that we must never forget those who died and the suffering that they went through. ...read more.

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