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Different Wars, Similar Outcome

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Natalia Coronell Mr. D'Aquila ENG 4U1 July 21, 2009 Different Wars, Similar Outcome Wars that lay buried in history and wars present in the world today unite through the most common and blatant reality of war: violence resulting in imminent death. Literature often presents different perspectives of these wars that ultimately tie together and bring forth the actuality of war. Timothy Findley's The Wars and Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" present a precise example of different pieces of literature that connect through the common theme of war. The Wars and "Dulce et Decorum Est" offer the unconcealed and harsh violence of war and through vivid imagery, these authors depict life at war. Additionally, both of these works contain the four basic elements of life - earth, water, fire, and air - to reveal that these four basic elements can represent death as well. Moreover, the theme of appearance versus reality impacts both works profoundly through the ruthless truth of war as compared to the credulous beliefs of war. Through these ways, a novel and a poem unify to unveil the truth about war and convince audiences of the violent reality of warfare. The violent nature of war is visibly illustrated in both The Wars and "Dulce et Decorum Est". Death, the impending result of such violence, is an underlying theme that highlights both literary works and assists audiences in grasping the severe veracity of war itself. ...read more.


Fire, however, differs greatly from the earth, which embodies a trap in combat that slowly confines its victims. In The Wars, earth is portrayed as a grave in which its victims "drowned in mud. Their graves, it seemed, just dug themselves and pulled down." (Findley, 70) Correspondingly, Owen's portrayal of soldiers crossing through this earth is a picture painted with hardships, violence, and suffering. "Bent double, like old beggars undersacks, knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through the sludge...many had lost their boots, but limped on, blood-shod." (Owen, 1-2, 5-6) Another element that forms a part of war is water and through Owen's depiction, audiences can see how this element can serve as a life-ending source. "As under a green sea, [he] saw him drowning." (Owen, 14) The Wars also demonstrates that water can be a powerful element that is capable of engulfing completely its surroundings during times of conflict and war. "On either side, the ditches are filled with fetid water. Everything is waterlogged. Even bits of grass won't float." (Findley, 69) The final element used in both The Wars and "Dulce et Decorum Est" is air and in both works, this holds great value and significance. Owen illustrates that during war, air can serve as a deadly killer that tragically ends one's life. "Gas! GAS! Quick boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling fitting the clumsy helmets just in time...through the misty panes...I saw him drowning...guttering, choking, drowning." ...read more.


"There were flames all around him...looking down at Robert after the flames had been extinguished, he was barely able to recognize that Robert had a face" (Findley, 192). Robert as well as the character in "Dulce et Decorum Est" both see the charm of war melt before their eyes and both come to the realization from first-hand experience the cruel realities of war. The callous reality of war is seen throughout the world, whether it is represented through present day wars or wars that complete part of history. Literature presents diverse viewpoints of war that unite through extreme violence resulting in significant deaths. Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est" and Findley's The Wars portray ideal examples of literature connected through the lucid actuality of war. Both works provide a vivid and gruesome description of the massive violence perceived in war. This immense violence carried out in war is represented through the four elements of life - earth, water, fire, and air - which are characterized in the battlefield of each literary work as elements that represent death as well. Furthermore, the theme of appearance versus reality influences both The Wars and "Dulce et Decorum Est" intensely through the cruel truth of war as compared to the unsuspecting and naive beliefs of war. Overall, both literary works serve their purpose in depicting the horrid reality about war and both accurately portray the war in a way that audiences can clearly see the violent actuality of war. Unknowingly, these two pieces of literature connect and foil one another in the description of wars and their violent veracity. ...read more.

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