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“My subject is war and the pity of war”. - Compare and contrast Owen’s treatment of his subject in two of his poems. You should discuss in detail Owen’s use of language, form and poetic technique.

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Introduction

Fiona Maine 10B "My subject is war and the pity of war". Compare and contrast Owen's treatment of his subject in two of his poems. You should discuss in detail Owen's use of language, form and poetic technique. In 1917 Wilfred Owen wrote two poems, both alike in subject, yet different in mood and message. These two poems were "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth". Although both poems are about war and the pity of war, Owen chose two very different ways of portraying his message from his use of sound and imagery, to the form, rhythm and structure of these two strikingly moving poems. "Dulce et Decorum Est" is a poem of great description, graphically depicting someone dying in a gas attack. I think it is written from Owen's memory, as the details are so vivid and intense that it is hard to believe that the poem was not written from experience. "Anthem for Doomed Youth" uses the metaphor of a funeral for those who have died in war. Owen uses strong imagery in this poem to capture all the ingredients of a funeral and replace them with lonely images of war; for example, "passing bells" ...read more.

Middle

I think that the air of sadness present in this poem seems to echo Thomas Gray's poem "Elergy Written in a Country Churchyard", for "The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea," and "And leaves the world to darkness and to me" seems to relate to and foreshadow "And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds." Some of the imagery used in one of Owen's letters to his mother (written in 1916) also seems to foreshadow images in "Anthem for Doomed Youth". For example, when writing about an army band, he describes the violins as "demented" and talks about "drums pulsing fearfully-voluptuously, as great hearts in death." The description of sound in his letter is later brought out in the poem, for example, "demented choirs" and "wailing shells". I think that this shows that Owen's anger had been subconsciously building up for a long time and "Anthem for Doomed Youth" was his way of expressing it. However, the imagery in "Dulce et Decorum Est" seems to be more graphic and strongly depicted, and is so powerful that it influences the reader into believing that the images must be drawn from Owen's experiences and not just his mind. ...read more.

Conclusion

He does this by using the letter 'd' in his final sentence; "each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds" to conclude the image of the end of a day. Owen uses similar techniques in "Dulce et Decorum Est", for example, his use of language in the second stanza; "fumbling", "clumsy", "stumbling" and "floundering" present an awkward, yet dreamy mood. He then goes on, as in "Anthem for Doomed Youth" to use onomatopoeias, for example "choking" and "guttering", to effectively draw out the realism of true pain and suffering. Both poems have quite regular rhythms, yet "Anthem for Doomed Youth" is a sonnet, whereas "Dulce et Decorum Est" is not. I think that the sonnet is particularly effective because, due to its rhyming scheme and form, it brings out certain contrasts in the poem, for example, the last two lines are detached from the two main stanzas, making them stick out and linger in your mind after reading the poem. Through his use of powerful images and descriptive language, Owen clearly portrays the message that war is not to be glorified but shunned. He obviously understands "the pity of war" as his poetry expresses the anger and futility that can only be felt by someone who has lived through it. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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