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Dulce Et Decorum Est. Wilfred Owen is addressing the poem to people back in England where he was born and to show the people who think war is great that it is dreadful and terrifying.

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Thursday 15th November 2007 Joe Hemingway 9W 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' In 1914 the First World War began. Many countries were involved in the war like England, France, Germany and many more. The poem I am going to talk about was written by a poet called Wilfred Owen. Wilfred Owen was born on the 18th march 1893 in oswestry, Shropshire, son of Thomas and Susan Owen. After the death of his grandfather in 1897 the family moved to Birkenhead (Merseyside). Owens earliest experiments in poetry began at the age of 17.Owen became increasingly aware of the magnitude of the war and returned to England in September 1915 to enlist in the Artists' Rifles a month later. In 1917 in January Wilfred Owen was sent to France and saw his first action in which he and his men were forced to hold a flooded dug-out in no-mans land for fifty hours whilst under heavy bombardment.Unfotunately Wilfred Owen died a week before the great war ended. The news of his death reached his parents on November 11th 1918, the day of the armistice. The poem I am talking about is called 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' which means it is sweet and proper. ...read more.


He also uses that 'all went lame and blind' meaning that the soldiers were bent over as their backs were killing and they were described as blind as they were so tired they could hardly keep their eyes open. They are also described as 'deaf as hoots' because of the bombs and guns firing they can hardly hear. They are in a terrible situation as they have been fighting and now are heading for their distant rest and are going for a sleep as they are so tired. The soldiers are in a bad way as they are slouching and they are described as 'All went lame and blind'. The expectation of going home for Christmas is long gone. They had lost their boots and many have really bad trench foot and may never be able to walk ever again. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers went to rest as they were in such a terrible way. Wilfred Owen used the word 'cursed' because many soldiers are muttering under their breath and are really fed up and tired. He also used the word 'sludge' because it wasn't just mud it was deep and squishy and was really hard to move through these terrible conditions as it was like a boggy marsh. ...read more.


In the poem it says 'someone still yelling and stumbling' which means Wilfred Owen saw a soldier who didn't get his gas mask in time or didn't have one and fell to the ground. The poem describes the gassing of the man is as if he is trying to grab some one else's gas mask just in desperation. The poem says the word 'choking' as if he was choking on some food or something else but he was actually choking on the mustard gas. I think that Wilfred Owen is distraught about one of his fellow soldiers dying. 'Behind the wagon that we flung him in' In this part of the poem above it is describing how he died and what happened to the soldier once he was dead. When they died they threw them on a wagon. Finally, my view of the poem is that it is very realistic and is very graphical in what happens to the soldiers. It makes me feel sorry for the soldiers and what they had to go through during the First World War. It makes me wonder what if it was me who was in those conditions, me who saw my best friends die in struggle. Joe Hemingway 9W ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an answer in receipt of a question that asks candidate to consider the effect of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'. The answer focuses on very few of the necessary analytical points of the poem, and instead of ...

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Response to the question

This is an answer in receipt of a question that asks candidate to consider the effect of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'. The answer focuses on very few of the necessary analytical points of the poem, and instead of opting to talk at length about what actually counts, there is a simple translation of what Owen is saying, with what little effective analysis there is used on ridiculously insignificant words like "but" - Wilfred Owen, having been to the front-line of the most gruelling war in history can say a lot better and give greater effect than with just "but". It is important the candidate comments at length on the words and phrases that count - their emotive resonance and what they tell us about Owen's attitude to war at the time (regardless of the over-arching anti-War value, Owen's specific attitude changed from poem to poem e.g. resignation in 'Strange Meeting'; nightmarish insanity in 'Mental Cases'; and antiestablishmentarian satire in 'Dulce et Decorum est').

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is evidently quite poor, with the candidate dissipating much of their energies on commenting or simplifying what Owen says in his poem, with only a very brief and shallow attempt at the analysis of it. There is almost no appreciation of the context either - at this time, Owen had been admitted to Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh and had time to reflect on the travesties of war; the pity of war. This must be recognised as Owen is not sitting and mourning the imminent death of soldiers as he can be said to be doing in 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' for example, where he had only very recently joined the front-line - in 'Dulce et Decorum est', he vividly describes with extremely powerful language the torture of one man intoxicated by mustard gas. There should be a greater focus on the language here, as it is a very important driving factor behind the effect of this poem.

Quality of writing

And on the language, it is not appropriate to see colloquial language in analytical answers where Standard English is required. "war is not all it's cracked up to be (sic)" is unacceptable as it is not written with the correct standards expected of GCSE English candidates. In the future, make sure all analytical responses avoid the use of colloquial language.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 17/03/2012

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