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Analysis or Owen's "Dulce et decorum est".

  • Essay length: 683 words
  • Submitted: 17/03/2012
  • Reviewed by: (?) sydneyhopcroft
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GCSE Wilfred Owen

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The first 200 words of this essay...

The poem 'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori' is the name of a poem written my Wilfred Owen, a wartime Poet. The title was taken from an ode by Horace.

The title literally means 'It is sweet and right to die for your country'. It was written specifically to stress the fact that the government's Propaganda was a lie, "The Old Lie" as it states in the final stanza of the poem. Propaganda is a word generally used in a war, meaning advertising, promoting and spreading information towards the public. They were generally based around that if you join up, you would get the women! The government wanted, young, fit and red-blooded men to enlist, to fight and die for their country. Thousand's of patriotic men enlisted.

Wilfred Owen described the conditions endured by the men in the first stanza in more of a physical manner, emphasizing the men's appearance, positions and actions. From reading this stanza, I can identify that the men were clearly pushed to their physical limits, for example, "drunk with fatigue" or "men marched asleep" both suggest how extremely exhausted they were. Special camps were used in the war; a phrase that

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Review of essay

Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft

Rating: 3 star(s)

Response to the question

The answer given here is for a question asking for a holistic analysis of Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et Decorum est'. This candidate demonstrates a very vague focus on the question, often digressing to irrelevant points that, in some cases, do not even set themselves up for analysis. As an analytical question, this time-wasting and babbling must be avoided if precious exam time is to be preserved and used to comment on the more important aspects of Owen's poetry. An example would be where the candidate comments on the use of "special camps" in the War, or in their definition of propaganda (which, as a side-note is not entirely accurate). Candidates should aim to write efficiently, making sure their words to do not carry flabby extra weight that wins no marks and simply wastes time.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis shown here is indicative of a candidate expecting to a achieve a high D grade for GCSE. The reason they do not achieve higher is because the analysis, where applicable, does not delve to a sufficient depth for the examiner to consider the candidate to have provided original insight and analysis of the poetic devices used; the context that influenced; or the gravity of the poem. A lot of the analysis given is quite superficial and does not appear to go much further than face-value. A cliché, but candidates hoping to achieve higher than a C grade need to show signs of beginning to read between the lines - "long and distant rest" is not just a metaphor for sleep in "special camps", but it could also be interpreted as death itself, with the soldiers marching towards their imminent deaths.
Where this candidate loses the most marks is the fact they simply do not provide any evidence for their very general points. General points like "they [strong adjectives] make me think, which in turn, also creates a mental image. This helps me to understand the poem more" will not win any marks as the candidate has responded too personally, commenting on how they would respond, rather than what the audience feels. Also, there is no real analysis into what the images are of, and next to no appreciation or understanding of how this image is created other than adjectives. This is a very poor GCSE standard - candidates should at least recognise the three main poetic devices used by all poets to conjure imagery - similes, metaphors and personification.
As a last note, the candidate must not make the mistakes of feeling like they have to explain the poetic devices they do identify - there commentary on what a metaphor is is useless and does not gain any marks. Finally, candidates must address the poems and poets correctly - this poem is called 'Dulce et Decorum est', not "Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori".

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is also very poor. The candidate often misuses apostrophes ("Thousand's of patriotic men enlisted"); commas ("The government wanted, young, fit and red-blooded men to enlist, to fight and die for their country"); and capital letters ("The Old Lie", "Propaganda"). As well as a complete disregard for standard grammatical structure in places ("They [propaganda posters] were generally based around that if you join up, you would get the women!". This seriously needs to be addressed and I would advise the candidate to pay much more attention to their clarity of written expression by re-reading every sentence they write - this is not something fundamental as the candidate does have a grasp of how to write, but the coherence and accuracy is greatly lacking.

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