• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Commentary on "Mental Cases" by Wilfred Owen.

Extracts from this document...


Ahmed Ismail December 5, 2003 Commentary on "Mental Cases" by Wilfred Owen Wilfred Owen's "Mental Cases" is highly descriptive of the pains that the survivors of the First World War have had to endure. The speaker paints a picture of disenchanted men who are suffering the aftermath of their injuries. There is an element of reproach and anger, perhaps even a threat towards the world and its societies. Owen's diction and structure seem to suggest that there is much more to his poem than sorrow and grief. The first stanza opens with two questions: "Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?" The questions immediately grab the reader's attention, with the word 'twilight' setting the tone for the stanza and the poem as a whole. The speaker continues questioning, however, using enjambment, asking why they appear the way they do, while at the same time describing the way they look. He uses strong imagery to create a picture of rocking, crippled men with their tongues drooping, and moving back and forth between heaven and hell. ...read more.


Now all they do is remove blood from the lungs. The poet effectively goes through different parts of the human body, relating them to the carnage and torture that have occurred. He describes the hair, fingers, lungs, blood, and muscles concluding in the end of the stanza that all this 'squander and rucked' is too harsh for the men to handle, continuing the mood of despair and anguish. The third stanza continues with the theme of the physical human anatomy and its links with the carnage. The speaker describes how the men's' eyeballs have shrunk into their brains, unable to see any sunlight. He compares the sunlight to a mere blood smear which is small and insignificant. This comparison serves two levels: the eyes have become so useless and physically damaged that they cannot even see the sun clearly which is typically the most apparent object in the sky; and the fact that the men are so pessimistic and angry that they can see no light for the future of the world. ...read more.


This wound is re-opened, however, with every dawn. Strong imagery of the wound depicts a dreadful fault by mankind that could never be rectified; society would forever suffer from the same recurring mistakes over and over. At the same time, this image could mean that the mental wounds of the men themselves are re-opened with every new day: the dark memories of days past still haunts them. They have bleed repeatedly so many times they have become like 'hideous corpses' merely plucking at each other. They are plucking and pawing for a reason however: at those who have put them in the position that they are in. Owen uses the theme of the human anatomy to describe and give life to the carnage that has followed the survivors into their new and secluded lives. Through his word choice, he unveils his message: one that describes an abandoned society, hopeless and regressing. He also leaves a warning to the world in general, and some in specific, by defining the aim of the snatching of those 'mental cases' - after those who are responsible for this suffering. Word Count: 894 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Explore the way Wilfred Owen and Sebastian Faulks present the physical and mental suffering ...

    This is shown again in 'Birdsong' with a description of the character 'Wrayford':" His movements had a dreamlike quality, as though the air about him were very thick and had to be pushed slowly back". Faulks also presents the unclean lifestyle they were living; "He thought of the stench of his clothes and the immovable lice among the seams."


    The given is the situational and linguistic starting point from which a literary text is derived. It posits the first elements from which readers will build their interpretations of what is to follow. In doing so, the text can imply much more than it actually spells out.

  1. Comparison of Owen and Sassoon

    Owen also uses language to describe fatigue that the soldiers had as they "trudge". Similarly to Sassoon, Owen uses alliteration to show the reader to emphasis the soldiers health and wellbeing, "men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots". However they "limped on", but were "deaf", "lame" and "blind" and

  2. In reference to at least two of his poems, explain what makes Wilfred Owen ...

    Also, the direct speech from the commanding officer seems to address the reader, putting them into the pace of the action. The pace of the reference adds to the realism, as the reader can feel the fear and adrenaline of the men as they fight to put the mask's on in time to save their lives.

  1. Explore how Owen, McRae and Brooke present the physical and mental horrors of war.

    In the first line, Brooke depicts how war has relieved those who have been disgraced, "...We, who have known shame, we have found release there", the release being the sense of relief that war has bought, despite all its horror.

  2. "Hollow Men" Explication.

    Yet a second, third, forth, fifth, (and now sixth) glance shows not only a literary wrench to winch up the reader's tempo of faith to wasting their eye-movement on scanning the lines, but anti-parallels in the sense that if all we know is that there is form, then if we

  1. Critical Commentary on the Soldier.

    The ''dust" is the soldier himself and the word "richer" implies that England will forever be superior to France, although, as it is "concealed", France will not be aware of it.

  2. Death, Despair and Rebellion

    The last of Bront�'s poems, "Shed No Tears O'er That Tomb", appears to be one of rebellion, however, the last few stanzas made me feel as though she held great animosity towards some man. This was the hardest of Bront�'s poems to interpret.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work