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Compare the ways in which Owen portrays the extreme situations which the soldiers experience in Exposure and Spring Offensive

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Owen portrays the extreme situations which the soldiers experience in 'Exposure' and 'Spring Offensive' In both 'Spring Offensive' and 'Exposure' Owen uses subtle ambiguity which entices the reader leaving them wondering whether Owen is using one meaning of the word or the other. The 'Spring' in 'Spring Offensive' could mean the soldiers were fighting during the season of Spring, however it could be referring to a forward sense of momentum as in 'Springing' forward into battle. Out of these possibilities the first seems the more likely of the two as the poem makes lots of references to nature in spring time. The title 'Exposure' however, is probably the more ambiguous out of the two, as it has two equally plausible meanings. It could simply be talking about the medical condition caused by being 'exposed' without protection to the effects of harsh weather, as the soldiers were. ...read more.

Middle

This is a very powerful sentence as it combines the great onomatopoeia of "oozed" with the poignant imagery that the summer has been personified and is entering the soldier's bodies in desperate hope that it might ease the pain the soldiers are suffering. Owen uses colour very differently in both these poems but still manages to effectively use it to portray the general tone of the poem. 'Exposure' is full of dull dreary colours like "grey" and "black" to depict the dreadful winter war scene, while in 'Spring Offensive' Owen uses more lively 'Spring' colours to portray the positive side of nature, seen in 'Spring'. The use of black appears in a more subtle reference in 'Exposure' in "the blackbird" that "fusses". Blackbirds are often referred to as omens of doom; just as the soldiers are dying a blackbird appears. This line is followed by the rhetoric "Is it that we are dying?" ...read more.

Conclusion

From the very first sentence of 'Exposure' Owen uses first person plural to allow the account to seem like it is being told as a story by one of the soldiers in the poem thus making it seem more personal. "Wearied we keep awake" and "on us the doors are closed" are examples of how the first person enhances the feeling of comradeship as the soldiers fight together against the enemy. However 'Spring Offensive' Owen uses third person plural to describe the events, which has the effect of allowing the poem to flow more easily. While 'Exposure seems rather disjointed, especially with the anticlimax "but nothing happens", 'Spring Offensive' naturally flows when read. The use of third person also allows the reader to use their imagination to fill in any details the author didn't mention; this happens a lot in 'Spring 'Offensive' as there is a lot of ambiguity throughout the poem. Even though these styles of perspective are both very different they still both work effectively in achieving the different effects that Owen was trying to portray. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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