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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare the ways in which Wilfred Owen portrays the extreme situations which the soldiers experience in the poems 'Exposure' and 'Spring Offensive' Wilfred Owen was a soldier during World War 1. He had first-hand experience in the worst warfare known to man. Exposure and Spring Offensive help to portray these extreme situations. They do this very well due to the fact that Owen had first-hand experience and that his precise use of language techniques help bring out the real circumstances as he saw them. To begin with, the poem 'Exposure' is based on the experiences of soldiers in the trenches. We are taken through the day in chronological order, from early morning, to dawn and then to night again. Set in first person, we see and experience the world through the soldiers. This full sensory experience entails the vivid description that helps bring the world to life. One of the first things we are aware of is the extreme cold. The setting is presumably in deep winter as we experience 'iced east winds' and 'sidelong flowing flakes'. Throughout the poem there is mostly quietness, with occasional references to noise, such as when bullets 'streak the silence'. This dull atmosphere indicated by the silence is again shown when the arrival of dawn is described as being 'poignant' and 'melancholy', showing the reader how there is a sense of sadness in almost every aspect of the soldiers' lives. ...read more.

Middle

This makes us think that the winds are heartless, forever attacking, showing no sense of relent, and how 'we' are suffering helplessly against it. In Spring Offensive, Owen uses personification in the surroundings. In this case, it is used to make the poem livelier by making the trees breathe, or brambles 'clutch and cling to them'. This helps to add emotion as well as everything is alive and has feelings. In the later part of the poem, during the battle, personification adds to the dangerous atmosphere, talking about how 'earth set sudden cups in thousands for their blood'. This makes it seem that everything is dangerous and bloodthirsty, quite contrasting to the first half in which personification gave the impression of life as opposed to death. Both poems involve lots of emotive and powerful words. These include words such as 'shudders' (exposure) or 'oozed' (Spring Offensive). Throughout Exposure, there are equal amounts of emotive words and adjectives, such as 'merciless' or 'drooping'. These detailed words help the reader picture the grim situation better as they are specific and descriptive. There is also lots of doubling of adjectives. This technique helps emphasize the noun, such as when the wind is described as 'merciless' and 'iced', clearly enforcing wind as the heartless enemy. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the men stop dreaming in Exposure, there is an intense feeling of fatalism as the men 'turn back to their dying' accepting this grim fate, and also a feeling of loss of faith as they doubt God's existence. This contrasts with the start of the poem, where it merely involved the men sitting around. In spring offensive, the feelings are more intense as Owen uses stronger language to describe it. This is evident when he refers to how the slope 'chasmed and deepened sheer', with 'surfs of bullets' and immemorial shames. These intend to give a heightened sense of tension and confusion. In the last stanza, there is also a feeling of inhuman cruelty as the men attack with 'superhuman inhumanities'. This then transforms to a feeling of shame and a bitter legacy as the men are disturbed by their horrific experiences and so are unwilling to recall events, as revealed by Owen asking the question 'why speak not they of comrades that went under?'. There is a repeating sense of futility in Exposure, as the men 'turn back to their dying', having given up in the war. The men are also portrayed as weak and helpless as they 'cringe in holes' against the 'deathly' weather. In Spring Offensive, the men are given a more heroic role, as they are actively involved in the fighting for the freedom of the country. ?? ?? ?? ?? Jagan Annamaraju ...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 Wilfred Owen 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 Wilfred Owen essays

  1. how Wilfred Owen uses the season and nature to illustrate his feelings about war ...

    He uses nature to express these feelings in both poems "Exposure" and "Spring Offensive." "Spring Offensive" is a poem with an ordinary, simple title that could be mimicking the attitude of the soldiers to their duty. Exposure has a different type of title that has more of a metaphorical meaning.

  2. How does Owen use language to explore the harsh realities of war in Exposure?

    In exposure however, there are no such intermissions. The intensity of the poem is maintained throughout and this is indeed a key way in which Owen explores the harsh realties of war. "Northward, incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles," again Owen's meaning here is clear. Firstly, the word "incessantly" underpins Owen's message in this line, it indicates the constant terror the soldiers felt.

  1. Choose two poems from your selection of First World War Poetry, which have made ...

    They are also ashamed because of the men who have not returned from this terrible ordeal. When the men arrive there is no one around, no celebrations or congratulations, 'to still village wells'. The final line is 'Up half known roads'.

  2. Through His Poetry Wilfred Owen Wished to Convey, to the General Public, the Pity ...

    It is written in an unorthodox way because thorough out the first stanza he ironically links a catalogue of the sounds of the war, the weapons of destruction, guns, rifles, shells, with religious imagery. In the second stanza the focus changes to the mourning people in Britain.

  1. Wilfred Owen - "The old Lie"

    This shows incredible loyalty to their officers and the army. One of the only parallels between the views of Tennyson and those of Owen is that they both agree that the soldiers who go to war are brave, obedient, loyal and fearless and those are qualities both Tennyson and Owen

  2. How does Wilfred Owen present the horror and reality of war in his poems?

    In stanza 2 Wilfred Owen uses a simile to describe the gusts of wind 'watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire, like twitching agonies of men among its brambles' this reminds the men of the dead or dieing that got court amongst the barbed wire.

  1. An Analysis of "Exposure" by Wilfred Owen

    The snow is also personified; it flakes ?wandering up and down? on the wind. The ?flakes? are described as dainty and harmless, but in truth they are freezing the soldiers to death and more lethal the enemy bullets. The ?flakes? are also described as ?feeling for [their] faces? with ?lingering stealth?.

  2. Explore some of the ways in which Wilfred Owen presents the Natural world in ...

    We find the same shielding figure in the sun, in Futility. Using the personification: ?The kind old sun?, Owen presents the sun as a caring paternal figure, ?old? evokes its wiseness. This again can be interpreted as a personification of god.

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