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Comparing "The Sentry" and "Dulce et Decorum Est".

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Introduction

Comparing The Sentry and Dulce et Decorum Est The Sentry by Wilfred Owen was written in 1917 and is Owen's account of seeing a man on sentry duty injured by a shell that has exploded near him. The man has his eyes mutilated and is blinded by his injuries but at the end claims to see a light again. Dulce et Decorum Est also by Wilfred Owen at a similar time to The Sentry and is Owen's account of seeing a man die from poison gas because he didn't get his mask on in time. In both The Sentry and Dulce et Decorum Est, Owen is trying to demythologise war by portraying horrific examples of the effects of war. In The Sentry, Owen accounts how he saw a man have his face disfigured by a shell. He uses gruesome imagery and descriptions of the man, "Eyeballs, huge-bulged like squids" which puts a dreadful image in the readers mind. ...read more.

Middle

Each poem puts across its key messages in different ways. In Dulce et Decorum est, Owen sends across the message directly at the end of the poem, telling them how the old saying "dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" is an "old lie". In The Sentry, which has the same overall message as Dulce et Decorum est (demythologising war), doesn't make it as obvious that this is what it is trying to say. Even so, it is still fairly obvious that Owen is trying to demonstrate how horrible war actually is with this gruesome account of a terrible event. In Dulce et Decorum est, Owen engages the reader so they can empathise with the speaker is feeling after witnessing such a horrible event. In the last stanza Owen often uses the word "you" to address the reader as well as saying "my friend" which makes the poem seem more personal and as though he is directly talking to the speaker. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both poems are very similar in that they both portray a horrible account of the effects of war, both the physical wounds on the person who is injured and the mental scarring of those who witnessed the event. In doing so the poems help get across the message that it is not "sweet and fitting to die for your country" but not necessarily that war should be avoided completely. Owen wasn't against war as such, as he himself fought in one himself, but more against people dying needlessly in large numbers. Overall I think that Owen did a very good job in demythologising war as he uses powerful imagery to show how dreadful war really is. Most of what Owen is writing about probably wouldn't be relevant nowadays since so few people are actually dying in wars but that doesn't mean his points are not valid. Owen's argument may not be relevant but it is still very powerful and meaningful. ?? ?? ?? ?? Thomas Aird ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

Generally, this is a sound essay. The student has demonstrated good knowledge of the poems. The student has selected appropriate quotes to support the points made. The points could have been explored with a little more depth and the points of comparison are quite straightforward and simple.

Marked by teacher Melissa Thompson 30/03/2013

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