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Comparison of Owen and Sassoon

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During the First World War there have been many interpretations of the "Great War" as it was called. At the start of the war Britain was fighting a losing battle so a conscription was introduced calling all men between the ages of 18 to 41 to take up military service. Young soldiers were enthusiastic to join up and be sent off to the front line to fight for their king and country, feeling patriotic, glorious, and full of courage, life and adventure. Their families and friends so proud, but the harsh reality of war was waiting for them hiding behind the government's propaganda posters Sassoon came from a rich, banker family. After fighting, Sassoon became disillusioned by the war and wrote a statement to his commanding officer refusing any more service. Instead of being shot (a fate for those who refused service) the officer thought Sassoon was insane, so he was sent to Craig Lockhart hospital to be treated for shell shock. Wilfred Owen was born in Shrewsbury, was the son of a railway worker and also enlisted himself to fight in the war. Owen also realized how cruel and brutal the war was and wanted to show the public the truth about it but didn't know how until he read a book of poems about the war by Sassoon. When Owen discovered he was at the same hospital as the poet, he was determined to meet him. ...read more.


It immediately makes the reader come to a halt followed by the line "no one spoke of him again" adds to the impact of the waste of one so 'carefree'. Similarly both poets end with closing stanza with a strong heart provoking message for their reader. Dulce et Decorum est by Owen ends "My friend, you would not tell with such high zest ...... Dulce is decorum est/ Pro patria mori"'. He is rejecting the accepted attitude back at home that serving your country in war is glorious. Thus his title is ironic. He is critical of the "high zest", or great enthusiasm, used to convince men to go to war. He sees war as brutal and wasteful of young lives. His choice of the word "children" is also significant; impressionable young men are almost lured to war by the promise of "desperate glory". "Suicide in the Trenches" by Sassoon really drives it home his opinion of people at home, he berates the crowds, who watch proudly as young soldiers pass. He suggests that they should thank God that they've escaped the fate of this young soldier and many others like him. He is ironically calling them cowards and dishonest which is contrasting with their jubilation. "You smug-faced cowards with kindling eye.....The hell where youth and laughter go". Both are dismissing the patriotism of war and similarly in both poems they both imply by the words "children" and "youth" how young these men are. ...read more.


In stanza two he uses the hyperbole of "splendid work" to emphasise irony. Knowing that once a soldier has lost his sight the choices of work will be limited. As with "Suicide in the Trenches", Sassoon personally involves the reader by directly saying using word 'you' and making the reader think. Overall, the differences between poems by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon are the styles because the aim of both poets is the same. Sassoon uses clear, everyday language whereas Owen tends to be more elaborate. Owen uses many more literary techniques than Sassoon including alliteration, metaphors and similes, the titles of both of his poems are ironic to what the poem is about. Sassoon uses simpler rhyme schemes of rhyming couplets and Owen does not. My own personal opinion is that Sassoon his use of imagery is more effective in making the reader feels that they are actually at the scene of the battlefield, all of your senses are heightened by the sound and sights. Owen I feel is equally good with his direct approach of language; his poems do make the reader contemplate directly with their conscience. Nonetheless both poets are successful in conveying the message of the harsh realities of war to those who watch from the sidelines. ?? ?? ?? ?? Comparison of four poems exploring how they reveal the conditions of and the poets' attitudes towards the First World War 1 ...read more.

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