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Dulcet decorum est

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Look again at Dulce et Decorum Est and The Send Off. How does the writer's choice of words in these two poems convey the strength of his feelings about the atmosphere and events portrayed? The poems are written by the same writer about different experiences of war. Wilfred Owen uses the theme, tone, structure and language to "convey the strength of his feelings". The theme of The Send Off is how a group of soldiers leave to go to the station to leave the country and fight in the First World War. He mainly refers back to the fact that nobody has come to say good bye also he seems to give the idea that most will not return. The theme in Dulce et Decorum Est is how the men in the trenches have been marching. Then they are gassed and a man dies and is thrown on the wagon and how there is nothing glorious about war. These show his "feelings" of war are negative as both death and being alone and when you leave somewhere with out family you will always feel lonely. ...read more.


In Dulce et Decorum Est has a fairly simple structure of 4 stanzas each varying in length. The 4 lines at the end are the moral of the piece and emphasise Owens emotions. serious he end stops every line which keeps the person focused. Both poem use rhythm and rhyme to convey and amplify Owens emotions and opinions of war as they make the poems more memorable. In The Send Off the rhythm and rhyme are used to make Owens experience become the readers experience and enlightens use with his feeling and opinions based on his experience. The rhyme scheme is a,b,a,a,b which is not lifting and help keep the tone a constant through out the piece. In Dulce et Decorum Est the rhythm and rhyme are to give the reader the full emotional experience of the event which he recounts and his views. The rhyme scheme a,b,a,b. The rhythm is how it makes its moral stand out and stick in the readers mind. The writer's language is what really helps him portray his various emotions and ideas on war. ...read more.


Owen also make this phrase singular which like the tramp is only 1 of many. In both poems Owen makes the change from third person to first person which make the experience more personal with the reader. In The Send Off it is more subtle and hard to find but in Dulce et Decorum Est it is very blatant as it happens as soon as a n emotional event. Alliteration is used in both pieces. In the send off "Grimly gay" is an emaple of this. In Dulce et Decorum Est an example is "knocked-kneed". Both example have another thing in common which is the fact they both are used to create a harsh emotional feel to the piece. In The Send Off the title is repeated to emphasise the poems theme which is the soldiers send off to the front line. In Dulce et Decorum Est it is repeated in the line "the old lie: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori." This is Owen message portrayed throughout the poem. To conclude Owen expresses his feelings about the first world war. The two poems also "convey the strength of his feelings about" the events which occur through the many features I have mentioned. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This answer is clearly a very good effort as it forms a coherent and valid analysis of the creation of strong emotion in 'Dulce et Decorum est'. However, the candidate does not appear to possesses the skills required to achieve ...

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Response to the question

This answer is clearly a very good effort as it forms a coherent and valid analysis of the creation of strong emotion in 'Dulce et Decorum est'. However, the candidate does not appear to possesses the skills required to achieve higher than a high C grade for GCSE. This is because there is little or no evidence of contextual appreciation and also the analysis is very loose. By this I mean the analysis is very general and not specific nor expertly-crafted enough to achieve higher. To improve on this, the candidate must make themselves aware of how poems in general create emotion: through language and structure. A close attention must be paid to the words used, as well as the punctuation. Structure is also important (more so in 'The Send-Off' than 'Dulce et Decorum est') and the candidates should be looking to analyse with the appropriate terminology (this is especially important with this candidate, who barely uses any where it could be applicable, owing to the looseness of the analysis).

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is indicative of a high C grade for GCSE. This grade could be improved if the candidate works in the way in which they tackle essay questions. Build a word bank of necessary terms to take to the exam with you (in your head, of course); words like assonance, sibilance, rhetoric, rhyme scheme, pause, simile, enjambment, narrative voice, personification, paradox, syllabic rhythm, metaphor, internal rhyme, sonnet form etc., etc. MUST be learnt as any poem is likely to feature a large number of these poetic devices. With these on board, the candidate should look to the question and what it explicitly asks. It asks for analysis of how Owen shows his strong emotions in 'The Send-Off' and 'Dulce et Decorum est'. So now the candidate should identify the methods of creating strong emotion by looking at the structure - Is it fixed? Regimented? Loose and irregular? What does this say about the poem and the poet? And then the language - is it harsh? Soft? Is it descriptive? Accusatory?
Minor irks that lower the essay's mark further are the suggestion the the themes of the poem are in fact what the poems explicitly discuss, which is not always the case. The theme of 'Dulce et Decorum est' is not "how the men in the trenches have been marching. Then they are gassed and a man dies and is thrown on the wagon and how there is nothing glorious about war. (sic)". The themes are War; the pity of War; mockery of propaganda and the worthlessness of human life as the death of the man "floud'ring under a green sea" is described so coldly in the poem. Themes are different to narratives and this must be recognised as it is fundamental to the understanding of poetry, and without understanding, there is no effective analysis.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication here is poor. Often subordinate clauses are left to stand alone in their own right - "As it shows that there is no glory or honour in dieing for your country. (sic)", and there is an obvious disregard for the standards of English language. These range from small things like abbreviating "The First World War" to "FWW", rather than the standard WWI (World War I) and randomly capital/non-capitalised letter where the opposite is required (rhyme schemes must be written ABAAB and so on, not "a,b,a,a,b,") to larger, more fundamental issues like comma splice and inaccurate use of specialist vocabulary. These issues must be addressed and the candidate needs to acquire a dictionary of terms to ensure they fully understand what it is they are writing.

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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 05/04/2012

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