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how Wilfred Owen uses the season and nature to illustrate his feelings about war in the poems "Exposure" and "Spring Offensive."

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Introduction

G.C.S.E English Literature Coursework Post 1914 Poetry In this essay I will describe how Wilfred Owen uses the season and nature to illustrate his feelings about war in the poems "Exposure" and "Spring Offensive." Wilfred was born at Plas Wilmot, Oswestry on 18th March 1893. He enlisted in Artists' Rifles and on 4th June 1916 received his commission to the Manchester Regiment (5 Battalion.) He joined up thinking that war was romantic and he felt he had to do his duty for his country. 1917 was the pivotal year of Wilfred Owens life. He experienced his first taste of fighting at war. He and his men were forced to hold a flooded dugout in no-mans land for fifty hours whilst under constant, heavy bombardment. Wilfred then was exposed to severe frostbite followed by a concussion from a fall at Le Quesnoy-en-Santerre in France. In April Wilfred had the courage to rejoin the front line but in May he was diagnosed as having shell shock. He was evacuated to England and on June 26th he arrived at Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh. ...read more.

Middle

In "Spring Offensive" the soldiers have a long journey that is mimicked by the poem's form that is eight stanzas long. "Exposure" however does not mimic a futile journey but instead there is just a lack of action, nothing happens. "So, soon they topped the hill, and raced together over an open stretch of herb and heather." This is building up to an event in "Spring Offensive" and then it reaches a climax, which is its portrayal of the battle itself. In "Exposure", any hint of an event is swept aside by the last sentence of each stanza. A few stanzas end, "but nothing happens" and one ends "what are we doing here?" In "Spring Offensive" Wilfred Owen uses rhyme and rhythm well to show his feelings and to describe the feeling of the adventure. "And thought the summer oozed into their veins like an injected drug for their bodies pains." The words veins and pains rhyme and together they combine the natural body and pain to show suffering is present at war. Wilfred of course experienced suffering during his time at war and here he has shown war includes pain and has done it in a clever way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Every thing seems negative, it says in the third stanza "slow boots" when talking about the soldiers moving. This is an emphasis on the reluctance and perhaps exhaustion of the men. The weather conditions are used against the men in this poem. "East winds that knife us," is a great example of this imagery. They are trying to fight through the obstacle that is the wind and it is knifing them. Silence is also personified as a threat in the poem. There is also imagery of death in "Exposure." "Slowly our ghosts drag home," for example. In "Exposure" the sentences are short and stark creating an anti-climax feeling. There are rolling adjectives creating pace at the start of each stanza that are brought back down to earth with the abrupt end to each stanza. In "Spring Offensive" on the other hand a lot more sounds and words are used to create a certain feeling. With discomforting "K" sounds and the sharp sibilance a feeling of danger at war is created by Owen. Wilfred uses nature to illustrate the destruction of man and shows of nature's power to create and sustain itself. I admire Wilfred Owen and his ability to illustrate feelings in many different ways in a poem. ...read more.

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