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Analysis of "Exposure" by Wilfred Owen

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Wangari Mumbi Kiarie Exposure Part 2 Analysis Written Commentary EXPOSURE-WILDFRED OWEN ?Exposure?, by Wilfred Owen is a poem whose resounding message heavily relies on the title of the poem. Owen explains that the soldiers who were fighting a war, which seemed like, ?a dull rumor? as it hardly took place, were challenged by greater enemies that represented themselves in the form of the harsh elements of nature, the indifference of God?s love and the boredom that wore them out and ultimately led to their death. The poet successfully passes on this idea to the readers through the use of stylistic devices such as metaphor, repetition, imagery, contrast and diction. The physical separation of the poem into part one and two serves as a representation of the distinction between night (talked about in part one) and day (talked about in part two). The irony is that in reality, there is not much difference between night and day because with the coming of each dusk or dawn meets the soldiers facing the same hardships brought about by the elements of nature. In the first line of the stanza, the persona explains that the, ?pale flakes with lingering stealth (would) come feeling for our faces?. ...read more.


They remembered the, ‘sunk fires glozed’. The word glozed is a mixture of the words, ‘glow’ and ‘glazed’. This further emphasizes that the memories of the soldiers were at a heightened state because they had long experienced the feeling of not being at home. The persona uses metaphor when he explains, ‘for hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs’. The mice have been compared to the naïve families that the soldiers left at home. Their families ‘rejoiced’ at their sons going to war as it was prestigious but they did not know the true meaning of war and the sadness it caused their brothers, fathers, uncles and nephews. The negligence of the families is also brought out when the persona explains that the ‘shutters and doors’ of these houses that they were having flashbacks upon were closed. The word ‘closed’ is repeated twice in line 4 of stanza six. This underlines the situation that war was a continuous battle until death and that there was no hope of going back home, that even their dreams and flashbacks did not allow them to enjoy the comfort of their homes. Stanza three of part two has Biblical allusion where the soldiers are sacrificing their lives just like Jesus did. ...read more.


This is vivid imagery where the readers can clearly see the life draining out of these soldiers. This is emphasized in the second last line where the poet says that, ?all their eyes are ice.? This, not only can be interpreted literally, where their eyes were frozen-over by the ice, but also it can be interpreted metaphorically where we can say that the experience of the war left the soldiers without a sparkle in their eyes. The soldiers died an inhumane death that was reflected in their eyes and served as a representation to the lives they lived at the forefront. They died as they lived, emotionless, lifeless and without hope. The last sentence of the poem, which has been repeated throughout the poem, ?But nothing happens? helps to summarize the great work of art with a dramatic finish. The sentence could mean that even though all this suffering takes place, the government and their families still go on living their lives oblivious of the suffering taking place by the soldiers. It could also mean that, nothing changes. The same conditions meet the soldiers the following day and the day after that. The soldiers live in a constant battle, not with the enemy, that makes them get armed with gases and guns, but with the natural elements that they cannot fight against, that leave them helpless, clueless and lifeless and above all, exposed to death. ...read more.

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