How do the authors of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom' use descriptive detail, and to what effect?
In the poems 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom', both authors employ various linguistic devices such as vivid imagery and descriptive detail to put across a specific message to the reader. By doing so, they successfully evoke a series of emotions from the reader throughout the course of both poems. Although in terms of content 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' and 'Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom' are worlds apart, as one is a war poem and the other is about technology coming to paradise, they both come back to the same central idea of a corrupting influence. In 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' it is that of war's corrupting influence on innocent young men and in 'Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom', it is the corruptive nature of technology when it tries to harmonise with something natural like an exotic, untouched island.
Wilfred Owen uses graphic descriptions of the soldiers in order to paint a clear message for the readers. Described as defeated and worn-down like old "beggars", the soldiers are tired, hungry, and cold - hence they are perpetually standing "hunched over". The contrast between the actual young man and the way he is described to the reader is striking and implies that war corrupts the youth and innocence of these men. He also says that they "[fit] the clumsy helmets just in time" which again, makes the reader realise that no one really wants to wear them but are forced to put them on, which contrasts with the generalised perception of a soldier at war; always willing and ready. Owen pairs this juxtaposition with personification, when he describes the helmets as "clumsy". This is ironic, as again instead of being alert and prepared, it is the soldiers who are clumsy. The words "green sea" imply slush and swamp-like 'decaying' conditions - unsuitable for young men as well as highly dangerous. The thick haze of gas, through which the soldier's sight is obscured, contributes to Owen's message that people's perception of war is also distorted.
Similarly, in 'Electricity Comes To Cocoa Bottom', Marcia Douglas uses rich language in order to put across a message to the reader, albeit a more ambiguous one. Her descriptions of the village and nature's reaction to the arrival of the technology are rather unnatural and indicate disorder. For example "drawn like a pencil line across the sun" evokes a sense of disturbance in the reader's mind, as if the cable should not be in the way of the sun's light. "The fireflies waited in the shadows" is also rare as fireflies tend to emit light and are then attracted to each other. Douglas does this yet again when she states, "a fluttering of wings" - which indicates commotion and thus how the introduction of a corruptive influence such as electricity creates disorder in a formerly peaceful environment. However this can be interpreted in two ways; whether the poet is describing a disturbance in nature or simply anticipatory behaviour.