What does Wilfred Owen reveal about the experience of war in his poem Disabled?

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What does Wilfred Owen reveal about the experience of war in his poem ‘Disabled’? – Jenny Hughes

        Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Disabled’ is about the experience of war on the common soldier. War leaves soldiers mentally and physically disabled. Men go to war feeling brave and nationalistic but come back mentally scarred due to the brutality of war. This is revealed by Owen’s use of repetition about blood-shed and the consequences of war on life. Owen also uses constant rhyme and rhythm to show the vicious cycle of life after war.

        Firstly, Owen presents the reader with the depressing image of a hopeless man. He can’t walk as he lost his legs due to war and is trapped with sadness in his disfigured body. This is shown by him “waiting for dark … [shivering] in his ghastly suit of grey”. Owen uses multiple adjectives and colour imagery to vividly describe this man’s sacrifices such as his manly youth and happiness. The simile ‘[through] the park [voices] of boys rang saddening like a hymn, [voices] of play and pleasure after day’ shows that the man did not enjoy the voices of the young boys as it reminded him of the good life he once had. The fact that it was a “saddening...hymn” it gives us funeral imagery which reminds us of the lost young lives. The words, “dark”, “shivered”, “ghastly” and “grey”, as shown in the first stanza, reveal how isolated he is. This is a contrast with the second stanza, where “Town used to swing so gay” and “glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees”, this creates an atmosphere of romance and excitement.  This suggests that this feeling of happiness will merely be a memory and something he will not feel again. This leaves the reader feeling sympathy for him as it makes him sound lonely and hopeless.

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        “[Before] he threw away his knees”, “girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim”. The use of personification with “as the air grew dim” shows how the air will only get dimmer and will not go back to its old ways of being bright. He regrets losing his legs as women now find him strange and he’ll never be with a girl again as they all ‘touch him like some queer disease’. This makes the man seem as if he was an abnormality to society even though he was just like them once. His depressive appearance gives the reader the ...

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