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With specific focus on Wilfred Owen's Futility, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce et Decorum est, and Mental Cases evaluate the methods the poet uses to bring across his convictions, feelings and ideas.

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Introduction

With specific focus on Wilfred Owen's Futility, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce et Decorum est, and Mental Cases evaluate the methods the poet uses to bring across his convictions, feelings and ideas. "Who longs to charge and shoot, Do you my laddie." This jingoistic wartime poem by Jessie Pope ignites Owen's anger at these false impressions of war. This is evident in such poems as Dulce et Decorum est, originally penned towards Pope, hence the initial title, To a Certain Poetess. Owen's "senses were charred" at the sight of the "suffering of the troops", such accusations about the nature of warfare fuelling the malice of his work. Owen never openly retaliates, instead opting to include his resentment towards writers like Pope in his poems. Owen frequently conveys his convictions of lost youth in Anthem For Doomed Youth by referring to "the hands of boys", evidently refusing to acknowledge the maturity of the men. Owen's numerous references to religious symbols heightens the effects of his poems. In Anthem, we hear the "demented choirs of wailing shells." Angelic choirs are ironically reversed as Owen negates Christian ritual as being unfitting for those who die amid screaming shells. In Mental Cases, we also bear witness to Biblical images, asking if we are: "Sleeping, and walk hell But who these hellish?" Owen often compares war to Hell, comparing soldiers to creatures undergoing eternal torment, "Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows". This adds to the created impression of those driven mad by war, as he asks if the "multitudinous murders" these men have committed has doomed them to Hell. ...read more.

Middle

Owen's passion displays the real effects of such a grim and "monstrous" war, trying desperately to erase the false screen created by such jingoistic writers as Pope. One of Owen's tendencies is to incorporate intense sounds to support the potent imagery: "We were caught in a tornado of shells" This extract, from one of Owen's letters, provides insight into his writing of Anthem: "The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells" Owen uses his "submerged memories of warfare" to great effect, frequently applying onomatopoeia to his poems - the "stuttering rifle's rapid rattle" in Anthem, and the "batter of guns" in Mental Cases. The powerful resonance of the weapons intensifies the empathy the reader has for the "sacrificed men", as the hellish scene recreates the "rattling" in our own ears, as if we, the reader, were there. In Futility, a direct contrast is apparent, as the "whispering of fields at home" signifies the sharp difference between the frontline action, and the calmness of Blighty. This is a stark reminder from Owen that, whilst everything's fine and calm in Britain, there are "full-nerved" men dying in France. The continuation of Anthem's onomatopoeic clatters is mirrored most notably by Mental Cases' "batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles". The rhyming extends Owen's vivid ideas by suggesting that, as well as fighting and seeing the misery of comrades falling, the sounds of the "multitudinous murders they once witnessed" replay constantly in their minds, reminding them of the torment they met. ...read more.

Conclusion

Dulce also details how the men "marched...drunk with fatigue", explaining the exhausted state of the men. These three quotes are shocking, as these men are young, energetic men, but they're being reduced to quivering wrecks - suggesting men age quicker in the trenches, due to the horrors they see, and what they have to experience. This is a direct juxtaposition, where the young are dying before the old (A role reversal), but are seen as being 'old' themselves. Owen's visual ideas on death are nothing short of morbid, describing: "at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs" In Dulce and Mental Cases, Owen adopts a macabre approach to extend the demons of these men. In Dulce, the "white eyes" of the "hanging face" suggest death is upon the man, and that he is looking at the men to choose his next victim. This idea is carried into Mental Cases, where there are men "whose minds the Dead have ravished". Owen suggests, through a conviction of anxiety, that death is omnipresent, and that the worst fear is to become a "purgatorial shadow". Owen writes to display one main conviction: that the false pretences of war are just that - false. By writing about such shocking and disturbing issues, Owen breaks the fabricated lies and makes his feelings known by adding ambiguous sentences to his poems, "marching asleep" - fatigue of war, or asleep to the glorious propaganda that recruited them? Owen's poems are full of truths, however controversial they seem, and he projects his convictions and feelings any way he can, regardless of consequences. Hemant Sahi English Literature Coursework: World War 1 Poetry ...read more.

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Response to the question

This is an extended essay directed to answer a question about the poetic devices Wilfred Owen uses to convey his convictions, feelings and ideas in 'Futility', 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Mental Cases'. The answer demonstrates ...

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Response to the question

This is an extended essay directed to answer a question about the poetic devices Wilfred Owen uses to convey his convictions, feelings and ideas in 'Futility', 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Mental Cases'. The answer demonstrates an exceptional level of focus on the four poems and how each one tells us a lot about Owen's passion to convey the falseness of War. The candidate concentrates on poetic devices such as irony, rhyme, Second Person address, and more, as well as discussing the literal and connotative messages and themes present in all four. An exemplary answer.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is simply outstanding. A very extensive essay, it covers each of the question ideas without once feeling systematic or like the analysis shown is regurgitated from a classroom. This shows the candidate has undertaken external independent research by which they fortify their answer with not only an understanding of the poems, but an understanding of Owen. This level of enthusiasm and drive really comes out in their essay, as they delve to a profound level of appreciation of the four poems. Examiners looks for evidence of independent research, and this can range to something extensive to anything a simple as realising that 'Dulce et Decorum est' was directed at jingoist Jessie Pope and was originally titled 'To A Certain Poetess'. The candidate, if wishing to improve their answer, may have commented briefly on the changes to titles 'Anthem For Dead Youth' (changed to 'Anthem for Doomed Youth') and 'Purgatory Passions' (changed to 'Mental Cases') and how these changes affect the poems' effect e.g. - "Doomed" holds greater resonance than "Dead", suggesting that from the minute they are in France, the soldiers may as well be dead as they are marching to their graves.
There is an excellent use of quotes. I don't thinks there's a sentence without one and every single one of them is nicely embedded in the text. This shows an adeptness with language and also a close attention to detail in how to incorporate as much of the four poems as possible. The answer flows nicely and the use of these quotes create direct links to the poems being analysed, instating a further level of focus some candidates forget to even think about.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is very high as well. There is a plethora of appropriate terminology used and every word is spelt and used accurately. There is also a very good handling of grammar and a wide range of a variety of complex punctuation. This shows confidence and adeptness in language and is something often overlooked by some candidates however, this candidate demonstrates that their knowledge of English is of very high quality. I, and some examiners, may argue that it would not be a proper use of language though, to abbreviate the titles of published works from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' to something like 'Anthem', and likewise with to other poems. This is entirely subjective though and some exam boards may allow this.


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