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Wilfred Owen Analysis Essay

1. In stanza one, I notice that Wilfred Owen is putting himself in the shoes of soldiers in the war, he tends to describe the poor conditions the soldiers were to march in and the constant hours they were forced to stay awake. It is also mentioned that they were in a continuous flee from the bombs that were dropped, dropped so close that they became blind, deaf, and even bloody. In stanza two, the fear of the soldiers is continued as poisonous gas is released upon them. The nervousness of them was intense and it seems almost as if they were too scared to even remember how to put on their helmets. Many people ended up without being able to equip in time and therefore ‘drowned’ in the green sea of poisonous gas.

In stanza three, the shortest of them all, the reader is able to experience the sadness almost of losing a fellow soldier. This stanza contains the explanation of a soldier choking on gas running to you for help, only minutes away from death, struggling to survive. In stanza four, the reader is to feel how a soldier felt losing a fellow soldier and disposing of his body. Owen incorporates the reader into the poem by saying “if in some smothering dreams you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in”, and then goes into further details of how it felt to dispose of the body. This tends to me a very gruesome scene and this is developed through imagery. Owen also mentions that it is not sweet and proper to die for ones country due to the things you have to face and suffer.

2. The speaker is a soldier in the war, currently in the struggle of being constantly attacked and watching his fellow soldiers die in front of his eyes and having to dispose of the bodies. The person being spoken is the children ardent for some desperate glory, as he is explaining that going to war to be patriotic or such is not the right choice; he is advising the children.

3. The main theme of this poem is of course war. Going into this theme, leads to the loss of soldiers in the war, the struggle of soldiers in the war, the thoughts of soldiers in the war, the emotions of soldiers in the war, and the site of soldiers in the war. This is mainly conveyed through imagery and very descriptive adjectives. The seriousness of the gas is conveyed through repetition.

4. This poem compares in theme and style to Nazis by Leona Gom. It does this in many ways, one in such that the overall theme of the poem is fear and war. Both poems surround a theme of chaos and confusion and they both portray this by using short sentences and words that evoke fear and disruption. Both poems intertwine and capture their audiences by using sense evoking comparisons and synonyms.

5. Owen’s vivid images of war did not impact my understanding of war too much. This is because due to many war movies in the world of today I had already seen the poor conditions that soldiers have to live in and take on daily. With Owen’s use of vivid images I was able to picture the scenarios in my head and notice the fear in the soldiers and their struggle for existence. Reading this poem led me to realize that war does not solve anything, neither does it make you receive glory as a patriot as you are not only killing yourself but you are also killing others of your nation.

6. The line “The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” Is a line meaning “The old Lie: It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country.” Ironically no matter what people say, as patriotic as one can be this statement is true as it is a lie. In book two it is mentioned that Robert and his platoon/squad are living in terrible conditions as they have to sleep on wires and use boots as pillows. Not only this, but as Robert progresses the route alone he faces a near death experience falling in the deep mud. It is also shown that they live in a fear as being soldiers due to the fact that for each noise they hear such as birds they are to evaluate it and make sure it is not something that will lead to their death. This proves that it is not sweet and proper to die for ones country as you do not die a sweet and proper death. You tend to live a life of fear and die a painful death.


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