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In this report I will be comparing and contrasting two poets from two various designs of life and cultural customs. I will compare distinctions and similarities of how they deal with casualties of war. The very first poet is R.S.Thomas. The poem that i have actually picked is called evacuee, it is about a young lady who was born and matured in a large city perhaps London. She is evacuated to the Welsh countryside during the Second World War.
She has no parents or household when she leaves and she is accepted into a farming family.
She matures and it shows that she has no strategies of returning to the city. This poem has to do with the recovery power of nature and someone who is saved from the disastrous impacts of war. The second poet is Wilfred Owen. The poem is called Handicapped and it is about a young man who is a football gamer, an athletic male, he has a girlfriend and he delights in heading out and drinking.
He comes out of the club one night and he sees a military sign up and he is drawn in to the salutes, marches, uniforms, and so on. So he signs himself up. He is sent house from the war having lost his arms and his legs. He lives the rest of his life in a “Wheeled Chair”. These two poets originated from really different backgrounds and in this report i will compare and contrast those backgrounds.
Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born upon the 18th March 1893.
He was an English poet and soldier. His poems described the shocking and realistic horrors of the trench and gas warfare. He was eliminated in action at the Sambre-Oise Canal a week before the war ended. Owen had 4 bros and sisters and was born in Oswestry in Shropshire. When his grandpa died in 1897 the family was forced to relocate to accommodations in Birkenhead. He was raised as an Anglican of the evangelical school. His early impacts were John Keats and the Bible. In 1915 he got in the Artists Rifles. In 1917 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Manchester routine. Owen was diagnosed as struggling with shell shock and sent to Craiglockhart for treatment. Whilst there he met Siegfried Sassoon another poet. Owen nearly worshiped Sassoon as a hero stating that he was not worthy to light his pipe.
Ronald Stuart Thomas was born on the 29th March 1913. He was a Welsh poet and an Anglican Clergyman he was known for his nationalism and spirituality. He was born in Cardiff in Wales. The family moved to Holyhead in 1918 because of his fathers work. He was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church in Wales in 1936. He married Mildred Eldridge in 1940 and they stayed together until she died in 1991 apparently they never spoke to each other and never touched each other. They had one son named Gwydion. Thomas was a supporter of CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament). He died on the 25th September 2000 at the age of 87.
The poets have many differences and not so many similarities. The differences are that Wilfred Owen seems to stay away from religion in his poems and even shows detest in the poem disabled. While R.S. Thomas was a Clergyman and was widely known for his spirituality. Owen was born in a town near Birmingham called Shropshire. Thomas was born in Cardiff in Wales. Owen was a soldier and knew first hand about the horrors of war, what it was like living in the trench, and all the dangers of it, like trench-foot or gang green. While Thomas did not know anything about war apart from what he may have read from books. In my considered opinion i think that if the two poets had met each other they would not have been best friends for they were very different to each other. Owen did not like religion or priests when Thomas was a Clergyman.
The two poems, The Evacuee & Disabled, also have many differences and similarities. Disabled is in the 1st person and is more immediate while The Evacuee is in the 3rd person and is a lot slower in pace. The Evacuee has a religious feel while Disabled has an anti-religious feel. The Evacuee has the feeling of nature being personified as a healer and the city is being personified as a destroyer and killer in the case of Disabled. “He sat in a Wheeled Chair” this tells us that he has no arms because it is not a wheel chair but a wheeled chair because he can not wheel it himself, someone else has to. His life is in the hands of the nurse, he has no control over what happens in his life and he will never for the rest of his life. While the evacuee has been given a new lease of life after being sent to the welsh countryside because if she had stayed in the city she could have lived for one week or two but eventually she would have been caught by the bombings that went on every night or she would eventually get locked out during an air raid and probably shot dead where she stood.
Living in a big city during the Second World War, even any war, would have been terrible. Not being able to go out after dark, having to live in complete poverty, never knowing if the next death would be you or not. When an evacuee child is moved out of the city a large amount of them go to good homes where they can live there for free and not have to work and where they would get three meals a day but some evacuees would be moved to bad families that would become slave drivers and force the children that they took in to work on their farms until they dropped down dead. This was not legal at the time but because of the situation not many questions were posted at farming towns or families. There also was a large threat of gas attacks all the time which is why every single house in London had at least two gas masks.
Thomas would most likely have grown up around farming families and his family may have even took in an evacuee at one time so it is more likely that he knew more about evacuees then Owen did and vice versa that Owen would have know more about casualties of war from experience then all the knowledge that Thomas would have read. In my opinion to actually experience something like fighting in war is more knowledgeable then reading every book in the world about war. If the evacuee girl had stayed in London she would most probably have died like her family may have. The poem Disabled is about a young man who goes to war and returns with no legs and no arms. He sits at the window every day watching children playing football in the park, young couples walking along the road, and at night he hears and sees the young men and women coming out of pubs and clubs enjoying themselves.
He knows he will never be able to kick a ball again, he will never put his arm around a woman again, and he will most likely never be able to drink alcohol again because of medication he may be on. His life is over before it has even truly begun and he knows it. Day in and day out he is woken up by a nurse and put into his chair and left, he is ignored all day no woman will want to talk to him again and he will not have any young recruits coming to him asking for tips about keeping their rifles clean and polished nor will he ever receive even the smallest medal. He will probably only get his name written on a memorial of all the soldiers but nothing that he can say to someone “Yes I earned that and i am proud of my choices when i was younger”. He will regret the day he signed himself up for the army for the rest of his life and it could be long.
Throughout the both the poems there is a lot of figurative language used. In Disabled there is an image created in the fourth stanza where the man describes what he is attracted to in joining the army. “He thought of jeweled hilts for daggers in Plaid socks; of smart salutes; and care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears; Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.” He saw the jeweled hilts of the ceremonial swords that the soldiers had and he thought of himself with one and he saw the salutes to commanding officers and he liked this also. He wanted to get his hands on a gun and he thought of Esprit de corps. Esprit de corps is fighting along side soldiers, making friend, he thought joining the army would be like joining a football team or going away to camp. He had no fears of Germans.
He had no real fears at all, all he knew was that he was going to wear a smart suit and be able to have a gun and he did not think about killing enemies or even being killed. This creates an image for us as you can see him staggering out of a pub and seeing some soldiers at a stand holding a pen and paper. You can see the expression on his face as he thinks about all the things he would receive from joining the army. The Evacuee is all about personification of nature; Thomas personifies nature to be a healer and a protector.
He is saying that this girl who came from nothing, she was nearly dead, has been given new life by nature she has been healed. If there was pictures to go with this poem, I think that at the beginning it would show the girl very thin and sick looking and pale and near the end there would be another picture of her but it would look like a completely different person. Thomas is a strong believer in God and nature as a healer. He probably believed that this girl came from the city near death and with the power of nature with the fresh air, the grass, and the peace it helped her to grow strong and she probably became a believer herself.
The poem Disabled is more superior because it shows a realistic story of the devastating effects of war and its consequences on the human body. Wilfred Owens poems are very graphical and detailed he does not believe in an easy way to describe war. He just goes straight in and says exactly what it is like. Whereas R.S.Thomas is a religious person so he probably does not like anything to do with war and he probably believes that anyone can be saved no matter how bad their wounds are, mentally or physically, through prayer to God. In my opinion the disabled man could not be healed. He could move to the countryside and he might be happier but it is not going to make his legs grow back.
The poem The Evacuee is more superior because it shows how anyone can be healed by nature and how anyone can be saved from war. Thomas believes in nature and its powers, he believes that the evacuee girl is just an example of a casualty of war that has been saved. He has shown in his poem that nature and God combined together are unbeatable in the way that they can heal mental problems and maybe not physical ones like the disabled man but they could be made happier because living in a hospital for the rest of his life it would not be healthy for him. However if he had been given the chance to live in the countryside he could see nature for what it is. In my opinion both poems are equally superior in the way that they both describe casualties of war and both in their own way put in all the needed detail.
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