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The poem titled “Futility” meaning uselessness or pointlessness. Owen is trying to say this war is the pointless war. The soldiers are useless that they’re dead. No matter how much the soldier work, it doesn’t worth it. The poem is written in fourteen lines and divided into two verses. The two verses are contrast each other. The first verse’s atmosphere is quite, soft, tender and peaceful and the second verse’s atmosphere sounds more desperate, frustrate, ridiculous and demanding for something to happen.
In the first verse, three verbs that describe the action of the Sun, move, gently, and touch are quite soft and tender. These verbs describe that the sun move softly, gently and touch the soldier to wake him up. The sun here means the sun that shines everyday to wake the man and at the same time it may symbolize religious. The sun that used to wake him up and care for him. It’s metaphor that the sun moves the man into the light.
The third line of verse one, it mentioned that the soldier was once a farmer. The word whispering is onomatopoeia meaning the sun is whispering to the man about the memories the man used to have on the farm. It’s a soft and tender plus pleading together. “Unsown” means that the field has not seeded but yet the sun is shining now to tell the man that it’s the beginning of the planting season now. In other meaning, the word unsown is metaphor that the soldier is still too young for them to join the war, as they haven’t start their adult life yet.
The fourth and fifth lines, ‘Always it awoke him, even in France, until this morning and this snow.’ The sun symbolizes the warmth of life and the snow symbolizes the coldness of death. The sun always arouses him everywhere even he’s in France but this morning is different because snow has partially block the man so the man wasn’t able to wake up. The word morning has two different meaning. One is the everyday morning, which is the beginning of the day and the second meaning referring to the word mourning. Owen is mourning for the man who has die.
The last two line of the last two line, Owen is pleading to god, please please if anything can rouse him now please do it and in this case only god who can do it. Only the old sun that used to be very kind can wake him up now. The sun here is personified by referring the sun as old and kind. Through the whole verse Owen create the sound by using assonance of the repetition of “ow” sound in woke, unsown, snow, rouse, now and know.
Owen used an imperative verb, think, at the beginning of the second verse. It’s order the reader to think and at the same time Owen also make it sound more desperate. He is desperate to think on how the sun will wake the seeds. The seeds here give the image of growth and nature and it symbolized the beginning of life. He is desperate to ask how god wakes the soldier that is already died on the ground.
The third line of the second verse mention the word “limbs”, it has two meaning. First a limb is a branch of a tree, which fit in with the nature. Second meaning means the pair of legs, arms and wings. Owen means that god create these nature and mankind. The line after this said “full-nerved, –still warm, — too hard to stir?” Owen means that he still don’t understand how the sun gives life to seeds, but not the warmness to these soldier.
The fifth line “Was it for this the clay grew tall?” this refer to the war. Clay is mud and mud comes from Earth. The clay grew tall; in this case the clay symbolized man. In this line Owen was asked what was this war for? Do we do all this to kill? Is this why we put him on this Earth? So what is the point of life?
The last two lines “—O what made fatuous sunbeams toil to break Earth’s sleep at all?” Owen ask this question starting with what made, he means what is the point of sending these men these men to the war and died there? It’s seems so silly that the sun create life for these him and then let them died with regret.
The first verse focuses upon a dead soldier and second verse asked why the sun is shining at all. Why there is life when there is such a suffering, Owen is trying to say if the sun can wake up life on Earth but why can’t it wake up his soldier because what he thinks is that if anything could make the soldier it must be the sun.
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