How Does Wilfred Owen Provoke Sympathy for His Protagonist in ‘Disabled Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 June 2017

How Does Wilfred Owen Provoke Sympathy for His Protagonist in ‘Disabled

Owen provokes sympathy for his main character throughout the book and in every stanza. In the opening stanza Owen connects the reader with the main character, by making the reader feel sorry for him. The boy feels as though he is ‘waiting for dark,’ this makes the reader feel pity on the boy, as he knows he is waiting to die. By connecting the reader with the protagonist they feel more sympathy for him and they feel upset when he feels lonely and isolated. ‘

Voices of play and pleasure,’ tells the reader that the boys in the park are happy and the boy in the wheeled chair probably used to be like that, but now he is in a wheeled chair he will never be able to get his youth back. This makes the reader feel sympathy as the main character will never be able to be a child again and experience his youth. Owen shows the reader that ‘sleep had mothered them from him,’ he said this to show the reader that he is some sort of monster and children need to be saved from him. This provokes sympathy in the protagonist because he is unable to be seen normally by people now he is in a wheeled chair.

In the second stanza sympathy is created in a different way to the first, in the second stanza, Owen tells the reader about what the boy in the wheeled chair misses. The boy misses girls, he think he will never feel love or intimacy again, ‘never feel again how slim girls’ waists are,’ Owen uses never as a hyperbole to exaggerate the boys sadness about never being able to be with a girl. The boy feels all the ‘girls glanced lovelier,’ as he can’t have any of the girls anymore he feels as though they are all beautiful and he wants to be with all of them. ‘All of them touch him like some queer disease,’ Owen uses “all of them,” a hyperbole, is used to show that the soldier feels alienated from everyone, specifically women, who his disability repels. This makes the reader feel sorry for him because he will never be treated normally and people don’t really want to touch him especially girls, as they are the ones he misses the most.

The third stanza creates sympathy by using mainly the boy’s youth and innocence. Owen does this so the reader feels connected with the boy; people feel more sympathy for someone who lives a short life than for someone who dies living a full life. Owen says that last year he was ‘younger than his youth,’ but ‘now he is old,’ this shows sympathy for the boy as he lost his youth and life in one year. The reader feels sorry for the boy also as ‘he’s lost his colour very far from here,’ the lack of detail about his location shows the reader that the boy may not have known where he was.

‘Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,’ Owen uses this metaphor to convey the boy pouring his life a way and he uses imagery so the reader can picture in their heads what he must have gone through and feel pity towards him. When Owen says that ‘one time he liked a blood smear down his leg,’ and he was ‘carried shoulder high,’ the boy used to like being a hero and impressing people such as his teammates and girls. This makes the reader feel sorry for the boy as no-one thinks he is a hero anymore and that was probably the reason he joined, to become a hero. Owen says that the boy had ‘drunk a peg,’ and ‘thought he’d better join,’ which provokes sympathy by showing the reader he only joined due to of peer pressure and he probably felt if he hadn’t joined he would be letting the football team down.

Owen provokes sympathy in the fourth stanza by portraying to the reader that it was not the protagonist’s fault that he has the injuries. Owen firstly blames women for it, he says the boy joined the army ‘to please his Meg,’ Owen uses Meg to be symbolic of all women as Meg was a common name in those times. The fact that he joined for a girl makes the reader feel sorry fort the boy because he did not know what he was getting into and he was just trying to be a hero to impress girls, but by the end girls didn’t even notice him. Owen shows anger towards women and says ‘to please the giddy jilts,’ which was very insulting to women and he basically said they are just there to be impressed by men.

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

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  • Date: 3 June 2017

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