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Wilfred Owen Poetry


Willow’s poetry is based around the false glory of war and the true brutality of the experiences the soldiers faced while at battle. These ideas and experiences are represented in the poem’s Mental Cases and Disabled effectively as they discuss the physical and mental burdens the soldiers faced returning home from battle through the use of poetic techniques. Mental Cases revolves around the victims of shell shock and their experiences of never truly leaving the war.

The use of oxymoron’s, hyperbole and alliteration effectively demonstrate the horrific experiences these oldie’s can never mentally leave behind. The oxymoron ‘slow panic’ emphasizes the terrifying experiences that helped cause the soldier’s mental collapse. This allows the readers a chance to visualize the Inhuman battles these soldiers fought and Images that are constantly etched In their minds. This Image Is further stressed with the hyperbole that follows. The use of ‘chasms’ describes the expression upon the soldier’s face whilst reliving these nightmares.

This gives the readers a visual Image of their frenzied appearance. Owen continues to paint the pain on their faces and emphasize the effect of these experiences on what once were brave soldiers with alliteration further in the poem. Alliteration is coupled with juxtaposition in hilarious, hideous’ to describe the soldier’s smiles to portray how the expressions on the soldier’s face is somewhat comedic as it is almost unbelievable yet the seriousness of the shell shock makes it hideous as this soldier is in excruciating pain – he is haunted.

The use of this Juxtaposition creates an even more confronting image to the audience as they realism the extent of the mental condition. Owen effectively scribes the mental burdens these suffering soldiers face post-war and creates a bitter tone as the readers are partially to blame. The word ‘Always’ is used to highlight the everlasting mind horrors these men are faced with even after the war. This creates a somber tone as the audience begins to see the waste of human lives and that war isn’t accurately represented.

The repetition of ‘us’ emphasizes the social guilt for the soldier’s condition as our country sent them to war and sacrificed their sanity within. Disabled represents similar aspects concerning the false glory and true errors of war through the physical burdens another soldier faces upon returning home. Disabled tells the story of a young soldier, illegally enrolled, who returns home from war limbless. Owens use of contrast, symbolism and repetition successfully demonstrate the life this young man has wasted and the false glory that propaganda encourages.

Owen uses color references throughout the poem as symbolic elements to establish the disorientating mood as the soldier realizes his life will never be the same as it once was. ‘ghastly slut of grey represents the soldier’s scent Into depression as he watches the life he once lived float further and further away. Common references such as ‘dark’ and ‘sleep’ further emphasize his Isolation from the outside world. The soldier’s silence and social ostracism Is further represented through the repetition of Voices’ as It creates the Image of memories once passed that he will never forget.

Owen uses contrast throughout the entire poem to compare the soldier’s life before and after the war and emphasize the waste of human life the war has caused. A carefree tone is created through the natural he enjoyment the soldier would once experience. This is then contrasted with ‘Now he will never feel again how slim Girls waists are’. The use of ‘now emphasizes the reality of what his injuries truly mean as he is now shunned from women who once adored him.

Owen has used this image to accentuate the bright future ahead of the soldier that has now disintegrated into nothing because of his injuries and the audience is now able to understand the true horrors that war brings as it destroys the future of young soldiers. Owen also describes the naivety of the soldier by slighting the reasons he didn’t sign up to war, and the misguided reasons he did to emphasize the false glory of war that many young soldiers become entrapped to. For daggers in plaid socks’ conveys the soldier is still a boy as his dreams to go to war revolve around owning a knife. This soldier is a representative of all the young soldiers swept up by the patriotic hype created by the government. The alliteration in younger than his youth’ refers to his youthful innocence before war and how he is prematurely aged post-war. This accentuates to the readers the true effect of the war ND the horrors these men not only face whilst in battle but upon returning home to what they once knew.

Disabled effectively conveys the physical endeavourers associated with war and the waste of human lives as they may return home changed forever. Disabled and Mental Cases effectively use contrast, alliteration, and other poetic techniques to identify the physical and mental plights of the soldiers sent to war. Owen effectively emphasizes to the audience the true horrors and false glory of war that many are blind-sighted by and truthfully demonstrates the experiences these soldiers must face.