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Wilfred Owen Essay

2302 words - 10 pages

Wilfred Owen

Task 1:

The Next War

The author portrays Death as a personified character who does not cause the soldiers fear or grief. Although death has come in many forms the soldier has accepted that it is everywhere and has become unaffected by it. This is emphasised in the epigraph in the first stanza and further supported in the first line of the second stanza “we’ve walked quite friendly up to Death, sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland”. This highlights the soldier’s acceptance of death and war and how they relate. The soldier has ‘leagued with him’ and so the soldiers laugh as they have killed just like Death has.

Anthem for Doomed Youth

This poem draws an ...view middle of the document...

The metaphor of ’under a green sea' allows the reader to understand the horrific situation and imagine a suffocating or drowning feeling due to the chlorine gas. This dramatic nature is continued in the second half of the poem building imagery and climax as ‘before my helpless sigh, he plunges at me’ dying an agonizing death. The last stanza particularly has an effect on the reader as it is directed to the audience. The author asks the audience to imagine the horrific ‘smothering dreams’, which I did as I read through the descriptions in the previous stanzas. Most significantly for me, was the closing line of the poem where the author directly and sarcastically quotes ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ aimed at the youth back home sheltered in the propaganda of war.


The poem reflects the many different perspectives of the men who are experiencing life on the front line. It shows the different ways that the men suffered, emotionally, spiritually and physically and contrasts the effects of the war on different individuals. The men are contrasted as, ‘happy’, ‘wise’ and ‘cursed’ in the first six stanzas. The author describes the effects of their perspective on their humanity and sanity as some ‘some cease feeling’ and can ‘laugh among the dying, unconcerned’. This is contrasted with the oblivious nature of ‘happy the solder home, with not a notion’ where ‘men attack, and many sighs are drained’. These references and metaphors describe the effects of the brutality and sadness of war, causing the soldiers to be ‘insensible’.


The description in the opening of the poem allows the audience to imagine an early winter morning. The first line is almost a command, either by the author or a commander telling soldiers to move the body into the sun. The metaphoric link to the farm allows the audience to connect with the dead soldier and understand a little about his life. Just as flowers in a field, the sunlight is personified to wake the soldiers up until that point. The soldier has passed and not even the sun can wake him anymore. It is possible that the metaphoric link to the ‘fields unsown’ suggests the soldier was a farmer before the war. The second stanza becomes less specific. No specific setting is described as the previous stanza had. The author reflects on the death of the soldier by considering universal issues and questioning the point of existence. It was the death of the soldier and the absent power of the sun, the light and foundation of life that made him question life and its purpose.

Strange Meeting

This poem is written in a narrative like structure and it almost seems like it was a dream or hallucination as the poem opens with ‘It seems like that out of battle I escaped’. The poem is split into two perspectives, the first being Owen’s as he describes the setting as an underground tunnel where he met a dead man in Hell. From the third stanza till the end of the poem the other person or the dead man speaks and...

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