2.4 Wilfred Owen poem essay.

The poems “Dulce Et Decorum Est” and “Exposure”, which where written by Wilfred Owen, used different language techniques that helped the reader to understand what the poems meaning was. Every paragraph will have its own theme, which is because every quote and language technique is different and represents a different theme. However, the general theme will be that war is pointless, and that there are many different aspects as to why war is both terrible and pointless.

In the poem “Exposure”, by Wilfred Owen, there are many different sentences where personification is used. This will be analyzed about how personification was used by the use of quotes. Here are a few of them: “For hours the innocent mice rejoice:the house is theirs;”, “Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army.” The reason these were added was because it makes it feel like everything that surrounds the soldiers have their own lives; their own power. By doing this, it makes it seem like their surroundings are human, easily capable of being the enemies of the soldiers. Like when the mice are referred to being in control of the house, which is generally how humans are viewed. Yet it is used to describe mice being in control, saying the same as if these mice are above the soldiers.The weather in this case was one of the other enemies of the soldiers, which is referred to in the second quote, particularly when the incoming clouds are described as an army. Then there is the fact that every single other sentence described how the weather killed the soldiers, for instance “Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us . . . “. This quote is one of the ones that describe how the weather kills the soldiers, and so yes, the weather is another enemy of the soldiers. The poem also talks about the soldiers as ghosts being forced home “Slowly our ghosts drag home:”, they aren’t even referred to as human, which puts humans even lower on the scale of reality. This affects the readers understanding by changing who they view as the true people in the poem, as well as changing who the reader thinks to be the enemy of the soldiers.  This personally affected me in the way that I started to wonder about just what is the most dangerous thing in war. Is it the enemy soldiers, constantly shooting at you, and trying to kill you, or is it the weather and environment around you, that are the true enemy? This poem got me to wonder about that, causing me to come to the conclusion: No one can ignore the weather and environment around you, it is a powerful enemy.

In the poem “Exposure” by Wilfred Owen, there is some listing. Some of this is in the next quote. “But nothing happens.” This sentence is used many times throughout the poem, which drives home the point the sentence is trying to make. In this case, the sentence is trying to drive home how “nothing happens” in the war. It makes sure the reader knows how the soldiers are just sitting there. Sometimes they die from the enemy. Sometimes they die from the weather. And yet, “nothing happens” in the way that the soldiers themselves are doing the same thing everyday; nothing new ever happens. That is, they are sitting in their trenches; attacking the enemy soldiers; watching their friends die from both the bullets and the weather, and just wondering why they are there. This affected my personal understanding by changing the way I think about the war. It is similar to some people lives today. Everyone knows of those people who do the exact same things everyday, just living out there lives without even a hint of reason as to why they do so. It generally leads to depression, and then potentially even suicide as a way to escape the boredom and sadness they feel. The only difference in war is that there is a bit of bad weather and there are bullets constantly whizzing by causing them to die by other means. This ended up changing my view of war from one of protecting other people from the enemy who is invading your country to one of war being pointless, and only leading to death no matter what is done.

In the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, written by Wilfred Owen, repetition is used a few times. Here are some quotes where this is displayed: “All went lame; all blind” With this one sentence, the reader understands that the soldiers ability to move and process what is happening around them is practically gone. Without this, the reader wouldn’t of understood just how bad the situation the soldiers were in when the gas bombs dropped, and might of gotten confused at the point of saying “An ecstasy of fumbling,” as it could’ve also had a happy feeling to it. Another thing is by using repetition here, it creates a more powerful effect, making sure the reader knows that the soldiers bodys are failing. By doing this, the reader will know that the war has been tough against them, and that it has ruined their bodys. It affected my personal understanding of the poem by making sure I knew just how bad it was for them, and how terrible war can be for both the people who survive and for the people who die. The people who die, die an excruciating death. And the people who survive have to live with both physical and mental traumers for the rest of their life. This point also happens in the poem “Exposure”, when “Tonight, this frost will fasten on this mud and us, Shrivelling many hands, and puckering foreheads crisp. The burying-party, picks and shovels in shaking grasp, Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,” which describes how both the people who died, and the people who survived, are in terrible conditions. They barely even know who they are burying, and all the while they bury them, they are slowly dying. This truly showcases how terrible war is, and how sad it is that these soldiers went to it and died; only to be barely recognisable by their fellow soldiers.

In the poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, by Wilfred Owen, emotive language is used many times. This is an analyzation of some of the quotes showing emotive language: “His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;” By using this in the poem, the author can help describe just how nasty the gas is. It affects the readers in the way of telling them that this soldier, fighting for you and your country, is looking about as good as a pile of sick. So it will create large amounts of the feeling horror in the reader. Without it, there is still plenty of emotive language to describe the situation, but each sentence builds up on another to describe an image of how bad the soldier is looking. Because of this building up of horror of how bad the situation is for the soldier, it will better affect the reader than if only one or two sentences where said(In which case there would be no build-up, and the reader will only feel a slight disgust). This personally affected me in the way that I now better understand just how horrible being on the receiving end of a gas attack is. It also got me to better understand that war is a really terrible thing; every part of the poem had something to do with the suffering or worry caused by war. This means that no matter who the reader is, if they read this poem, they will understand at least a little of how terrible war is. Wilfred Owen’s other war poems also had a similar idea. That is, they would explain a view or time he had personally experienced in war. Which led to every war poem he made explaining how horrible war is, and convincing many people that it is a terrible thing.

The poems that were talked about were “Exposure” and “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen. 4 language techniques where discussed: Personification, listing, repetition and emotive language. Themes presented are: There are more than one enemy on the battlefield, you have to watch out for the environment too; In life, there will be points were everything feels meaningless, were “nothing happens”, war is no exception; War is horrible, it leaves everyone who survives grieving in pain, and everyone who died, had died a horrible, quite possibly pointless, death; War causes many to die, and it is rarely as simple as just being shot in the head, instead many will go through many different tortures, trying their hardest to survive, only to end up dying at the hands of a gas attack that no one noticed coming. From this, it is obvious there is plenty to learn from these poems. Each one will have affected the reader in powerful ways, so that it would be difficult not to realize something from it. For myself, every theme I just writ where some of the lessons I learnt that I could more easily describe. But in general, I learnt that war is a terrible and potentially pointless thing. Or at least, it isn’t worth the massive amount of sacrifices given to it.


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