An Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s Strange Meeting Essays

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An Analysis of Wilfred Owen’s Strange Meeting

Analysis of a working manuscript for Wilfred Owen's "Strange Meeting" provides the student with insight into the creative process. Owen's original wording coupled with his subsequent revisions illuminate how he may have intended the poem to be understood by the reader. Owen's revisions show a determination to accomplish three apparent objectives. First, Owen paid close attention to the connotative meanings inherent in his diction. Equally as important, Owen attempted to refine his language mechanics to enhance the esthetic quality of his work. Finally, there is evidence of a concerted effort to universalize the poem for readers of diverse experience.

In contrast to prose writing,
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If the face displays "fears", the reader can assume some attributes of the person and the situation of his death.
"Fears" also brings some life to the image, which may be why the Norton version uses "pains", which are not only easier to envision on a corpse, but also attribute different characteristics to the person. If the person felt fear, the reader is less likely to empathize with him. If he felt pain, then the reader may tend to ennoble the person, and understand in a very different way the situation of his death. Later in the same line, the word "creatures" is replaced by "visions". This change brings more humanity to the subject removing the connotation of bestiality, while reinforcing the fact that the person is dead. The appearance of the dead man as a "vision" brings an unearthly quality to the scene without compromising the humanity of the soldier. Line 14 contains a similar change in wording. Owen substitutes "strange" for "my". The dead soldier is not in actuality the speaker's friend, so "my" is not a good word choice because of its personal nature. "My" also conveys little in the way of imagery. "Strange", however, reinforces the otherworldly dichotomy of the situation.

Another example of connotative meanings at work occurs in line 12, which appears to have originally read "Yet no blood pumped here from the upper ground." Owen's revisions read "reached him", and "reached him there". The Norton Anthology
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