Asleep Analysis (Wilfred Owen)

1967 Words Nov 4th, 2012 8 Pages
Asleep by Wilfred Owen
Under his helmet, up against his pack,
After so many days of work and waking,
Sleep took him by the brow and laid him back.

There, in the happy no-time of his sleeping,
Death took him by the heart. There heaved a quaking
Of the aborted life within him leaping,
Then chest and sleepy arms once more fell slack.

And soon the slow, stray blood came creeping
From the intruding lead, like ants on track.

Whether his deeper sleep lie shaded by the shaking
Of great wings, and the thoughts that hung the stars,
High-pillowed on calm pillows of God's making,
Above these clouds, these rains, these sleets of lead,
And these winds' scimitars,
-Or whether yet his thin and sodden head
Confuses more and more with the low mould,
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Paraphrase: “intrusive lead” meaning bullet, comparison “like ants on track” => militaristic, vivid imagery
Stanza 2 1. Euphemism: “deeper sleep” => death, alliteration “sh” => sound that is very soft and quiet => peacefulness 2. Metaphor: “shaking of great wings” => angels, connotation of heaven, “hung the stars” => figurative language makes this very “poetic” 3. Imagery and personification: “high-pillowed on calm pillows” not only creates imagery the repetition also adds to the emphasis of the comfort, a stark contrast to the following possibility as to where “he” went. This is also a metaphor as is demonstrated by the following lines, the calm pillows are in fact “these clouds”, soft and white. He personifies the pillows as being calm to reinforce the image of tranquility and paradise. 4. Anaphora: repetition of these adds to rhythm and starts the association or war with nature. He uses weather as a metaphor of the weapons, the gas, shells and bullets. The poet associates natural elements with the unnatural killing-machines created for war, which also creates a contrast. The soldier is above the chaos and the dangers of the battlefield. 5. Metaphor: scimitars = swords, sharp cutting wind like in Exposure => referring to cold perhaps. The soldier is free from these agonies. 6. Opposition with “ Or whether” and imminence “yet” creates bitterness as suggests
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