Close Study of Texts - Wilfred Owen Essays

1004 Words5 Pages
Alexandra Bucud

How does Owen’s portrayal of the relationship between youth and war move us to a deeper understanding of suffering? As an anti-war poet, Wilfred Owen uses his literary skills to express his perspective on human conflict and the wastage involved with war, the horrors of war, and its negative effects and outcomes. As a young man involved in the war himself, Owen obtained personal objectivity of the dehumanisation of young people during the war, as well as the false glorification that the world has been influenced to deliver to them. These very ideas can be seen in poems such as 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and 'Dulce ET Decorum EST Pro Patria Mori'. Owen uses a variety of literary techniques to convey his ideas.
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Although the subject of nightmare is only in two lines of the whole poem, this minor contribution is highly effective for it allows the audience access to the traumatising aftermath of the horrors of war. Wilfred Owen exhibits dehumanisation at an early stage in the poem 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'. The first line already connotes such idea, "What passing bells for these who die as cattle?" This metaphor represents the soldiers as cattle for they are slaughtered like cows, and at a much too young age. Dehumanisation is also indicated through the improper celebratory send-off they receive after death, where there is a lack of appropriate commemoration. "No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells". These factors demean the value of the young lives lost, therefore showing dehumanisation. Similar to Anthem for Doomed Youth, the idea of dehumanisation in 'Dulce ET Decorum EST Pro Patria Mori' is also introduced early in the poem. The first lines, "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks", and "Knock-kneed, coughing like hags" both describe the condition in which young people of the war suffered through. The similes allow the audience to visualise the soldiers more accurately. They are portrayed somewhat so weak and devaluated, look and feel much older than they are; in general, not at all possessing the qualities

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