Irony of War Exposed in Dulce et Decorum, Regeneration, and Quiet on the Western Front
Many of the young officers who fought in the Great War enlisted in the army with glowing enthusiasm, believing that war was played in fancy uniforms with shiny swords. They considered war as a noble task, an exuberant journey filled with honor and glory. Yet, after a short period on the front, they discovered that they had been disillusioned by the war: fighting earned them nothing but hopelessness, death and terror. They had lost their lives to the lost cause of war, which also killed their innocence and youth. They were no longer boys but callous men. Wilfred Owen's poem "Dulce et Decorum Est", Pat Barker's novel Regeneration, and Erich Maria…show more content… He uses "An ecstasy of fumbling" (9) to describe the men grasping for their gas masks during the attack. The fact that "ecstasy" is used with "fumbling" is surprising and disturbing but suggests the difference between the society's beliefs about the war and the actuality of it. Images such as "flound'ring like a man in fire or lime..." (12), "He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." (16), "His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin" (20), "Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs" (22) hurls the pain of war and death into the readers face. By the end of the third and last stanza, the irony of the title has completely unfolded:
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori. (25-29)
Through vivid imagery and compelling metaphors, Owen wants people to stop lying about how "sweet" and "fitting" it is "to die for one's country".
Pat Barker's 1991 novel, Regeneration, represents her fictional-historical account of Rivers' treatment of the war poet Siegfried Sassoon. The novel's anti-war message is very clear and well argued from Barker's point of view because by emphasizing on war and madness she shows us how the minds of her characters were damaged by the war.
The novel begins with Sassoon's letter of resignation: " I am a soldier,