Examining The First World War Poetry English Literature Essay

The First World War poesy of Wilfred Owen supply a comprehensive and emotional history of the force he himself witnessed during his clip served in WWI with the Manchester Regiment from 1914 to 1918. Owen wanted to show the world, horror and futility of war. Although the imagination and signifier of his verse forms vary well throughout his verse form, there are two chief elements of his poesy in his descriptions of physical and psychological anguish suffered by the soldiers in the war. He is quoted as depicting his work. “ Above all, I am non concerned with Poetry.My topic is War and the commiseration of War. The poesy is in the commiseration. ”

The bill of exchange of this verse form “ Apologia Pro Poemate Meo ” which translates as ‘Reason for my poesy ‘ is thought to hold been completed in November 1917. Owen had been encouraged by Robert Graves to follow a more optimistic attitude to his poesy instead than the morose and glum tone portrayed in his old verse forms.

“ Apologia Pro Poemate Meo ” which consists of nine ordered quatrains with an jumping rhyming form is one of Owens more unfussy verse form. There is a unvarying beat which helps Owen reiterate his message to the people who had no traffics with the war that they should seek and understand the forfeits being made by the combat soldiers at the forepart and the chumminesss that had formed in the trenches. The verse form starts with a spiritual mention to God ‘s being in the clay. Owen says “ I, excessively, saw God through clay ” . Although the usage of the pronoun ‘I ‘ gives an indicant that this may be more of a personal verse form similar to Dulce et Decorum est ‘ or ‘The Sentry ‘ they are dissimilar, in that, “ Apologia Pro Poemate Meo ” is non gleaned from personal experience and once more it is unlike ‘Anthem for a Doomed Youth ‘ where Owen distances himself from the actions of the war but the overruling subjects of these verse forms are similar, in that, they contain prophetic undertones.

Owens referral to God may be interpreted as, either God is all around them or that the soldiers have become about God-like because of their power to take life. The very reference of ‘mud ‘ in the first line conjures up the image of adversity in the trenches based on the fact that there is a intimation that the clay must hold been dry as it “ cracked on cheeks ” therefore the soldiers must non hold washed for a long clip and did non smile really frequently “ when wretches smiled ” . Owen continues by stating that the existent combat by the soldiers brings more glorification than decease by the mere fact of being at that place. At the terminal of stanza one Owen tells us how “ War brought more glorification to their eyes than blood ” . Glory is non a word frequently used or found in Owens work giving us the feeling that possibly Owen is composing a less cheerless verse form than his others and that he is seeking to show War as being really chauvinistic.

On the other manus when Owen goes on to explicate how soldiers were non supposed to experience compunction for killing we can surmise that there is no honor or glorification in war. Equally good as conveying honor, the war had provided more pregnant to their laughter which presumptively did non go on really frequently, because when they did laugh, it was with relish “ And gave their laughs more hilarities than shingles a kid ” . At the terminal of the stanza Owen reminds us of how immature the soldiers are, his reference of “ glee ” makes one think of their young person. The usage of contrasting linguistic communication such as ‘laughter ‘ , ‘smiles ‘ and ‘glory ‘ are in struggle with the vowel rhyme of ‘mud ‘ and ‘blood ‘

In the 2nd stanza a sense of joyousness continues “ Merry it was to laugh there- ” proposing that out ‘there ‘ , there was more to express joy about than at place, possibly because of the fact that it may be their last laugh! It is difficult to believe that there was laughter in the trenches. It may hold been the instance that they appreciated laughter more. “ Where decease becomes absurd and life absurder ” is Owens reading of the life of a soldier, as decease additions you nil but life is more absurd, as the work forces have the right to perpetrate slaying! “ For power was on us as we slashed castanetss bare ” Death is referred to as ‘murder ‘ non ‘killing ‘ demoing how Owen viewed the undertaking of the soldier. Yet once more there is a contrast in the linguistic communication where, on one manus we have the ‘merry ‘ work forces and on the other we have ‘murder ‘ , this contrast is emphasised by the usage of stamp linguistic communication throughout the verse form utilizing sibilance e.g. ‘seraphic ‘ , ‘soft silk eyes ‘ .

In stanza three Owen states “ I, excessively, have dropped off Fear ” stating us that he has lost any fright he may hold had. The usage of a capital ‘F ‘ in the word ‘Fear ‘ may connote that fright is a personification of a God-like position and that God is the fright, particularly when read alongside the first line of the verse form. Owen so creates a phantasmagoric image of being able to drift above the battleground where the barbed wire and the dead soldiers lie “ sailed my spirit billowing ” this may stand for Owens ability to come out of his milieus and see that there is more to merely life and decease and that there is a abnormalcy, whereby, even in a hopeless topographic point, felicity existed “ And witnessed jubilance ” . Not burying that Owen was a really immature officer and had been taking work forces with more experience than him. There may hold been some bitterness to him giving them orders but now this is all behind them “ Faces that used to cuss me, frown for frown ” they are now wholly together as one and “ Shine and raise up with passion of offering ” . Owen continues with the spiritual imagination “ Seraphic for an hr, though they were disgusting ” . The delicate undertone is broken by Owens ‘ mention to the work forces as being “ foul ” which likely refers to their hygiene and disgusting linguistic communication. The spiritual overtones so discontinue as Owen goes on to mention to the more human facets of the war and the relationships that formed “ I have made families ” and compares them with the loving relationships that are more of the conventional and traditional manner and so says that the friendly relationships found in the trenches are more than this, “ For love is non the binding of just lips ” . Owen does non do mention to decease or injuring merely that “ the patch of the arm that drips ” the soldiers are united in at that place shared experiences. Even in such rough milieus Owen manages to happen “ beauty ” , “ music ” and “ peace ” which, under normal fortunes would be out of topographic point in the trenches.

Owens usage of initial rhyme “ Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddish batch ” provides an image of changeless barrage but this is tempered by the soft sounds which gives a contrast between the combat and the emotions felt by the soldiers.

It is in the concluding stanzas of the verse form that Owen changes the temper and attitude by mentioning straight to the reader, stating that, they, as civilians may finally travel to hell the soldiers are already at that place. He describes the horror in the trenches that the soldiers experience as one of “ Whose universe is but a shaking of a flair ” . The reference of “ snake pit ” twice in speedy sequence in this stanza merely serves to underscore the horror of war to the reader. Having antecedently described the soldiers ‘ experiences in soft and soft tones as being happy Owen states that this should non be taken earnestly “ By any joke of mine ” , the reader sitting safely at place will non be privy to the laughter of the soldiers “ You shall non hear their hilarity ” nor should they believe that they are happy, as non merely the dead soldiers should be mourned but the life every bit good. Owen is evidently disillusioned with the attitude amongst those at place by stating in the last line “ These work forces are deserving aˆ¦ . Your cryings: You are non deserving their gaiety ” .

Owens usage of direct address and the present tense gives a sense of earnestness and urgency, his descriptive ability to advance the imagination of sight, sound and odor serve to underscore the horrors of the war fought in the trenches. Owens ‘ usage of half rimes provides elaboration to his capable affair which is both upseting and jarring.