Critical Appraisal Of 'futility', Poem By Wilfrid Owen Concerning The War Comparisons Weaved In From Other Poems By Owen, Brooke And Pope.

1590 words - 6 pages

Critical Appraisal of 'Futility'Jaffar Al-Rikabi 12 - 2"Do they matter? -those dreams from the pit? ...You can drink and forget and be glad,And people won't say that you're mad..."Siegfried Sassoon, "Does it matter?"August 1914, Britain declares war on Germany and the First World War begins. A war that brings about the deaths of millions of men, the destruction of land to a scale unseen before, and after four years of fighting, the war ends, the reasons as to why it happened still baffles all, yet the effects it had on people were so shockingly clear, yet very few people could absorb it, or even accept it ever happened.Most people in Britain welcomed the start of the war. The feelings of excitement, patriotism, and a sense of duty and the romantic ideas of what war would be like persuaded many to join. People were constantly fed propaganda about what war is like and how it will affect a person, while the true effects were only discovered on the battlefield by soldiers who never came back. For those who came back with severe injuries the trauma was not over. They came back only to find that the mood of the British people had changed, indeed, there was to be no cheering for those who risked their lives fighting for it; they came back only to find that society would rather forget what happened during these years...that society no longer cares. It is the physical trauma that these men suffered during the war and the psychological trauma they suffered on their return back that Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon became renowned to write about; their poems are a stark contrast to that of Jessie Pope's "who's for the Game?" and Rupert Brooke's "Peace", two poems written to persuade men to recruit by emphasizing the ideas of heroism and chivalry, as they show a much more accurate reflection of the war, the horridness of battle and the tragedy of losing so many men.Wilfred Owen's 'Futility' is one which seems to be based on his first spell in the battle line in January 1917. It is a poem which uses rhetorical questions, personification and a variety of adjectives and verbs to describe the death of one soldier who before going to battle was a farmer, sowing seeds and living on the sun's rays. We are uncertain of the cause of his death; perhaps it is the 'snow' or maybe it is just coincidence that he was shot at dawn. Owen writes this poem in the sonnet form, perhaps the most challenging form for any English poet, as it is traditionally used to talk about love or the theme of war, and ends his lines in rhymes in the pattern of ABABCDC EFEFGHG. This complicated rhyming scheme creates a jarred effect perhaps reflecting Owen's shock and disgust at the death of this soldier in this poem, a stylistic feature he uses in many of his poems most effectively in 'Dulce et Decorum est', a poem based on a re-occurring nightmare that Owen says haunts him 'In all my dreams'. It is a dream of the young, helpless soldier Owen watches suffocate and die during a sudden attack...

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