How Wilfred Owen Challenges The Romanticised & Glamorised Picture Of War
This essay is to explain and to show how Wilfred Owen challenges the
glamorised image surrounding the war. This glamorous image was created
by the media in order to get people to join up for the war, as a
result of the propaganda people believed that it was honourable to go
to war and you would be regarded as a hero. To do this I will need to
present evidence, using quotes and commentating on his various writing
techniques. To show this I am going to write about two of his poems:
Dulce et decorum est and Disabled. Both of these poems are renowned
for challenging the propaganda created by the media and proves that it
was all lies created to make people sign up for war and it's not in
any way honourable, heroic, glamorous or romantic to die in the war.
These poems have credibility because Owen has first hand experience in
the war as he served in WW1. He uses this to his advantage and writes
truthfully and openly to crush any remaining propaganda that may still
say that it is sweet and fitting to die for your country.
Dulce et decorum est is a poem that follows a nameless man through a
day during WW1 and describes some of the things that he saw.
He writes that they look 'like old beggars'. This is an effective
simile because when you think of 'old beggars' you think of dirty,
scruffy, weak ill people, which is a complete contradictory to the
image of a soldier that the media created using propaganda. They were
'coughing like old hags'. This is a simile. 'hags' are unhealthy and
unfit and this is not what soldiers are expected to be like. 'All went
lame, all blind;/Drunk with fatigue.' This is written in the past
tense and it is onomatopoeic. This whole stanza crushes the
propaganda. There is also an eerie atmosphere which helped by aural
imagery, "gas-shells dropping softly behind' the 's' is repeated, it
mimics the sound of the gas-shells dropping, sibilance. This stanza is
the complete antithesis of all the propaganda.
'Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!' This is a dramatic change in pace written in
the present tense and by using alliteration, repetition and direct
speech Owen sucks you into the panic and pressure of this attack. He
saw a man dying 'Dim through the misty panes' and you are immediately
put in his position and you are looking through the gas mask just as
he did. But by using 'dim' and 'misty' to describe his vision he
creates a distance between the dying man and us. I think with this
Owen wanted us to feel as though we were there but couldn't do
anything to help the dying man. This is not how it is made out to be,
it is supposed to be a honourable death if you die in the war but this
man 'drowned like a man in fire or lime'.
'In all my dreams', he is still haunted by the death of the man and
feels responsible because he didn't or couldn't help. It's like a
nightmare, every time he goes to sleep. 'plunges at me' the man...