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Internal Conflict In Dulce Et Decorum Est" By Wilfred Owen And "Greasy Lake" By T.C Boyle

1433 words - 6 pages

In literature, whether short story or poem there usually seems to be some sort of internal conflict. Such conflict is not a visual or tangible opposition, it is simply within the mind. It is a character dealing with his or her own mixed feelings or emotions. Let's be honest, without a certain level of conflict, poems and short stories would fall short of the readers expectations and wouldn't be as interesting. People would be less apt to read them, after all, we as readers like to be able to connect to a certain character in a specific reading and sympathize with them, and more importantly empathize with them. Two examples of literary works that show internal conflict are "Dulce Et ...view middle of the document...

It turned into a blood-splattered and uncontrolled conflict with everyone hating each other. They undermine soldiers and describe their infirmities and defects, so Owen displays the shocking truth about the real life of a soldier. The line that says "Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud of vile, incurable sore on innocent tongues" ( lines 24-25) is so powerful. The fact that the condition of these men are related to cancer, makes it so much worse than people could ever imagine, without ever experiencing war themselves. But it's supposed to be sweet and right, how ironic is that.
As the poem continues it shows the terror and fright that passes through the soldiers minds at war, and the weight that is on the commander's shoulders to keep everyone safe, yet still having to saving themselves. They can't do both. It's every man for himself. The line that says "Gas! Gas! Quick, Boys!-An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;" (lines 9-10) is one example of the fear the soldiers faced. I can picture the soldiers fumbling for their gas masks, so afraid of not being able to put them on in time. Does any of that seem sweet and right? To me it does not. Also the description of the fallen soldier being 'flung' into a wagon is so disturbing. He is shown no respect at all. In combat there was simply no time to help wounded soldiers, and very little to no time to mourn their lost comrades. They were trying to survive themselves and this is shown in the following line "Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face." (Lines 19-20) Owen uses real and true descriptions to show the dark side of the war that he has seen in his real life experience. At the end he states "the old lie; Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori." (Lines 27-28) This translates to "it is sweet and right to die for your country." Owen is saying that it is not. This sort of internal conflict makes me think of the short story "Greasy Lake" by T.C.Boyle.
In the short story "Greasy Lake" there is also a lot of internal conflict. T.C. Boyle describes himself in a first person narrative, in such a way that you can feel the type of person he wants to be known as. He is a nineteen year old, on the edge of being a boy and a man, he's becoming a different person than the one his parents know him as. Boyle states " We wore torn up leather jackets, slouched around with toothpicks in our mouths, sniffed glue and what somebody claimed was cocaine." (Boyle, 1985, p 1) These lines show that he had a reputation that he wanted to live up to, even though his 'bad boy' image was anything but true. Boyle reiterates the fact that he is 'bad', like he is trying to convince himself more so than everyone else. This is because he knows it's false, at least at...

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