What Ideas Are Being Explored In Wilfred Owen’s ‘Disabled’? How Does The Poet Skilfully Use Language And Structure To Get Across His Ideas?

1794 words - 8 pages

Another significant idea that Owen explores in ‘Disabled’ is the contrast between the myth of War, which is romanticised and censored by propaganda, and the gruesome and brutal reality of war, experienced by the protagonist and Owen himself. Owen shapes and moulds the structure of the poem so that the myth and reality of war are also in juxtaposition deliberately so that the reader’s perceptions and understanding of the extreme contrast of war is clearly identified.
Owen first describes in extreme detail the reality of war with graphic imagery in Stanza III. This can be seen in the quotation: “He lost his colour very far from here”. The action of the protagonist losing his colour is a ...view middle of the document...

Pouring can also be interpreted as an act of disposal, which parallels with the protagonist disposing of his own life in the war. This is in direct divergence to “One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg” that is written in Stanza IV. This quotation shows how bleeding was once considered delightful and triumphant, when he played football. However, this contradicts greatly with him bleeding in shell – holes, as the amount of blood loss and the environment that the protagonist is in are in absolute disparity to injury on a football pitch. Nonetheless, the most significant contradiction is the protagonist’s attitudes to the different events – when he bleeds in a football match, he is full of honour and pride; but when he bleeds in the war, and he is in despair and hopelessness. Owen uses these lines so that it is also clear to the audience that the reality of war causes traumatisation as well as a drastic effect on life. I think that this also shows that before the protagonist went to War, he assumed that a war injury would be perceived and viewed similarly to a football injury – being celebrated by spectators – but of course the reality is grimmer. Furthermore, this also shows how uniformed the young teenager was about the gruesome reality or war and although we can blame him for his naivety, we can also blame the government and recruitment officers for hiding the truth from him
Furthermore, the subsequent line in Stanza III provides more information about the reality of war: “Half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race”. The verb “lapsed” can be defined as expired, failed or futile. Owen shows the reader with this verb that the protagonist acknowledges the fact that by losing his limbs, he has in fact, lost his whole life ahead of him, therefore having a failed or expired life. This verb that Owen uses can also be considered a play on the word “lap” that compares life to a race. The protagonist could be mentioning that he has been left behind in the “race of life” after losing his limbs, while the world continues to pass by or to lap him. This shows the reader that the reality of war not only causes traumatising physical injuries, but affects the way people can lead their lives in the future. There is a sense of isolation, which is described in Stanza I: “He sat in a wheel chair, waiting for dark” – in which nobody is present to keep him company and again this highlights how he has no part in the race of life.
Similar to previous quotations, the following line in Stanza III continues to exhibit the atrocity of war: “And leap of purple spurted from his thigh”. Owen uses the colour “purple” to metaphorically describe the protagonist’s blood, as the colour purple is used predominantly in royal associated occasions. This shows that Owen believes that the blood is very important, and that he values life very highly, as he believes that young men should not just waste their life fighting a meaningless war with a meaningless purpose. Owen also uses...

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