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    First World War Poetry Essay (1055 words)

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    ‘How do the poets you have studied explore the suffering of war through their choice of language?’

    The poems that I will analyse are: ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ and ‘Exposure’, both written by Wilfred Owen. Dulce Et Decorum Est describes what it was like on the battlefield. Wilfred Owen had wrote this in conjunction of the poem, ‘Who’s for the Game’, by Jessie Pope. Jessie Pope emphasised in her poem that war is a good, patriotic thing. Wilfred Owen begged to differ as he wrote what was really happening in the war, as he was a soldier himself. In ‘Exposure’, which is once again written by Wilfred, it is about what happens in the trenches and how it was really like during the First World War.

    In the Great War, soldiers suffered intense physical pain. In Dulce Et Decorum Est the poem describes the suffering of the soldiers in more detail, this is because Wilfred Owen was a soldier and he had the experience in the war. In his poem, it seems to be an anecdote of what happened in a certain event in the war.

    “Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind Drunk with fatigue” Dulce Et Decorum Est

    It shows that war wasn’t all about glory, but it was about the suffering of the soldiers. I think that in this poem he has done well to emphasise his point in argument to Jessie Pope. Although Wilfred Owen died two days before the war ended, his poem will be talked about for a long time. Another poem, which demonstrates the physical suffering of the First World War, is “Exposure” which is also by Wilfred Owen. In this poem there are similes and metaphors that conveys the message of physical pain.

    “Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces” Exposure

    As you can see, this type of metaphor is used throughout the poem and it demonstrates the physical pain of the First World War. The quote is mentioned in the fifth stanza in poem. Also in each stanza there is a metaphor, which relates to the physical pain in World War One.

    Wilfred Owen uses very vivid language to describe the physical suffering of the First World War in both ‘Exposure’ and ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’. As you can see that Wilfred Owen has used his experience in the war and he has expressed his feelings on the mass murder during 1914-1918.

    The soldiers suffering were not just physical; it was mental too. In the two poems by Wilfred Owen, there is evidence, which shows the soldiers mental suffering during the First World War. As a poet who was involved in the war his choice of language in

    ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’, shows that the soldiers were not fit mentally and this led to many soldiers being killed in the World War One.

    “Men marched asleep” Dulce Et Decorum Est

    As you can see, the writer, Wilfred Owen had used a metaphor to convey his message that shows the soldiers were not mentally fit and they were dead in their hearts. The writer has used his experience to his advantage and put his message out. Although during the time he was writing his poems he did not intentionally do this for the public in Britain or the Generals at the battles, but he did this for himself.

    “Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires,” Exposure

    The writer has used another metaphor and this quote means that the soldiers think about their homes and how far away it really is. The quote is mentioned in the sixth stanza in the poem. In this poem there is a lot of metaphors and similes, which relates to the metal suffering in the First World War.

    The writer uses vague language to describe the mental suffering in the First World War. In both of the poems they describe the mental suffering of the war and this is on behalf of Wilfred Owen.

    Conditions on the battlefield played a large part in the soldiers suffering. During the war soldiers were given vague orders to march over ‘no mans land’. ‘No mans land’ was really where neither the enemy nor the allies have control of the land, this is where the killings to place. Also the conditions in the trenches also led to the suffering of soldiers, this is because the conditions were awful and many soldiers committed suicide.

    “Dim, through the misty and thick green light As under a green sea” Dulce Et Decorum Est

    The poet refers to what happened in the First World War, as he describes an event in his war life. From the quote it seems that Wilfred Owen is describing a gas attack on the battlefields. This shows the threat of chemical weapons used in the First World War.

    The writer uses his own choice of language and in the second poem he shows that many soldiers would commit suicide.

    “We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,” Exposure

    This quote mentions that many soldiers had enough of the war and they knew that their life was over when they became soldiers. Wilfred Owen shows that the condition during the war was atrocious.

    Feelings of guilt, loss and anger increased the soldiers suffering this was because of the carelessness of the Generals battle plan.

    “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in” Dulce Et Decorum Est

    The writer uses this language to convey an important message, which is that he felt guilty of letting him die even though he could not do anything to help. This also meant at the same time he was feeling angry as this type if situation could have been avoided if the generals were more careful.

    “The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow” Exposure

    This quote was taken from the third stanza and it is meant that the feeling of sadness is growing, and the hope of surviving was fading away.

    Also the two poems both convey a message, which sends out to the public in Britain saying that life in the trenches was not all about glory and pride, but instead it was about survival and memories.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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