scholaradvisor.com/essay-examples-for-college/wilfred-owen-and-his-pity-of-war-essay/Wilfred Owen: Truth Being ToldNick ArsenaultEnglish 12 HonorsMr. CaronJanuary 2018 For the entire existence of this world war has been something that has always been around and will never go away. Normally depicted with glorification and justification, war is something that involves believing in what is right, having a purpose to fight, and that fighting and even dying in battle is an honorable and heroic thing. No matter what the reason for the war may be, patriotism and support for your country is something that comes regardless if you agree or disagree with it.
For Wilfred Owen, he had first hand experience in the tragic devastation of the First World War. Subsequently, he wanted to break that common romantic conception of glory, courage and sacrifice, and express the horrors and pity of war, and let the truth come out. In a combat zone, patriotism, country, courage, glory is not what matters. It really isn’t about any of that when you’re out there on the front lines. It’s about protecting the brothers to your left and right, and making it back home, together. War is a dramatic and memorable thing, and in Owen’s poetry he makes that clear.
But he takes a different approach to the subject and illustrates the horror and brutality that comes with war, and brings readers into the mind of a young soldier affected by it. Owen uses a plethora of poetic devices and techniques to provide strong imagery and is strong at bringing exactly what he wants to the reader’s attention. Although his messages may be complex, Owen is very talented at conveying them. Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born March 18th, 1893 in Oswestry. After living in his grandfather’s home for 4 years, his family moved to Birkenhead where he would attend Birkenhead Institute. The family would move again to Shrewsbury in 1907 where he would attend Shrewsbury Technical School and graduate in 1911. Owen, now 18 years old, would fail to earn a scholarship to London University. He would then become a lay assistant to Reverend Herbert Wigan in the Church of England for a year, then go on to teach in France at the Berlitz School of English.
He had already begun to experiment with poetry and had a strong interest in it. By September 1915, a year had already elapsed after the United Kingdom and Germany had gone to war. By October, Owen would enlist in the Artist’s Rifles group, and would later commission as a second lieutenant. By December 1916, Owen would leave for France with the Lancashire Fusiliers.”There is a fine heroic feeling about being in France…” Owen would write in his first letters to his mother. When the war broke out, going off to battle was a fine thing to do in the eyes of the English people. That feeling had not last for much longer.
“The awful state of the roads, and the enormous weight carried was too much for scores of men.” The conditions were horrendous. With miles of flooded trenches, artillery in the distance being fired around the clock, and even poison gas attacks.
War was not so glorious after all. After an explosion of a large shell, throwing Owen and a comrade airborne, Owen would suffer from traumatic shell shock. He would be evacuated to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh where he would meet another patient and poet Siegfried Sassoon.Sassoon would assist Owen in bringing out his violent experiences so that he could write about them in his poetry. Owen had a tremendous amount of gratitude towards Sassoon, and felt that he had molded him in place as a poet. Many of his poems he wrote in regards to some of the terrifying experiences that were brought out with Sassoons help.”Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs, And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of gas-shells dropping softly behind. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,— My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.” Dulce et Decorum Est His greatest work, “Dulce et Decorum Est” is written based on an encounter with a gas attack and a soldier “guttering, choking and, drowning.” It illustrates the hardship he and his fellow soldiers were going through as they were “coughing like hags” and “cursing through sludge”. The shells would drop and they would instantly be flooded with gas. Owen makes it clear that this is the part of war that people don’t see. The part that isn’t so glorious after all and that “you would not tell with such high zest, To children ardent for some desperate glory.” The last lines of poem says, “Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori”, which means “it is sweet and right to die for your country” in Latin, saying that is is an “old lie”.
Owen had a talent of graphically illustrating the horrors of war and bringing the reader into the setting visually in his poetry. The soldiers in “Mental Cases” suffer hallucinations in which they observe everything through a haze of blood: “Sunlight becomes a blood-smear; dawn comes blood-black.” In “Exposure,” which displays Owen’s mastery of assonance and alliteration, soldiers in merciless wind and snow find themselves overwhelmed by nature’s hostility and unpredictability.In “Disabled”, Owen also brings up the false ideas that people have about the nature of war. Owen creates a great amount of sympathy for the soldier by using various techniques and poetic devices. The poem starts with a description of the man who is “legless, sewn short at elbow” and lonely.
The reader flashes back to when the “Town used to swing so gay” and when good life was “before he threw away his knees”. This is worded in a way to express that it wasn’t just a regular old injury and instead was almost a pointless one.It is evident that by showing the horrors of war and directly addressing the ideas that people at home have about going off to fight for glory, Owen finds the propaganda machine of the time deplorable and feels that the men fighting for their country are being lied to about what going off to war really means. His poetry creates a strong sense of pity of war to give his audience a more realistic idea of what is actually happening in the hope that if people’s opinions on the war change, the war will end.