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The Dead Beat by Wilfred Owen

English Literature Ms. Hopkins
by

Kevin van Vliet

on 9 January 2014

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Transcript of The Dead Beat by Wilfred Owen

Huub Hoeksema, Damir Sarak, Kevin van Vliet
4Vd

The Dead-Beat by Wilfred Owen
The Dead-Beat by Wilfred Owen

He dropped, -- more sullenly than wearily,
Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat,
And none of us could kick him to his feet;
Just blinked at my revolver, blearily;
-- Didn't appear to know a war was on,
Or see the blasted trench at which he stared.
"I'll do 'em in," he whined, "If this hand's spared,
I'll murder them, I will."

A low voice said,
"It's Blighty, p'raps, he sees; his pluck's all gone,
Dreaming of all the valiant, that AREN'T dead:
Bold uncles, smiling ministerially;
Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun
In some new home, improved materially.
It's not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun."

We sent him down at last, out of the way.
Unwounded; -- stout lad, too, before that strafe.
Malingering? Stretcher-bearers winked, "Not half!"

Next day I heard the Doc.'s well-whiskied laugh:
"That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!"
Evidence of Siegfried Sassoon's Influence
One of the earliest of Owen's war poems
Was one of the first poems to be published after the war
Was written at Craig Lockhart Hospital in August, 1917 but was revised at Ripon the following year
In the 22nd of August 1917, Owen wrote a letter to his cousin Leslie Gunston and said that after meeting Sassoon twice, he was determined to write "something in Sassoon's style, which I may as well send you."
Background of the Poem
Siegfried Sassoon
He dropped, -- more sullenly than wearily,
Lay stupid like a cod, heavy like meat,
And none of us could kick him to his feet;
Just blinked at my revolver, blearily;
--
Didn't appear to know a war was on
,
Or see the blasted trench at which he stared.
"I'll do 'em in," he whined, "If this hand's spared,
I'll murder them, I will."


A low voice said,
"
It's Blighty
, p'raps, he sees; his pluck's all gone,
Dreaming of all the valiant, that AREN'T dead:
Bold uncles, smiling ministerially;
Maybe his brave young wife, getting her fun
In some new home, improved materially.
It's not these stiffs have crazed him; nor the Hun."

We sent him down at last, out of the way.
Unwounded; -- stout lad, too, before that strafe.
Malingering?
Stretcher-bearers

winked
, "Not half!"

Next day I heard the Doc.'s well-whiskied laugh:
"That
scum
you sent last night soon died.
Hooray!
"
Analysis
Stylistic features
The poem talks about a man who is hated by everyone because he lost his will to fight in the war
It seems as if his mind got out of control: "Didn't appear to know a war was on…" (line 5) and that might have being the explanation for his lack of desire to fight
The hatred they built towards this soldier is seen throughout the entire poem, especially at the end when the doctor celebrates his death: "Next day I heard the Doc.'s well-whiskied laugh/That scum you sent last night soon died. Hooray!"
It almost seems as if he became an enemy due to the joy expressed with his death (lines 19-20)
Themes and Messages of The Dead-Beat
Similies; indicates how useless the soldier was, shows that he wasn't very loved by other soldiers, and couldn't really care about him.
Here the soldier talks about how he'll murder them, but he only does that in his mind. Again shows that he has gone a bit crazy.
The use of words such as 'malingering', 'winked', 'scum', and 'hooray' provide various understandings to the tone of this poem, that the soldier isn't loved very much.
About Wilfred Owen
Poet and Soldier in WW1
Leading poet of the First WW
Poetry influenced by Siegfried Sassoon
18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918
Where is the poem about
Fellow soldier dies
Soldier is in conflict not only with the enemy, but also with his fellow soldiers on his side
The man won't fight, so he is worthless to the army
All the other soldiers hate on him because he won't fight
Send to hospital for no reason where he later dies without having any problems
WWWWW
Who: a soldier in the 1st WW
What: the soldier had gone crazy and later died
When: WW1 (ofcourse..)
Where: in the trenches, later died in the hospital
Why: because he doesn't want to fight
He has gone a bit crazy, lost his mind.
The voice is saying that he has lost his courage to fight and that his wife is having fun with another man, the voice also said that it wasn’t the fear of dying what caused him to give up.
1st stanza is an ABBA rhyme scheme
2nd stanza is used ABACBCB
Last stanzas, 'way' & 'Hooray' + 'strafe', 'halve' and 'laugh'
Similes:” lay stupid like cod, heavy like meat”.
Colloquialism: it’s blightly, colloquialism for England.
Alliteration : (line 1) “sullenly …wearily”, (line 5) “war was”.
Hooray!, scum, are all words that indicated how the man was hated because he lost his will to fight, he was treated like an enemy.
There is irony used in this poem. The bold uncles which are old soldiers are referred to be brave and they call the man a coward while they are not fighting.
Revers to the soldier thinking about England.
Full transcript