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Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Transcript of Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
Jaena Fabia, Kat Valle, Mark Marbun, Miranda Santos, and Omid Raziani
Deaths estimate to about 10,000,000
first major war to “benefit” from technological advances
radio, tanks, poison gas, airplanes, submarines, and the machine guns
influence Owen to become a soldier
experiences during war
In contrast of Wilfred Owen's religious and pacifist values he has developed as an adolescent, and his experiences as a soldier in World War I, Owen conveys the idea of naive patriotism through the setting, structure, and tone of his poems.
Speaker and Setting
Structure and Shift
Attitude and Tone
Speaker and Setting
Structure and Shift
The two poems connect with Wilfred Owen and WWI because they signify the significant events and emotional agony that a soldier endured during the war.
Theme of "Dulce et Decorum Est"
Attitude and Tone
"Dulce et Decorum Est"
Born: March 18, 1893
Death: November 1918
wrote most of poems Sept 1918-Nov 1918
the oldest of 4
protective of siblings and others
pacifist of war
Grew up in a religious environment
unpaid lay assistant to Reverend Herbert Wiggins to the Church of England
Dunsden Oxfordshire Church of England and had full understanding of economics
developed humanitarian perspective
talked about conventional subjects but style differed from other authors
distinct ear for sound, instinct for moderate rhythm
idealistic vain of Rupert Brook
"Wild with all Regrets"
Audience and Connection
diagnosed with shellshock 1917
psychological disturbance caused by prolonged exposure to active warfare
sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital
Period of creativity
met Siegfried Sassoon
edit the hospital journal ‘The Hydra’
developed unique writing style: anaphase, rhyme schemes
half of a quotation from the Roman poet Horace.
written at the end of Owen's poem, as "Dulce et Decorum est Pro patria mori."
The phrase is Latin for "It is sweet and fitting to die for your country."
The quote makes it sound like dying for your country is admirable
soldier in a hospital bed, who knows that he will die soon from his battle wounds.
He talks to an old friend, and they think about things that they had said when they were both in full health.
The soldier talks with great anger with everything in his life, and wishes he could live just a little longer.
They talk about how much they wanted to do in the future
The soldier mentions that he would even appreciate a flea's life
speaker and his friends have been friends for a long time, since it is revealed that they have talked about many personal topics
possible childhood friend
not the same type of narrator as in Dulce et Decorum est, because he has a strange humor about his situation.
unnamed soldier in the midst of battle when chlorine gas was dropped on his squadron.
As readers, we don't know much more than this, and we assume that he just one of the many soldiers.
Chlorine gas was such a deadly force in war that it was banned from all future wars
Chlorine effects a person's throat, eyes, mouth, and skin
This assumption about the soldier speaking helps the poem's message because of his namelessness. Without knowing who he is, we don't know if he's educated, strong, etc. If he could be any soldier in the war, then any soldier in the war could feel that Horace's quote is a direct lie to them.
Most soldiers could relate to this story
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.(15)f
expresses deep or “wild” regret
last emotions, consuming him
his current situation
not valuing his life before
having so little time to live
not being to move or do anything
those unaware of the true horrors of the war
only hear the propaganda
shows them the pity and horror of it
urging them to stop the war and its atrocities
take advantage of time before death comes
as soldier did not, regretful
protest against the war
showing pity of it
soldiers desperate call for more time
longing for life, life lost so quick
individual soldiers such as speaker
The tone and attitude in the poem is angry, defiant, and ironic
speaker pointedly tells the reader that war is not something to be romanticized and glorified, dying is not honorable or fun.
There is nothing heroic about drowning in a sea of green mist with your lungs froth corrupted, choking on your own blood.
The soldier wants us to know that the latin phrase is a lie. He is angry that he is there, living this way, and people on the outside are thinking it is all part of the routine.
A constant tone is demonstrated in the poem: frustration, wistfulness, and vulnerability
It begins with the frustration and anger the soldier feels about his dying body and with Death’s relentless demands: "Death never gives his squad a stand-at-ease."
Faced with losing life, the soldier speaks of it wistfully. he longs for the new growth of spring and the fresh air that would "grow me legs as quick as lilac shoots." He even longs for the dirt that speaks of the messy reality of human living, "Dear dust, -- in rooms, on roads, on faces' tan!"
Throughout the poem the tone is informal, almost intimate.
This becomes more overt as the soldier ruefully accepts his dependence on his relationship with his friend/listener to keep his memory and spirit alive. But he realizes that, like all grief, the sobs for his lost life will be replaced by sighs which time will remove.
Rhyme Scheme: ABAB CDCD
Follows this for the most part to simulate long torturous deprivation marching
Adds to desperate tone
Iambic Pentameter ( and not )
Does not completely follow this pattern
Used to emphasize the haphazard environment the men marched in; bomb shells
Irregular Stanza Structure
Disintegrates as poem continues
First vs. Second
Second to Third
Fourth like hell
Four stanzas becomes shorter as the man approaches death
1st Stanza: Hope and Life
2nd Stanza: Denial
3rd Stanza: Deprivation
4th stanza/ Couplet: Acceptance
Pararhyme and Alliteration
“brutes’ & ‘brats;’ ‘book’ & ‘buck’ ‘now’ & ‘-new’
Challenge reader out of comfort zone than anticipated
The attitude and position many men felt they were in when taking part in war
‘Brutes’ and ‘brats’: both negative consonants; change in vowel denotes the different weight on each limb and power to frustrate owner
Shoots’ and ‘Sheets:’ shoots brief hope; sheets death and environment
Iambic Pentameter ( plus one )
First Plus One: Irony
Thirds Plus One: Longevity and Desperation
Fourth Plus One: Extends by Half to extend the Horror
towards the people back at home (England)