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Transcript of Futility
To Owen, war is a meaningless massacre of young soldiers. War brings only destruction & agony. This poem deals with the death of a young English soldier in war. Futility
Move him into the sun
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it awoke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs so dear-achieved, are sides
Full-nerved,--still warm,--too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth's sleep at all?
Wilfred Owen Futility by Wilfred Owen Meanings, Background & Context "Futility" means uselessness The poet painfully asserts that the sun, the creator of all living beings, can't restore life to the young soldier who has had an untimely death. so the creation of life on earth also seems to be futile. War that makes life futile, by destroying it playfully, is also futile affair. Hence the title of the poem is FUTILITY However, the "kind old sun" has absolutely no effect on the soldier - he has died. The poem begins with the narrator ordering
that the man be moved into the sun; this leads
us to believe that the narrator is of a high rank
than the person he was talking to, someone of low
rank would not be giving orders to someone who outranked him. techniques. Metaphors: Symbolism of casualties that lived only 1/5th of their life expectancy
The personification of the 'whispering fields unsown', are the dreams of each dead man's future, who died while fighting in the service.
The emphasis of 'Always' on the next line, forms the centre of the emotion in this passage.
To show contrast the sun and the snow are used, as it is about the suns light and gift to life where as snow is paler, like death, this is what the snow personifies.
Also compared are the seeds to soldiers, this show's the seed that will bring life and the dead soldiers, and the life they might have had. "Limbs" has a twofold meaning:
first, a limb is a branch of a tree, which fits in with the nature them;
second, limbs are projecting paired appendages (legs, arms, or wings). Wilfred Owen's poetry usually describes the grotesque reality of the frontline of WWI; however, this poem concentrates on the meaning of existence, and the futility (pointlessness) of war and inevitability of death. Brief Summary The sun had always roused him before, but this time was different. The man is unable to be revived, because the sun is being partially blocked by the snow.
The "old sun" is the only thing that can save him now. The sun is once again personified by the narrator referring to it as "kind." The Sun was capable of waking vegetative entities like seeds, and the hard “clays of a cold stars”.
The poet is also aware of Nature’s overwhelming powers that Man-made inventions cannot withstand (floods, tsunamis, earthquake)Why cannot Nature then revive the aftermath of a man-made atrocity such as war. The poet shifts from a descriptive mode in the first stanza to an interrogative and philosophical mode in the second. The poet is in total denial over the death of his fellow-being. Only the Old Sun (the Perpetrator of life) could discern if anything was capable of rousing the man to his senses. The line echoes the fact that no one who had crossed in to the realm of death, has been back to tell the tale of Death. The lines also refer to the inevitability of Death, and hollowness of life. Hence, the title “Futility”. The term ’futility’ also foregrounds the pointlessness of war.
Moreover, it underlines the futility of extinction. The sun always did awake him, until this day. This suggests the likelihood that he is not in a condition anymore to be awakened by the sun.
Snow’ stands as a powerful emblem of death, decay and destruction. It is as opposed to the warmth of the sun. ANALYSIS Futility shows Owen's great technical skill and also the important influence of Siegfried Sassoon.
The poem reflects Owen's sudden change from patriotic hope to despair as his personal expericences turned him against war. Futility is written in 14 lines like a sonnet.
It is not structured like one though.
This poem has two seven-line stanzas. The half-rhymes bring the poem together. For example in stanza one sun-sown, once-France.
There are full rhymes (snow-know and tall-all) at the ends of the stanzas. By creating a pattern of rhymes that are not exact, however, he is expressing a sense of broken harmony beneath a seemingly strong surface. Sounds It takes the form of a short elegiac lyric the length of a sonnet though not structured as one, being divided into seven-line stanzas. Owen uses the sun as a metaphorical framework on which to hang his thoughts. form