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Insensibility - Wilfred Owen 1917

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on 30 June 2014

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Transcript of Insensibility - Wilfred Owen 1917

Insensibility - Wilfred Owen 1917
Stanza 2
And some cease feeling
Even themselves or for themselves.
Dullness best solves
The tease and doubt of shelling,
And Chance’s strange arithmetic
Comes simpler than the reckoning of their shilling.
They keep no check on armies’ decimation.

Stanza 3
Happy are these who lose imagination:
They have enough to carry with ammunition.
Their spirit drags no pack.
Their old wounds, save with cold, can not more ache.
Having seen all things red,
Their eyes are rid
Of the hurt of the colour of blood forever.
And terror’s first constriction over,
Their hearts remain small-drawn.
Their senses in some scorching cautery of battle
Now long since ironed,
Can laugh among the dying, unconcerned.

Stanza 1

are men who yet before they are killed
Can let their veins run cold.
Whom no
compassion fleers
Or makes their feet
Sore on the alleys cobbled with their
The front line withers,
But they are
who fade, not flowers
For poets’ tearful fooling:
, gaps for filling:
Losses, who might have fought
Longer; but no one bothers.

In response to William Wordsworth's
"Who is the happy warrior
Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be"
Only happy if they have no compassion
Let all of their humanity go
Don't bloom as flowers do
Self explanatory
The best thing is to do have no feelings
Metaphor - Death is random
Loss of thought
Their spirit won't help them carry on
Prominent Language Techniques
William Wordsworth wrote (published 1807)
"Who is the happy Warrior?
Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?"
To which Wilfred Owen replies
"Happy are men who yet before they are killed
Can let their veins run cold "
The underlying message is:
In order to be happy the soldier must have no compassion
Numbered in order of I-VI
First 5 sarcastically describe the "Happy Warrior"
Stanza 1 - direct response to Wordsworth
Stanza 2 and 3 are similar
Stanza 4 - soldiers after war
Stanza 5 - use of personal pronouns
Stanza 6 - Being the "Happy Warrior" is a curse.
Arrange these stanzas in the correct order
Insensibility - Lack of awareness

Stanza 4
Stanza 5
the soldier home, with not a notion
How somewhere, every dawn, some men attack,
And many sighs are drained.
Happy the lad whose mind was never trained:
His days are worth forgetting more than not.
He sings along the march
march taciturn, because of dusk,
The long, forlorn, relentless trend
From larger day to huger night.

Stanza 6
wise, who with a thought besmirch
Blood over all our soul,
How should
see our task
But through his blunt and lashless eyes?
Alive, he is not vital overmuch;
Dying, not mortal overmuch;
Nor sad, nor proud,
Nor curious at all.
He cannot tell
Old men’s placidity from his.

But cursed are dullards whom no cannon stuns,
That they should be as stones.
Wretched are they, and mean
With paucity that never was simplicity.
By choice they made themselves immune
To pity and whatever moans in man
Before the last sea and the hapless stars;
Whatever mourns when many leave these shores;
Whatever shares
The eternal reciprocity of tears.

Repetition of "Happy"




Never knowing when you're going to get hit
Blood imagery c w/ "Dulce et Decorum Est"
Only happy when memories are forgotten
There is no time for rest
Nothing to live for
They are not happy but cursed
They have been changed
War will never end
Look at it through the soldiers eyes
Question 1
Lack of awareness
Sentence structure:
A technically complex "Pindaric" ode
Mockery of romantic poems
Irregular line lengths
Hardly men
No emotions for poets to write about
Refers to both the lost soldiers and the spectators such as Wordsworth
Personal pronoun
Brothers is an afterthought
Exposure "But nothing happens"
What does insensibility
Question 2
Who wrote "Character of the happy warrior?"
William Wordsworth
Question 3
In which stanza is the majority of blood imagery used?
Stanza 3
Last Question
How many lines is
this poem?
60 lines
Full transcript