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Wilfred Owen A Terre Essay

Wilfred Owen does not have a particularly large body of verse, but many of his poems are considered among the best war poetry ever written in the English language. He is often compared to Keats and Shelley, and was influenced by Tennyson and Byron. He began writing at a young age, showing interest in conventional subjects, but demonstrating a keen sense for sound and rhythm.

In 1915 Owen enlisted in the British Army Reserves during WWI. His own experiences would largely influence and inform his verse. He wrote of endless marches, the terror of the howling shells, the mire of the trenches, and the surprise attacks of poison gas. His constant letters to his mother detailed the horrors that he witnessed, but his poetry captures the spirit of the war in its irrationality and brutality. Most of his greatest work was written during the summer of 1917 when he was convalescing from shellshock at Craiglockhart Hospital. In the last few years of the war Owen was exposed to the work of his fellow war poets as well as the great poems of Yeats and Houseman.

Owen's sessions with a psychiatrist helped him confront the major issues he was dealing with, some of which would be expressed in his poems – his disillusionment with women, his ambivalence about Christianity, his desire for brotherhood and camaraderie. Similarly, his friendship with fellow poet-soldier Siegfried Sassoon led to a burst of creative energy. Both men believed the war needed to end, and both identified strongly with the nameless young men sent by greedy rulers to die on the battlefield for the specious cause of nationalism. While similar in outlook, Owen's poems are more lush, more sympathetic, and more lyrical; the Poetry Foundation's account of Owen's skill explains, "he revealed a technical versatility and a mastery of sound through complex patterns of assonance, alliteration, dissonance, consonance, and various other kinds of slant rhyme - an experimental method of composition which went beyond any innovative versification that Sassoon achieved during his long career." Sassoon did introduce Owen to Robert Ross, a London editor, who in turn introduced Owen to other literary luminaries such as Robert Graves, Thomas Hardy, and Edith Sitwell. Owen was pleased to be part of a literary community, and his work was received well by critics.

The poems from his fertile period include, notably, "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Dulce et Decorum est", "Strange Meeting", "Disabled", and "Futility". The poems' major themes include the surreal, irrational nature of war; the respect and love for fellow soldiers; the poet's role in writing about atrocities; the problematic relationship between church and state; the repression of emotion vs. being alive to the carnage and the confusion of battles and death; and the immorality of the war. Owen rarely wrote specifically about his own experiences, preferring to impart a more universal message. The critic George Stade wrote, "this is as near as Owen would come to a theory of modern war poetry; its sense of pity and revulsion should be transpersonal and directed outward toward the condition of war and not toward one's own feelings." The disabled soldier in "Disabled" could be any of the millions of injured and impotent young men, the encounter in "Strange Meeting" the grappling that every soldier must face about the truth of war and the acts one committed.

Owen was particularly talented at using structure, meter, and rhyme to evoke a mood or an atmosphere. He was famed for his "pararhyme", a half-rhyme with vowel variation within the same consonant pattern. He also was known for using sonnets but manipulating them to impart his message.

Killed in battle, most of Owen's poems were not published in his lifetime. Sassoon brought out an edition of Owen's work in 1920, two years after the poet's death.

Different Approaches to War in Wilfred Owen's Mental Cases and Henry V's Speech

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Different Approaches to War in Wilfred Owen's Mental Cases and Henry V's Speech

The poem "Mental Cases" was written by Wilfred Owen during the First World War and talks about the consequence and effects war has had on the minds of the soldiers. The poem is also very graphic in its descriptions and has an archaic feel. It shows the psychological and physical damage that occurs to the "survivors" of the war. Wilfred Owen talks as though he's observing them in a mental hospital, compared to the home he is actually viewing them in, again stressing the point that they are looked at as mental.

The title "Mental Cases" is very brutal, it shows the consequences of war and that war is not a great thing…show more content…

Why sit they here in twilight?" makes you think that the poet does not recognise them. I think this is because the men have aged so much due to premature ageing that the poet does not in fact actually recognise them. These questions are also written with an inversion of word order; this provides emphasis but also gives the question an archaic feel as though it was written during the Shakespearean period. The word "twilight" means that they are in slight darkness but not totally visible, it also suggests that they are in their own world and between life and death. Could it also be suggesting that their minds are in the dark?

In the second line, the poet calls the men,

"purgatorial shadows", the shadow is basically a metaphor saying that they are between life and death; they are on their way to death, but not quite there as they are still paying for the sins that they have committed. This makes the reader want to know why they are in between life and death and what has made them so lifeless. The poem previously makes them seem subhuman and abnormal.

The poet uses repetition to bring home a point,

"Stroke on stroke of pain", this shows that the men's pain never ends, and is always there. It makes you wonder yet again why they are in that state and what could be done to prevent it. Each rock they take is a stroke of pain, reminding them of the pain that they have

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