An Analysis of Wilfred Owen's "Disabled"

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“Disabled” written by Wilfred Owen is a poem which exposes the misconceptions associated with the nature of war. It reveals how easily war can inflict long lasting effects on an individual and shows that war is something which can’t be underestimated. Owen initially presents a man in a “wheeled chair” recalling and pondering over how his life used to be before he went off to war. He is said to be “legless” and “sewn short at the elbow” and in a “ghastly suit of grey”. Here the imagery is quite melancholic and gloomy and emphasises the miserable state that this man is in. The man remembers the time when the town “used to swing so gay” and “girls glanced lovelier than the air grew dim”, before he “threw away his knees”. Owen suggests that the man just “threw” his legs away by being part of the war and fighting in vain. Not only that, he now he has to live with his disability for the rest of his life with repercussions, such as not being able to feel how “slim Girl’s waists are” as they are no longer attracted to him. The glorification of war is then explored by Owen through the misunderstanding of the man, before he went off to war. He compares the bloodshed of war to “blood smears” involved in football, which the young man enjoyed a bit of as it showed heroism and courage. Imagery such as “purple spurted from his thigh”, which is indicative of getting shot, is used to contrast the two vastly different scenarios. Owen also suggests that the man enlisting wasn’t really a decision he made, rather a random act influenced by many sources. Owen says the man was drunk, had been told “he’d look a god in kilts”, and joined “maybe, too, to please his Meg (girlfriend)”. He only thought of “jewelled hilts”, “daggers in plaid socks” and “drums and cheers”. When the man returns from war, Owen recreates the mood of pity and remorse as it was in the first stanza. The man is not cheered, honoured, or loved and has only returned with the loss of his limbs and the mental trauma...
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