Analysis - "Exposure" by Wilfred Owen
The poem "exposure" by Wilfred Owen is written in Winter of 1917. It portrays the message of the real enemy of the soldiers being the cold and icy conditions. Moreover, it provides us with a lively description of the persistent cold and awful conditions during one of the worst winters in the first world war. It shows that most of the soldiers were exposed rather than shot by enemies. The poem portrays all the opposing facts to make young men not join the war as it is nothing heroic. Owen uses all his senses to describe the frosty atmosphere and sets a lamenting and descriptive tone. The rhyme scheme is ABBA and the stanzas are continuous, emphasizing the continuous suffering of the British. It is written in first person plural, which makes us feel with the soldiers and put ourselves into their position. Exposure transports the reader into the pitiless trench warfare of the First World. It allows the reader to share the experience of having all vestiges of shelter removed, stripped back to the nakedness and feebleness of the human body against the wintry savagery of a snow storm in the dark, at the point of death. It starts by setting the scene of tired soldiers being ‘knived’ by the wind, too worried to sleep because of the unnatural silence. “Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.”
The sibilance of the repeated ‘s’ sound creates the effect of whispering, an attempt to not draw the attention of the enemy, who are futilely using flares to see what is going on. The trenches were protected by rolls of barbed wire, the barbs snagging the clothing and skin of any person trying to manoeuvre through it, delaying their passage and increasing the chances of being shot. Then allowing their comrades to witness their dying agony held up twitching on the wire. Owen uses a simile with naturally occurring brambles. The war continues in the distance but the silence and inactivity in the bitter cold...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document