“Disabled” by Wilfred Owen is a reflective analysis on the experiences of a World War I solider. The poem effectively contrasts the current life of the solider to his past. Owen’s offers the poem as a personal statement on war and its effect on people. This poem ultimately makes an argument for the proper understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of veterans. As a solider himself, Owen’s sympathizes with the speaker and relates to his plight (Heath). Consequently, his background is reflected in “Disabled.”
Wilfred Owen grew up with a Christian background. Although he studied to become a clergyman, he was often unsure of his religion. He joined the war at the age of 22. During the war, he saw the worst of the battlefield and began to write poetry to document his perspective on the war. In 1917, he was affected by an explosion and sent to a war hospital in England. Afterwards, he returned to service and died in battle in 1918 (“Poetry Foundation”). His biographical context is essential to understand Owen’s point of view for “Disabled.” To fully understand this poem, there is an implied assumption of knowledge regarding the facts of World War I, as well as knowledge into the amount of disabled veterans that resulted from the war.
Wilfred Owen’s poem is essentially about a disabled veteran. He is sitting in the wheelchair, “waiting for the dark” (1). The dark creates a reference not only to the end of the day, but also to the end of life. As he sits, he listens to the sound of children playing. However, he is aware that soon these kids will be called home for bedtime. “Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him” (6). Again, he is alluding to the end of their lifeful sounds, as well as too the end of their consciousness.
He continues on to reflect on the way his town used to be. “— In the old times, before he threw away his knees” (10). Here, Owen makes a compelling choice in diction by selecting the words, “threw away.” He does not describe his loss...
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