Bruce Dawe Poem Essay

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Good morning/afternoon everyone. I am sure that many of you will agree with me, after studying and discussing in class war poetry, that war is destructive; it destroys properties and lives. It is also the meaning if not dehumanizing as Owen in his 'Dulce et Decorum Est' has pointed out. The violence and destructiveness of war reduces men in the battlefield into something less than human; they are stripped of their dignity. Ultimately as Owen points out in his poem, war is senseless or futile. Whatever the reason for going to war, it's not justification enough for the senseless slaughter of young lives.

Owen, as you know, has great ability in challenging the responders senses, to experience the horror of war. He allows us to see, to hear, to feel, to smell, even to taste the ugliness of war. Thus we see a group of soldiers trudging the muddy tracks blindly to safety. They are 'drunk with fatigue' and Owen captures their dehumanization by a series of similes. They are 'bent double, like old beggars, coughing like hags' and 'deaf' to the sound and fury of guns and gas shells dropping around them.

I still can visualize and hear their panic reaction to the chlorine gas and those who are not quick enough to put on their mask, literally drown in what Owen calls the 'green sea' and our auditory sense is challenged by the guttering, the choking and the convulsed sobs. You will agree with me for sure, that the image that Owen conjures up of the victim of the chlorine gas is no less than grotesquely horrible. We see the 'white eyes writhing' in his agony and the convulsions that are followed by the blood that comes gargling out of the victim's 'froth corrupted lungs.' Again a simile is used 'bitter as the cud of vile,' effectively giving us the 'awful taste' of the situation.

I know of one other poet who also condemns war and who can effectively communicate the horror of war and the senselessness of it, simply by challenging our senses. Kenneth Slessor, like...
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