How Does ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen Tackle the Theme of War?

Topics: Rhyme, Poetry, War Requiem Pages: 3 (1257 words) Published: April 11, 2013
How does ‘Exposure’ by Wilfred Owen tackle the Theme of War? ‘Exposure’ is a war poem written by Wilfred Owen in 1917 which describes how it felt like to be a soldier fighting war in the winter season. Owen focuses on the weather and shows how they are suffering more from the cold than getting wounded and hurt from the enemy which is not typical in war poetry. He has used a lot of figurative language and literary techniques to portray the cold and the soldiers’ feelings. Firstly, Owen applies figurative language like personification to describe the cold in the first stanza, where he says: ‘Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us…’ This line explains how the winds are so cold and strong that it feels like it is cutting the soldiers. It is like the wind is slowly killing them by stabbing them to death. Owen has also said the winds are merciless showing the wind isn’t showing any pity for the soldiers which is quite similar to the enemy’s attitude towards them. The use of personifying the icy winds creates a sense of suffering towards the soldiers. Furthermore this line of the poem has used a lot of ‘i’ sounds like in ‘brains’, ‘merciless’, ‘iced’, ‘winds’ and ‘knife’ and this ‘i’ sound produces a sharp sound which, relating to an earlier point, reinforces the sharpness of the ‘knives’ and how painful the wind was. The assonance applied here has enhanced and has exaggerated the pain for readers to understand. A different way Owen attempts to show the theme of war is in the second part of the poem where many soldiers have died from the cold. Owen writes ‘The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp’ which shows that although the soldiers are very tired and cold they still are willing to bury their unfortunate friends who have frozen to death. This line from the poem possibly suggests that the ‘burying party’ are angry and fed up of seeing soldiers dying because of war as Owen has used plosives like ‘burying’, ‘picks’ and...
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