Owen writes the poem with style. He uses the recruits contrasting memories and new views to create the war victim's true feelings "About this time town used to swing so gay", "He thought be better join in" - he wonders why. "Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn".
The poem also illustrates how his lifestyle changed dramatically. He was once a great athlete, popular with the girls but now he is in a wheelchair, "they touch him like a queer disease", and he notices how "their eyes pass from him to the strong men that were whole". He is no longer seen as a normal person. An artist was once eager to paint him but "Now he is old, his back will never brace; he's lost his colour very far from home".
When he departed for war he was treated like hero but peoples' reactions were different on his arrival home, "Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer goals". Only one person thanked him.
The war took away everything in this young man's life and 'Now he will spend a few sick years in Institutes".