The Send Off by Wilfred Owen is a dark humoured poem. The title itself is ironic for a send-off is meant to be a happy occasion of farewell but in this case the send-off to war is not really a celebrating event. But Owen explains that there is nothing to celebrate for he says they will not return or will return but injured.
At the beginning of the poem it is said that the soldiers were singing their way to the siding shed of their farewell. We know what lies ahead of them. “Down the close darkening lanes” creates an image that the lanes are closing in on them which means that there will be no turning back.
"And lined the train with faces grimly gay", Owen has used oxymoron in this third line. The word grimly against gay means that the soldiers are happy to go to war but deep inside they are feeling miserable so they are actually just putting on a brave front.
The soldiers are surrounded by wreath and spray. They were gifts from their love ones but this is a negative image because the flowers are meant to be decorated to honour the dead at a funeral. The soldiers are also said to be dead before they have died.
In stanza 3 it says, “Then unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp winked to the guard.” This is a use of personification. It is a process of departure completed. This means they know what is beginning.
“So secretly, like wrongs hushed up” this begins the second half of the poem and reflects the destiny f the men and condemnation of the war. This simile suggests the secrecy of the operation and the troop movements confidentiality not only to protect against the enemy but mankind ashamed of these undertakings.
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