Wilfred Owen’s "Disabled"
Wilfred Owen’s captivating poem, entitled "Disabled," sends its readers on a journey into the life of a World War I soldier after he has returned home from the war. Throughout the process of writing this poem, Owen made some stunning revisions that served to change the meaning and the direction of the poem as a whole. Through the careful analysis of the final poem and the revisions that were made in order to complete the finished piece, it is possible to come to some sort of conclusion about what Owen was trying to convey about the disabled soldier. In his original manuscript, Owen introduces the reader to the man’s physical surroundings by stating that he is "Sitting, between two crutches, in the park" (www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/jtap/images/mss/bl/ms43721/47a.jpg). He continues in the third line, writing that the disabled man was "Armless, sewn short at the elbows." From this initial introduction, the reader is able to picture a man that has to use crutches in order to get around, but it is unclear what condition his legs are in. In the final document, Owen changes the poem so that it introduces the man as sitting in a wheel chair, and in the third line, describes the man as legless rather than armless. The reason why Owen may have chosen for the man to be using a wheel chair rather than crutches is because we often tend to visualize a physically disabled man using a wheel chair. On the other hand, the vision of a man using crutches would usually imply only a temporary disability, such as a broken limb. As Owen continues the poem, we come to find out that the disabled man has lost confidence in his own personal strength and vitality, made evident by his observation at the conclusion of the poem that women’s eyes pass "from him to the strong men that were whole." Therefore, the man’s use of a wheel chair coincides more closely to his permanent loss of physical ability. Also important in this first line is the change that Owen makes from the...
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