Wilfred Owen

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Wilfred Owen- controlled assessment

Compare the ways in which Owen reflects on the experience of warfare in these two poems. The main ways in which Owen reflects on the experience of warfare in the Sentry and Dulce Et Decorum Est are themes that run throughout both, such as the theme of guilt and the theme of drowning also involving water imagery. Owen uses poetic techniques such as pathetic fallacy and onomatopoeia to foreground the experiences warfare. Owen reflects on the experience of warfare in the two poems with the theme of guilt. In the Sentry it says in stanza 2 ‘watch my dreams still; but I forgot him there’. This shows that the Sentry watches him in Owens dreams but that Owen can never help him. This also portrays that he feels guilt for leaving him there to die. In addition, Dulce Et Decorum Est links in with this point of guilt. In stanza 3 and 4 the poem says ‘in all my dreams, before my helpless sight, he plunges at me’ and ‘smothering dreams’. The word ‘helpless’ suggests lost hope because he can no longer help save the soldier so he has to keep reliving the moment, unable to turn away. The phrase ‘smothering dreams’ portrays an oxymoron because ‘smothering’ connotes suffocation and a negative image whereas ‘dreams’ connotes a more positive image and thoughts about hope and faith so Owen uses an oxymoron to describe war as a place where dreams are ruined and turned into nightmares and the phrase suggest his dreams are more nightmares rather than dreams suggesting war has taken away the soldiers dreams and filled them with nightmares of past experiences of war. Equally both Dulce Et Decorum Est and the Sentry use the theme of guilt as haunting his dreams because it shows he feels guilty for leaving a person to die, unable to save them and couldn’t help them. On the other hand, in the Sentry Owen had a choice to save him and help him but decided to go about his other duties. It shows this with the quote ‘I forgot him there in posting next for...
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