ENGLISH NOTES- WILFRED OWEN
- effect of war on the individual
- loss of identity and humanity
- multiply this for all seriously injured soldiers
a) Soldiers present life
“ satin a wheeled chair”
“ legless, sewn short at the elbow”
EFFECT- establishes the scene and situation
- shocks the reader
b) Previous life
“ town used to swing so gay”
“ carried shoulder-high”
EFFECT- total contrast of his life pre-war
- all he has now are his memories
- tells us of his loss
c) Enlisting in the army
“ he’d drunk a peg”
“ he’d look a god in kilts”
“ to please the giddy jilts”
EFFECT- tells his reaction to flattery and peer pressure
- army assists by faking his age
a) Role of women in his life
- he once felt “how slim girls waits are or how warm their subtle hands”
- how “the women’s eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole
EFFECT- shows the contrast between the lively active participant that he was, to the nameless, anonymous, dependent observer life.
b) His appearance
- he was a “god” “carried shoulder high”
- now he is wheelchair bound, limbless and dependent
c) Reaction of the crowd
- “drums and cheers” when the troops departed for the battlefield
- on return “ a solemn man”, perhaps a chaplain to bring fruit and ask him how he feels
EFFECT- young men are encouraged to join up and go to war but no one wants to take responsibility for caring for the injured returning from way.
- a series of metaphors describing the battle and the injuries the disabled soldier incurred.
“ loss his colour” – horrific bleeding and pain
“ poured it down shell holes” – tells us that the injury related to a shelling attach at the nature of the injury: so bad that blood poured out.
“ leap of purple spurted from his thigh”
EFFECT- emphasising the dangers and injuries that no recruit could anticipate.
- Disillusion- war is not what he had anticipated. Uniform parades, salutes, not a dependent, limbless life in a wheelchair.
- Despair- he has no future, only memories.
- Dependence- total reliance on nursing staff
“ take what pity they may dole”
“ why don’t they come and put him to bed?”
- Point of view- someone visiting the hospital, an observer
- Informal language- narrative of the generic soldier (no name)
Line 1 sets the scene. His in a wheelchair, its really dark.
Line 2 describes him shivering in his grey suit
Line 3 shocks the audience. “Legless, sewn short at elbow.”
Line 4 simile in which the sound of children make him sad.
Line 5 reminder of his youth
Line 6 metaphor. The kids had been taken.
Line 1 contrast with his present life to the London life.
Line 2 descriptive. Talks about the parties he used to go to.
Line 3 the role of girls in his life
Line 4 metaphor. ‘”Threw away his knees.” Effect on the war.
Line 6 contrasting how he used to touch girls and now they keep their distance. Old life- new life.
Line 1 imagery of blood.
Line 2 contrast.
Line 3-4 explaining why he joined.
Line 5 imagery, description of him in kilts.
• Continue of narrative.
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