Wilfred Owen and W.H. Auden are war poets and each of them is writing about a different war they experienced, but the final mood in both poems is loss. The two poems are an emotional reaction to the aftermath of war. The poem “Disabled” is about a soldier who went to war, believing he is helping his country, while “Refugee Blues” portrays the terrible situation of the German Jews during World War II. Although the poems have the same theme, physical and emotional loss, yet the poems are having many contrasts between each other. “Refugee Blues” is about a refugee family who have lost everything they own and are on the run to save their lives. They feel very isolated in a big city where they do not belong, but they cannot go home either. They feel great sadness, because the Germans took their passports. They feel alienated and helpless.
In the two poems “Refugee Blues” and “Disabled” the main similarity is that both of the poems have the same theme, which is the war in 1900. Unlike the theme of the poems, the category of the poems is completely different, for example “Refugee Blues” is about a conflict in the war and the category of “Disabled” is the suffering in the war. Other similarities in the two poems are that the poets use the same key technique -contrast.
In both of the poems there is contrast but in “Disabled” it is more than in “Refugee Blues”. Both of the poets also use other similar techniques e.g. metaphor, isolation, repetition and also rhyme. An example would be, in the poem “Disabled” the poet uses isolation for showing how the war can change people and isolate them afterwards, “All of them touch him like some queer disease.” This shows that after the war he was disabled and because of that nobody liked him anymore, so that is why everyone touched him like some queer disease, because he was disgusting, he was legless and his arms were cut off to the elbow and no-one wanted to have anything to do with him. He wasn’t the same guy that he was before and this changed his live forever.
This technique is similar to that in “Refugee Blues”, because there the man and “my dear” are isolated from the rest being refugees, they don’t have a home and there is no-one to take care of them. This is similar t the situation in “Disabled”, where nobody wants to go near the disabled man. A quotation to show the isolation in Refugee Blues can be “Yet there is no place for us, my dear, yet there is no place for us.”
However, the effect of isolation in the two poems is different. In “Disabled” the isolation is affecting the man after his return from the war disabled, that’s why no-one dared to go close to him. In “Refugee Blues” the isolation is different with the people being refugees, trying to escape the Germans. It is different from the poem “Disabled”, because they are not isolated from the people around them, but they are afraid of contacts, as they are afraid to talk to people. The isolation in Refugee Blues is because they want to be isolated from the rest of the people and try to run. The effect of isolation in “Refugee Blues” is also different from “Disable”, because the man has his child or wife and the disabled man is alone and doesn’t have anyone.
A difference in the key techniques of “Refugee Blues” and “Disabled” is personification. W.H. Auden uses personification in his poem for example “Saw the fish swimming as if they were free.” Unlike Wilfred Owen who doesn’t use any personification in his poem “Disabled.” W.H. Auden uses personification in his poem, presenting “the fish swimming as they were free”, suggesting that the Jews, even though they are very close to the fish, are still isolated. W.H. Auden also makes a comparison between the human race and the free flying birds. He adds emphasis by repeating the last line, which wants to show the refugees regret that the birds are more humane than the human race. The Jews are sad that the birds seam to have more rights than they do.
In conclusion both poems makes us thing about the devastation of war and its effect on the lives of millions of people around the world. They make us question human values as both the disabled man and the refugee Jews are made outcasts by a society, which pretend to have Christian values. It was these Christians who started these wars and created propaganda, which sent the young men to the front and later rejected him and the homeless refugees shutting them out of their society.