Disabled, by Wilfred Owen. How successful is Wilfred Owen in presenting the destructive nature of war an evoking pity in the reader?

Topics: Boy, Poetry, Stanza Pages: 7 (2575 words) Published: November 26, 2014
IGCSE English Language.

Section B coursework: 'Disabled' essay.


This poem was created to represent each boy and man that joined the army during the First World War because of the propaganda and false information that the government was serving out and how slowly all the victims came to know the reality, the destruction and the horror the word 'war' really meant. Each and every soldier that joined the army during the WWI didn't have any other reason but the 'glory' that it entailed. Nobody had ever told them what they were really signing up for because I repeat, all the false information and propaganda that had been spewed out by the authorities. Boys and young men alike would be recruited at sporting events and talked into signing up for the army by the sly recruiters while the soon-to-be-soldiers were drunk on the cheers from the crowd and intoxicated with the sweet savour of victory that would soon turn sour in their mouths.

Owens purpose with his poem is to convey the desolation and devastation and destruction of war not only the readers of our current era but more importantly to the victims, be it families or soldiers and citizens that lived through the WWI. Owen tries to make the people of those times understand the truth behind all the cataclysmic, catastrophic and calamitous years of war.

The effect of this poem on the reader is magnified because of Owens past that is now engraves into our history books. Unlike the armchair patriots of the times, Wilfred Owen was a high ranking officer in the army and before he witnessed first hand the dire ecosystem of war he was a pro-war poet, since before he actually went to war he was a pro-poet the reader has the sense of security his opinion is not biased and he has experienced first hand both views of the war, from home and on the frontlines giving the reader a sense of connection and respect towards the author, in short, meaning the reader will probably believe anything and everything the poet will say.

In the first stanza Owen uses the pronoun 'he' to open the poem. He uses technical language however at the same time it also works as a structural device. The writer informs us that the young ex-soldier who represents every boy and man who suffered a physical loss or a mental scarring that he is 'sat in a wheel chair waiting for dark'. By using this sentence as an introductory line the reader immediately empathises with the protagonist of the poem; which is heightened when the words 'sat' and 'waited' are read which informs the reader the writer is now passive and no longer has any control over his life.

Owen also uses linguistic techniques like sibilance; 'sewn' 'short' which gives the reader a solid image of the physical loss of the soldier and at the same time the writer empathises the loss and disability the soldier will now have to live with. He also uses alliteration 'wheeled' and 'waiting' which again furthers his passiveness. The sense of 'passiveness' that is transmitted to the reader has the effect of the reader feeling instant waves of pity towards all the young men that threw their lives away.

The poet has also used several connotations, however the one that stands out the most to the reader is "waiting for dark" which again heightens the protagonist passivity and communicates to the reader he has no joys left to do I life but wait for death to take him away and him never come back.

The second stanza is mainly formed by Owen contrasting vivid, pleasant images of the soldiers past, telling the reader his passions and joys he had while he was 'whole' and are no longer possible for him to do. The poet uses juxtaposition while contrasting happiness and waste. The first three lines are full of positivity, "swing so gay" and the traditional meaning of 'gay' is happiness which already gives the reader a taste of happiness which is...
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