How Does Owen Convey The Suffering Of War Essay

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Text Response Paragraph: “How does Owen convey the suffering of war?”
For Owen, the anguish brought about by war is manifest within the wretched psychological state of the soldiers embroiled in conflict. Owen depicts a view of the war that is undeniably bleak, illustrating a conflict that ensnares its combatants within a vacillating state of dull monotony and high tension. Within “Dulce et Decorum Est”, the reaction of simply “turning their backs” evidenced by the soldiers trudging in the “sludge” in response to the “flares” of the artillery, conveys a sense of their mental desensitization in the face of the repetitive nature of war. Rather than a more natural response of surprise and even alarm, these soldiers exhibit a startling boredom and disconnection from their reality. Here the descriptors “blind” and “deaf” – conditions that affect them “all” – are particularly apt; it is as if their mental faculties have been entirely dulled by a sordid routine of “coughing”, “fatigue” and the abrupt interjections of “Five-nines” dropping a knell of death behind them. The soldiers’ apathetic reaction of ‘turning away’ and refraining from any engagement with their surroundings ultimately depicts a subversion of a more natural vigor of perspective that embodies the prime of youth. Instead, the psyche of the individual within war is pre-occupied with the corporeal misery of ‘cursing’ through the sludge of their battleground. The deplorable state of the mind is further established within the strained call of “GAS!” in the second stanza of the poem. For the first time in the poem we see a glimmer of tense and frantic activity – an “ecstasy of fumbling” for the gas masks – as the jarring descriptor “ecstasy” establishes a sense of the trance-like state that dominates their conscious actions. Yet, this arousal from of their despondent state of mental exhaustion conveyed by the image of men marching “asleep”, is undermined by the reason for their awakening; namely to don

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