Dear Mr. Meyer,
In this urgent time of crisis and war, we must not forget the scenes our troops must forge through; images we might never experience as we sit in our living rooms with eyes glued to CNN. As part of our curriculum, we were asked to read “Dulce et Decorum Est” written by Wilfred Owen and this poem left such a lasting impression that I was shocked and upset to find out you may consider removing this poem from your textbook, The Bedford Introduction to Literature. I believe that such a decision would leave you kicking yourself later once you realize that excluding this poem is a huge mistake. With such strong imagery that emphasizes and burns into our memory the panic, filth, and horridness of war, Owen paints a vivid picture that should not be tossed aside so easily without serious reconsideration. By using such strong visual imagery, Owen burns the scenes of horrible warfare into our brains. The writer pulls us along as we follow the ‘knock-kneed, coughing’ (line 2) soldiers as they battle to stay alive with chaos all around them. He experiences this terrible first hand as he and the other troops marched ‘bent-double, like old beggars under sacks’ (1). We get this vivid sense of fear and pain as ‘if [we] could hear, at every jolt, the blood / come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs’. This is an experience most soldiers face and one we should be aware of and removing this powerful work of poetry from The Bedford Introduction to Literature would be taking a step in the wrong direction. Clearly, the images Owen uses in this poem are so harsh and filthy, we can almost smell the terrible gasses and see the blood soaked bodies as we read. We are dropped into the middle of this awful scene where someone yells ‘Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!’ and there is suddenly ‘An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling . . . Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea,...
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