As a combatant poet, Owen holds the ability to use his experience as a solider to influence the language in his poem, thus making it more representative of war. From the start, he sets the war scene, using harsh words such as ‘hags’, ‘sludge’ and ‘trudge.’ Owen makes his intention clear from the beginning that he wants to deliver the reality of war to the audience, and does not intend on ‘dressing up’ the poem to give them what they want. In Dobell’s poem, the soldier, who could be called a ‘boy’ at seventeen, wants to be a man in the war. In Owen’s poem shows the transition from man-to-boy. He shows this in the lines ‘Men marched asleep’ to ‘Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!’. Owen uses the states of asleep and awake to make this change. The ‘Men’ are ‘asleep’, and then are woken by gas, and are told to be ‘Quick, boys!’. Before they have gone to the trenches and into the warzone, the men are men, yet as soon as they ‘wake up’ in the middle ...
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...s for help. ‘Survivors never “get used to” losing their sense of meaning; they are forever changed by it’ (Tal 1996: 122).
Having considered all of the points raised in the essay, as well as the similarities and differences between the two poems, I do agree that direct experience of combat is relevant to a poet’s representation of war. Both Owen and Dobell’s poems show a degree of combatant experience, and although Dobell hasn’t had direct experience, she ‘experienced the war in very vivid ways’, and as well as this, ‘direct attacks on hospital facilities all too often brought nurses under enemy fire’ (De Groot & Peniston-Bird, 2014: 205). However, Owen and his fellow combatants were living in a world where they become men whilst experiencing the war first hand. Having spent years in these conditions, he became a part of the war and is a representation in himself.
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