Analysis: Stepping Inside A Soldiers Shoes

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Stepping Inside a Soldiers Shoes War is an inevitable part of human existence. From WWI to the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States military has risked their lives in a variety of combat and warfare to protect us and fight for our freedom. As civilians, we do not understand what happens to soldiers during and after war. However, through literature and film we are able to get some sense of what soldiers go through. The poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, written by Wilfred Owen and the film, In the Valley of Elah, directed by Paul Haggis both explore how war can affect a soldier physically, as well as leave them deeply emotionally scarred. The poem Dulce et Decorum Est or translated in english “how sweet it is to die for one's country” is about soldiers in WWI being put under the fearful attacks of mustard and chlorine gas in their trenches. This poem uses the author, Wilfred Owen’s own experiences in WWI to show the physical pain and suffering that soldiers experienced while traveling through their trenches and being caught in thick clouds of gas during the combat. After reading this poem about the traumatizing horrors that soldiers experienced during WWI, it proves that the people who glorify war are lying. In the film, In the Valley Of Elah, a retired military police officer named Hank Deerfield (Tommy Lee Jones) receives a call that his son Mike (Jonathan Tucker), an Army specialist has gone AWOL from his base in New Mexico days after returning home from his term in the Iraq War. Hank sets out to New Mexico in hope to find his missing son but soon after his arrival, he is notified that Mike’s charred and dismembered remains have been found in the desert. Hank ends starts working with a very determined local detec... ... middle of paper ... ... of Elah is shown behind closed doors unlike in Dulce et Decorum Este. We are unable to see what emotional trauma that the soldiers struggle with inside. As a result, when they return home from war traumatized and emotionally scared, they receive the right care or treatment to help them transform back into a normal life. It is hard to relate these two pieces of work to your own life unless yourself or someone you know has gone through the hardships of war. However, through the literature we have read this semester in the elements of poetry and film, we were able to get some sense of what soldiers experience during and after war. The poem Dulce et Decorum Este and the film In the Valley of Elah let us explore a common theme of how war can affect a soldier physically, as well as leave them deeply emotionally scarred in the different wartimes of WWI and Iraq.

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