Love Presented in Poems by Wilfred Owen

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Love Presented in Poems by Wilfred Owen

Explore how the theme of love is presented in Birdsong and a selection

of poems by Wilfred Owen.

Loving attitudes, though perhaps not as prominent as themes such as

violence and pride, are intimately observed and explored in Sebastian

Faulks' Birdsong and in many of Wilfred Owen's War poems. Each aspect

of love, as seen through the eyes of this First World War soldier and

Faulks' characters, is as interesting as it is diverse, allowing an

impervious insight into the psychological effects that the War had on

these men.

Such a formidable event as war has a devastating effect on all parties

involved. In total, the First World War saw the deaths of 420,000

English, 450,000 German, and 205,000 French civilians. Through the

bleak and most shattering of ordeals, love will show itself in the

strangest fashions; surfacing in new and unforeseen places, and

overriding all tribulations. I believe the two texts I have selected

support this view, portraying clearly many different features of the

love that war made apparent, love that was forced to survive

horrendous difficulties, and the love which was occasionally lost.

Propaganda for The Great War sold a message of equality, duty and

devotion, striking a patriotic chord throughout England with slogans

such as: "Everyone should do his bit", and "God bless dear daddy who

is fighting the Hun and send him HELP". This image of fearlessness,

commitment and love for your country was heavily supported and can be

appreciated when reading the poetry of Jessie Pope. Her poems are

often used to demonstrate the sentiments on the home front, and are

commonly taught in opposition to the ideas of the major war poets,

including Wilfred...

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feelings, such as the personification of "The kind old sun" in

Futility and "the haunting flares" in Dulce Et Decorum Est; Faulkes

using emotive language and character relationships to portray the

sadness and the loss encountered during the war. Both are successful

in their attempt to show love enduring everything, and of love being

borne from human nature's lust for survival.


¹Owen's poem Dulce Et Decorum Est was originally dedicated to Jessie

Pope, but under the advice of Sassoon, Owen settled for using "My

friend" to represent her, believing that a name check was perhaps too



Essays read: literature/dulce_et_decorum_est.htm

Books studied:

Wilfred Owen: The War Poems. (Chatto & Windus LTD, 1994)

Sebastien Faulkes: Birdsong (Vintage, 1994)
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