The First World War poets were able to affect the emotions of their
readers. Choose two or more poems that have affected you in some way,
and analyse how the poets have achieved this affect.
The subject of war is a delicate one to write about. However, Wilfred
Owen expertly describes the horrors of conflict to his readers in a
way few are able to. He conveys images and uses language in ways that
can move the reader. In this essay I will look at two of his poems,
written during and after the war, and aim to discuss the methods Owen
uses in order to successfully influence the readers’ emotions.
After reading each of the poems, I felt I was able to recognize more
fully the suffering that the men on the front line endured. Although
the full extent of the terror of the trenches should never be seen
again, Owen’s writing gives a good idea of what war was like 90 years
ago. The poems moved me and sadden me, and also opened my eyes to the
horror of war.
The poems I will be studying are ‘Spring Offensive’ and ‘Futility’;
they differ from each other in a variety of ways but each communicates
a feeling of compassion for those who died in 1918. While one will use
perhaps horrific detail, another will use a milder and gentler method.
In answer to the essay title, I will show which techniques Owen uses
in each poem and how they move the reader.
The first poem I will look at is ‘Spring Offensive’. We can see from
the title that Owen may talk about conflict as ‘offensive’ suggests.
The opening line is one of sadness and imminent death, ‘Halted against
the shade of a last hill’. The use of ‘last’ implies that the men are
nearing the end of their lives and that the hill is that last one th...
... middle of paper ...
...suddenly they are
‘exposed’ to the ‘unseen bullets’ of the enemy machine guns. This also
makes the soldiers appear very brave, as they show little fear.
To conclude, I would say that ‘Spring Offensive’ is an exceptional
piece of writing that moved me greatly. I felt real sympathy and
sadness for the men that lost their lives for their country after the
officers threw them into the front line. This feeling is strengthened
through ‘Futility’, which makes the pointlessness of the War even more
Owen uses rhythm and style to paint the terrible pictures of war in
order to rouse the reader into thinking about his ideas. His use of
rhetorical devices further reinforces his views on war and its
senselessness. Finally, his questioning of God and his way of making
nature appear all-powerful adds an effective twist to the overall view
of his writing.
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