Essay on Wilfred Owen

Essay on Wilfred Owen

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Wilfred Owen

Read and Compare and Contrast the Following Poems by Wilfred Owen: [It Was a Navy Boy], Anthem for Doomed Youth and Dulce et Decorum Est.

Wilfred Owen was a poet who was widely regarded as one of the best poets of the World War one period.

Wilfred Owen was born on the 18th of March 1893, at Plas Wilmot, Oswestry, on the English Welsh border; he was the son of Tom and Susan Owen. During the winter of 1897-8 Tom Owen, Wilfred’s father was reappointed to Birkenhead, and with that the whole family moved there. Wilfred started school at the Birkenhead Institute on the 11th June 1900, during the middle of a term. During the winter of 1906-7 Tom Owen was appointed Assistant Superintendent, GW & LNER, Western Region, this again led to another family move to Shrewsbury, where Wilfred started school at Shrewsbury Technical School. In the summer of 1910 Wilfred Owen met Christoble Coleridge, daughter of the poet. This triggered his interest in poetry. In 1911 Wilfred worked as a pupil-teacher at the Wyle Cop School, Shrewsbury whilst preparing for his Matriculation exam. Later that year Wilfred took the exam for London University, which he found out that he had matriculated, but not with honours. In 1913 Wilfred returned to Shrewsbury due to illness, he took a reading exam and failed. He later went to Bordeaux in France where he taught English at Berlitz School. In 1914 he gave this job up and went to the Pyrenees on the Spanish French border to teach a former pupil. On the 4th August war was declared and later he returned to Bordeaux to tutor once more. In 1915 he considered joining various regiments and eventually enlisted with the Artists Rifles as Cadet Owen. On the 5th March 1915 Wilfred went to Officers School and was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment. Four days after Christmas at the start of 1916 he was sent to Base camp, in Etaples, France.

1917 was a very busy year for Wilfred; on the very first day of the year he assumed command of Platoon Three, with the Manchester’s near the Somme. On the 6th January they were sent to the front line, and from the 9th to the 16th of January they dug holes out in no-mans land. And on returning to the front line on the 20th, the weather took a turn for the worst when severe frost struck, affected many men. On the 15th of March Wilfred Owen was evacuated from the front line due to concussion...


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...red by Owen’s decision to join the army and was aimed at others who he hoped would follow him. The second and third poems of which I have referred, Anthem for doomed youth and Dulce et Decorum est, are both anti war, the latest being more against war. These were inspired by Owen’s changed view on war as he had witnessed the awful sights and sounds of front line combat. It is almost as if he needs to emphasis that the innocence he portrayed in the first poem was a mistaken and bore no resemblance to the true reality of the horror of death in war.

The poem I personally preferred was the most recently composed, Dulce et decorum Est. When Owen wrote this he was more experienced and had a clear view on what he was writing. The other two for me, particularly [It was a navy boy] was too long and overly repetitive, although some of the imagery created from the words used in Anthem for doomed youth was very impressive.

When Owen died at a young age, his friend Siegfried Sassoon was responsible for publishing his work. He may have made some minor alterations to them, yet the large majority of the work was without doubt that of one of the greatest World War One poets that ever lived.

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