The Work of War

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“Dulce Et Decorum Est” is a very powerful poem that is drawn from the author Wilfred Owen’s own experiences. This poem has great imagery and uses many metaphors which make the reader put themselves in Owen’s eyes. The pain is felt in his voice as he talks about his friend that he sees dying, yet he can do nothing about. His poem has an ironic point about how if people would put themselves in his spot at that moment they would not be telling their children that war was good. While in “Dead Troops Talk”, which is a photograph done by Jeff Wall, there seems to be a different feeling about it. It is not as heavy as the poem. For in the photograph the soldiers, who appear to have been killed in action, have been re-animated to be talking and goofing around. The poem and the work of art are similar in the fact that they are both about war. However, the feeling that one gets from each of them is different. The death in the poem is a very tragic and demoralizing but in the photograph the soldiers who have been killed seem to be happy now that they no longer serving in someone else’s war. The first stanza of the poem, “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, helps to set the scene; it tells of soldiers who are beaten down and in horrible condition. They are limping back from the front lines of the war. Owen paints a terrifying picture of these tired and wounded soldiers. When one usually thinks of a soldier they think of young, strong, and confident man. However, the soldiers in the poem are compared to old beggars and hags; while they marched on, barely able to keep their eyes open from lack of sleep, they have a hard time walking. This is because they had lost their shoes in battle and their feet were “blood-shod”. (Line 6) This term means that the sol... ... middle of paper ... ...onal in the fact that he was in the war and he encountered everything first hand. He could not understand how people back home and the news could talk about how good the war was while the men fighting it were tortured by it. Wall’s photograph was done because it was something he had wanted to do. His photograph is not showing humor in the war but it does not seem to take on the pain felt in the poem. Works Cited Owen, Wilfred. “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” Making Literature Matter. 5th edition. John Schilb and John Clifford, eds. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s. 2012. Print. Simcox, Kenneth. “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” The Wilfred Owen Association. The Wilfred Owen Association, 2014. Web. 27 February 2014. Wall, Jeff. Interviewed by Gordon MacDonald. “Ideas and Ideals in Visual Culture.” WordPress, 2005. Web. 27 February 2014.
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