Poem Analysis Of Wilfred Owen's Disabled

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Wilfred Owen’s Disabled is poem of the post-Great War period, when hundreds of young men were -similarly to the protagonist- abandoned to their misery and handicaps in military hospitals. The intentionally vague and indistinguishable character is presented as empty, an indicator of his inability to recover. However, despite his superficial remorse and apathy, we can distinguish an underlying message; Owen portrays the value of an individual in society as both fleeting and unappreciated. He uses the theme of natural versus unnatural order, distorted imagery and structural time techniques throughout the poem to achieve this.

Through the use of natural versus unnatural order, Owen shows the role of an individual in society as a commodity to be
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The first stanza’s sibilance draws attention to the character’s appalling situation, “in his ghastly suit of grey,/Legless, sewn short at elbow.” The imagery is not subtle, or kind to the character. ‘Sewn short’ could be seen as a kindness, but rings as salt in a wound. There is no point in making a full pair of pants, to ease a sense of loss, for someone who is not likely to live much longer, it would be a waste of cloth. Although that is not the end of the line, the sentence ends there. It is a halting moment, where we now understand why he is sitting in his ‘wheeled chair’. The caesura is abrupt, and we pause to digest what has been said. Not only is his literal ‘suit’ ghastly, but so is his body, and skin. His legs have been sewn short, the rest of them gone. The metaphor is clear: a suit is meant to have pants, and yet he wears shorts. A man is meant to have legs, and yet he does not. To go back to what was said earlier in this dissertation, he is a soiled resource. The effort to repurpose it is too great, and instead we leave it to rot. This is further reinforced by his shivering; the lack of care shown toward him. The 6th stanza stands as the most blatant disregard to his sacrifice. ‘Only a solemn man’, there is no family, nor friends who care, which works in association with ‘he threw away his knees’ (l10). It degrades his decision to stupidity, presuming he went into something he knew he would come out of scarred. We know that he was misled, and did not know what he was getting into. The only person to come see him is a priest, (revealed by ‘inquired about his soul’), and to be cynical, we know he is there by duty to the dying. The veteran is a waste of state money, a waste of effort, a waste of others’

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