Wilfred Owen's Poetry and War Essay
Wilfred Owen is now seen as one of the most important of the many poets of the First World War. He was born the son of a railway worker in Shropshire, and educated at schools in Shrewsbury and Liverpool.
His devoted mother encouraged his early interests in music and poetry.
When he could not afford a university education, he went abroad to teach English in France. He was there when war broke out in 1914, and decided to return to England to volunteer for the army.
After training, he became an officer and was sent to France at the end of 1916, seeing service first in the Somme sector. In spring 1917, he took part in the attacks on the German Hindenburg Line near St
Quentin. When a huge shell …show more content…
The first line of the octave compares the soldiers to cattle, suggesting that the men seem weaker and more vulnerable to an inevitable slaughter. The strong, hard sounds in the following lines give a sinister feeling to the poem, as with the use of personification, the guns and rifles are transformed into monsters. A more dramatic effect is also created using alliteration such as,
'rifles rapid rattle', which emphasises the terrifying, unrelenting sounds of the battlefield.
In the last lines of the octave, Owen's tone becomes sarcastic and bitter. This is evident in the phrase, 'No mockeries now for them', which refers to the elaborate Victorian style funerals, that these soldiers do not receive. He again goes on to tease out comparisons and contradictions with these ceremonies, such as the transition of
'mourning choirs', to the 'shrill, demented sounds of the shells', and
'bugles' calling the soldiers from 'sad shires' which creates a feeling of pity in the reader.
This soft 's' sound brings us to the sadder, more reflective sestet, as Owen refers to the soldiers as 'boys', clearly showing their youth and innocence. This makes the sonnet become very moving. He emphasises