Sweet and honourable - Sample Essay
“Dulce et Decorum est” was written by Owen and Sassoon in this poem they express there anger towards Jessie Pope. In which they contradict our normal veiw of soldiers marching proudly and having immaculate uniforms within the first stanza “Bent double like beggars under sacks” and “Many had lost their boots ,but limped on,blood shood. ” Which automatically shocks you,it is not what you expect and mocks the glamourised picture of war. In the second stanza the alarm and panic of the gas attack is captured by the repitition of the word gas, the use of the exclamation marks “GAS!
GAS! Quick Boys! “. Then they use clumsy words like “found’ring” which they combine with words like “drowning” and “yelling” which work well together to give us a good veiw of what gas attacks were like. They also use a few compaisions to present the horror of a gas attack. “And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime . . . “and “As under a sea, I saw him drowning. “. These comparisions are similies which you do not think of using when talking about war. The last stanza describes the dead bodies and how they fling the man who died in the gas attack onto the wagon as well.
The description of the bodies is almost haunting due to its hideous comparisions “His hanging face, like a devils sick of sin;” in this line they use an excellent similie to compare the faces of the dead bodies to the face that the devil would make if he was fed up of sin. This one line by itself gives us a very clear picture of how hideous the dead bodies are. But they go on to create an even clearer picture in your mind of what the bodies looked like. “Obscence as cancer, bitter as cud” in the early 1900’s this smilie would have been far more vile due to the fact cancer was not understood like it is now.
I think in the last three lines of the poem Owen and Sassoon are talking directly to Jessie Pope and describing the stupidity of her arguement which is that as it says in their poem “Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria mori which is latin for “It is a beautiful thing to die for your country. ” This one line contradicts the rest of this stanza due to Owen and Sassoon using words like “writhing,obscence, bitter,vile etc” to describe the dead bodies then in the last line describes it as “beautiful” .
The idea that the death or injuries sustained by the soldiers doesn’t matter if they are caused by fighting for your country is continued in Sassoons poem “Does it matter? ” . Like most of Sassoons war poetry this poem is very sarcastic. Throughout this poem Sassoon looks at how people reacted to injured soldiers after the war. The three injuries that he looks at are losing your legs losing your sight and losing your mind the one that I think is the worst is losing your mind. In this poem Sassoon uses sarcasm to sharp effect like in the first stanza in which he looks at the effects of losing your legs “For people will always be kind,” .
In this line he really means that people will be kind but it will be out of pity not out kindness. The most striking out of these three stanzas is the last one where Sassooon looks at the people who have lost their minds “you can drink and forget and be glad,and people won’t say your mad ;For they’ll know that you’ve fought for your country” this stanza works well because he is trying to make you think from people like Jessie Pope’s point of veiw and see how its so wrong. The last line is very important “And no one will worry a bit. ” which makes you feel guilty even if your not one of those people.
In Owens poem “Disabled” Owen imagines the thoughts and feelings of a young soldier who has lost his legs in the war. Throughtout this poem the young soldiers is very sad and bitter thinking about how his life used to be “In the old times, before they threw away his knees. “. In the first stanza Owen writes how the soldier in the poem is “waiting for dark,” the soldier is really waiting to die. In the first stanza Owen uses words like “Dark,grey,and shivered ” to represent the loneliness and isolation of the soldier, this strikes a strong comparision to the warmth of the next stanza.
In the second stanza he tells you the things he used to find exciting about the evening before the war “About this time Town used to swing so gay,” he used to enjoy going out at night with girls. Then at the end of the stanza he goes on to explain that girls cant even bare to touch him now “All of them touch him like some queer disease. This makes you feel angry towards the girls who are described in the poem. Then Owen uses alliteration with words like “Glow-lamps” and “girls glanced” to make the poem flow better when its read. In this poem Owen also implies that losing his legs were almost nothing “before he threw away his knees.
” this is described as if it were a careless action for him. However, I think Owen has written this line as if it were from the surgeons point of veiw. The surgeons removed his legs because to them it would mean nothing due to the fact that it was their job and they would have done it without emotion which is how Owen has written this line. In the forth stanza Owen describes that the soldiers used to enjoy playing football “One time he enjoyed a blood-smear down his leg,After matches,” this is ironic because a smear of blood would have made him look brave and as it said he liked it but now it is his worst nightmare.
This stanza also explain why he joined the army “when he’d drunk a peg,he thought he’d join. ” this indicates that he did it because of some sort of euphoria after a football match. Another reason that the soldier signed up was out of vanity “Someone said he’d look a god in kilts,”this was probably said by a girl. At the end of the poem Owen explains what is the future of the young soldier “Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes” the use of the word “sick” is very prominent due to the rest of the words in this line being very dull.
This stanza ends in great sadness “Why don’t they come” this is sad because there is no purpose in his life anymore so he is wishing to die. Throughout this poem. Owen is angry towards the attitude of the people who make the soldiers go to war and being proud of them, then because they have lost their arms or legs they ignore them. In the poem “The Hero” Sasssons shows us a cruel contrast between a mother’s point of veiw of her dead son and the opinions of his fellow offiers. In this poem the mother is told what she wants to hear, that her son died for his country and was very brave “We mothers are so proud of our dead soldiers”.
This shows use the point of veiw of the mothers in the early 1900’s that they found it more bearable if their sons died for their country. In the first stanza the Brother officer gives the mother a letter saying that her son is dead. Throughout this stanza Sassoon uses soft language which is almost patriotic”Had she shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy” it is a big contrast with the second part of the poem which uses very harsh language “cold footed heartless swine ,” .
As the brother walks out of the mother’s house Owen explains how the brother officer felt about his visit “He’d told the old dear some gallant lies” the brother officer felt he had done the right thing, he didn’t feel bad that he had lied and he felt that he had protected the mother from the truth.
Then in the next stanza Owen explains what the brother officer really thought about Jack (the dead soldier) “cold-footed useless swine, Had panicked….” this shows us that the brother officer hated Jack, thought he was a useless soldier and that Jack put other soldiers lives at risk. The title of the poem could be from the point of veiw of the mother seeing him as ” The Hero” or from the sarcastic point of veiw of the brother officer. Owens long poems about the horrifying situations the soldiers were put through combined with Sassoons short sarcastic poems about peoples reaction to the soldiers after the war gives us a very clear picture of the realities of war and why it is not sweet and honourable to die for your country.