Here is what i’ve been working on with Gonzalo Criniti and Silvestre Braun!
“Dulce et Decorum Est”
Look for information about Wilfred Owen
Characteristics of war poetry
Explain each stanza with your own words
Which images predominate? Quote and explain
What does the title mean? Lo
Born in 1893 died in 1918
English soldier who fought in the WW1
He was homosexual
Rhetoric of honor
Early war poets focus on the causes of the war and the emphasize the abstract notion of honor
Late war poets are visibly anti-war. Focus on the details of their war experience and the hard reality of war.
Soldiers are backing up, growing away from the battlefield. They are in very poor conditions. They are exhausted and upset because things aren’t going as planned (ex: “disappointed shells that dropped behind”).
They throw gas to them. They ran away. People started dying. He saw a man die in front of him, drowning and in agony.
the man keeps dying and his mind; the voice can’t save him and is clearly hurt because of it.
It starts describing all the bad things about the war, all the suffering, and showing the true side of the war. There is an irony, when the government explains to the new young soldiers entering the army what war is (pride, honor, defend the country), but in fact they are hiding the truth.
The images that predominate are auditory and visual:
“like old beggars under sacks”: they have the same poor conditions as a homeless person.
“coughing like hags” the author wants to portray their bad physical condition.
“still was yelling out and stumbling”: Chaos and shouting plus the sound that the boots and the falls made together with the ground.
The exact meaning of the title is “it is sweet and honorable”. But this really makes sense to the reader when it is followed by “pro patria mori”, which means “to die for one’s country”. This is the real idea that the author wants to portray throughout the poem: how the people made it sound like in the attempt to encourage them to sign in, but it was really horrible, they died in awful conditions and humiliated.
What is the main emotion expressed in the first stanza (verse)?
Write an example of a simile used in the first stanza
Why were the shells ‘disappointed’?
Pity, fury towards the government, sadness and sorrow
“like old beggars under sacks”: Simile undermines stereotypes image of soldiers as young and fit. Suggests they are filthy and weak
The metaphorical meaning of the disappointed shells, is that the enemies throw the soldiers bombs, but they were “disappointed” because they never got to their target.
How does the emotion change at the beginning of the second stanza?
What were the soldiers ‘fumbling’ for and why?
Owen uses a metaphor to describe what the gas looked like. Write it here:
The main emotion changes from sadness and pity to shock and madness. We can see this because there is a new unknown element for the soldiers, and they are surprised when they see the effect in people (gas bombs): “GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!” the exclamation mark suggests that something important is happening, and as gas is new for them, they are surprised and scared, so they must act fast.
Fumbling: move clumsily in various direction using the hands to find one’s way. Soldiers were fumbling to find their way through the mist, and trying no to tumble over bodies on the ground.
“through the misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea”.
Why do you think the third stanza is only two lines long? Think about the dramatic effect and the emotion:
We think that the stanza is two lines long because the phrase is one of the most importants and shocking from the poem. The writer vividly transmits how he was perturbed by the death of his friend, dying in front of him “choking, drowning”, maybe in his own blood.
What is the main emotion expressed in the fourth stanza?
Name three parts of the body that are affected by this sort of gas:
Explain the final lines.
The main emotion expressed inthe fourth stanza is anger towards th government and the way they tried to persuade people into signing in for tye war. He describes it as “The old Lie”.
The three parts are:
The face (eyes): “And watch the white eyes writhing in his face”. The sight of the men was suffering, both from the gas and from the horrible view.
The lungs/respiratory system: men were fighting to breath, as they suffered. Also the blood they were throwing up didn’t let them breath, and they started choking.
The stomach/digestive system: soldiers, because of the bitter smell of the gas, started throwing up the blood wich “Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs”.
The meaning of the final lines is: Owen tries to makes us re-ask ourselves, after giving us another completely new point of view of the war, if it is worth to die for our country or not, by repeating the title and completing the phrase.
The poem transmits anger, sadness and fury from the voice, he is clearly upset that he was forced to see a friend die, and it makes him feel desperate for not being able to do anything. The voice is also angry because he was forced to fight in awful conditions: with few hours of sleep and with heavy and uncomfortable clothing.
Similes as: “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud” show us how dark, filthy and bitter the situation was. We believe the author wants to make the reader understand how awful war was, the things that it does to you, the hard time of having to see a friend die and the despair of not being able to do anything about it. Another thing the author wants us to understand is the fact that gases were unknown at the time, so people were surprised by them and killed due to the damage these provoked.
Write an essay. Compare and contrast 2 of the poems you have worked on. Comment closely on the themes, tones and how the writers convey their message.
Themes: War, sleep, freedom, closure and death.
Tone: free, urging
Metaphor of death; “sleep the sleep that knows Not breaking”. The “death that knows no breaking”
Auditory/ visual image; “squadron tramping”
“Armour’s clang”these literary devices help the Reader understand how tormenting the war was and encourage the soldiers to fight and die with no fear and honour
Personal opinion: through this very descriptive poem, Sir Walter Scott wanted to portray and protest about the war and about society. He thought that soldiers were mistreated and didn’t have to fight. Wars were caused because of the mistakes and bad decisions of their leaders/kings. But in consequence, soldiers had to work very hard and fight for a purpose that maybe they weren’t even interested in. So we after reading the poem, and think about it, we can see that humans repeat their mistakes again and again, we can’t learn nothing about them. This means that no matter what, there will always be wars, and poor soldiers fighting, without stopping, only resting when they die.
The death bed:
The poet presents a dead person “unshaken as the steadfast walls”. He is so immobilized that he is compared with steady walls in the previous simile.
Through the alliterative “s”, the poet is able to emphasize the fact that he is in silence, because he is dead: “Silence and safety”. In the previous alliteration we can see the emotion emphasized.
Moreover, we can relate the fact that he is dead in the following metaphor “soaring nd quivering in the Wings of sleep”. Here ‘sleep’ is personified and it is covering the man, meaning that death is coming.
“moonless waves of death”, the man is at the border of the “shore”. He is between life and death
“Someone” symbolizes death. Death was holding water to his mouth because he was drowning. So death is personified.
The poet illustrates how dead the man is by comparing what he saw with what he sees now. “Through crimson gloom to darkness”, this metaphor is related with the fact he used to see colours, such as red, but now, because he is dying, he only sees black colours, darkness.
By presenting the following auditory and tactile image, the poet is able to express the pain the man was suffering, “The opiate throb and ache that was his wound”. He was in such pain that he heard his own agony.
The repetition of the word “water” emphasizes the fact that he was drowned.
the “Bird-voiced” alliteration together with the “sky” and the “weir” are used to emphasize the fact that he was outside, in the nature, and not in a swimming pool. It suggests that the man was drowned from a boat.
Through this alliterative phrase we know he is dead, sleeping, since he emit a long, deep audible breath expressing sadness: “oars, and sighed, and slept”
The next alliteration is used to emphasize how painful he was that now is at the hospital, “With a gust of wind, was in the ward”. We can sort of feel his grief through that tactile image as it causes in the reader shivers
The repetition of “night” contributes to the repetition of its symbol, death
The poet suggests that something ghostly was taking the man to death, “glinting among the wraiths of wandering cloud”
“purple, scarlet, green” this visual image presents dark colours that symbolize death, if they are obscure.
“drowning eyes” in this visual image we are directly informed that the man was drowned.
“Rain- he could hear it rustling through the dark” In this auditory image, rain symbolises sadness
The auditory image, “passionless music”, makes reference to something sad and dead (as dead as the man who was drawn). The music has lost its life, so as the man
“gently and slowly washing life away” makes reference to death
“Pain” is personified
The following simile shows the agony that the man is suffering and it is compared with a monster, with a beast: “pain leaped like a prowling beast”
As the man is dying, he won’t be able to achieve his “groping dreams”
Death is personified as it came towards him, it “paused and stared”
“Light many lamps”, light is a symbol of life and hope
The poet announces that the man could be saved and he transmit that in the next images.
“lend him your eyes, warm blood and will to live”, the visual and tactile image tells us that there might be an opportunity for him to be alive
“Speak to him; rouse him; you may save him yet” There are possibilities for him to be saved
The voice is begging death not to kill the young man who hates war
In spite of the fact that someone or something begged not to kill the man, it did it. So “Death replied: “I choose him” So he went”.
“Silence in the summer night” So the auditory image reflect his death as there is silence at night. “silence and safety”
Auditory image: “thudding of the guns”
Theme: war poetry, death, dreams
Tone: The tone in this poem is
Structure: We believe the lines of the finishing veres are shorter to emphasise how the an is slowly dying, as the poem itself.
The Kiss: Siegfried Sassoon (http://studylib.net/doc/8065689/siegfried-sassoon–the-kiss–%E2%80%93-the-essay-of-analysis-and)
To these I turn, in these I trust—
Brother Lead and Sister Steel.
To his blind power I make appeal,
I guard her beauty clean from rust.
He spins and burns and loves the air,
And splits a skull to win my praise;
But up the nobly marching days
She glitters naked, cold and fair.
Sweet Sister, grant your soldier this:
That in good fury he may feel
The body where he sets his heel
Quail from your downward darting kiss.
Themes: war, death, loyalty
Tone: maniac, adulating
Alliteration: “Sister Steel”
Oxymoron: “To his blind power I make appeal”
Imagery: “darting kiss”
Personal opinion: Siegfried Sassoon, through this poem, wants to transmit that war is crazy and that can turn a man into a crazy person, that only wants and loves killing. In this poem, the voice is a soldier who is speaking about his gun: “Brother Lead and Sister Steel”. Brother Lead is the bullet, and Sister Steel is the barrel. In his first sentence he says “in these I trust”. We can see that the has a complete sense of trust over the gun. He gained this from using it a lot of times, so we can assume he killed a lot of people. Then he shows his admiration for the bullet, but also he has a bigger admiration for the barrel, which he keeps “clean from rust”. The second stanza he admires how the bullet goes through a skull. And in the third stanza, the voice talks of killing a man with the barrel, putting his feet on him, and then giving him a darting kiss from the barrel. In conclusion, this poem shows how people can go mad during war, as the voice in this poem, who is adulating the weapon, and he also feels he is in “heaven” when he kills with it.
Everyone sang: Siegfried Sassoon
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on – on – and out of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
Themes: freedom, hope, liberty, happiness, life.
Tones: hopeful, encouraging, happy, positive.
simile: “As prisoned birds must find in freedom”
Alliteration: “setting sun”
Imagery: “dark-green fields”
Personal opinion: We understood this poem as happy one, we interpreted it as the end of the first world war in 1914, but at the end, we perceive a severe disappointment from the voice, claiming that the war hadn’t ended quite yet. We understand this in the last stanza when it says:
“My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away … O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless;
the singing will never be done.”
We believe that the voice refers to the treaty of versailles, when the allies were very harsh on Germany, there were many people that disagreed with the big three end were very afraid of the second world war.