The Send-off and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
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The Send-off and Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen
"The Send-off" and "Dulce et Decorum Est" are two poems, both written
by the anti-war poet Wilfred Owen.
Wilfred Owen was born in England in 1893. He was the son of a railway
man who was not very rich, so because of financial hardships he moved
to France. When he was in France the First World War began (1914).
This meant that he got involved in the war and during the war he
sustained a severe head injury, which led him to suffer the rest of
his life in hospital.
During the stay at the hospital he started to write poems about war.
He became an anti-war poet because he witnessed the reality and the
suffering of war. Owen wanted to show the world how ruthless war was
through his emotional poems. The injuries he sustained during the war
finally killed him in 1917 at the age of just 24.
Owen wanted show young men that war wasn't all about honour and glory,
but that the true reality of war was death and destruction. He used
his own experiences of fighting to write about the horrors of war in
many of his poems.
"The Send-off" and "Dulce et Decorum Est" are both about soldiers in
the First World War. "The Send-off" is an ironic poem that deals with
the lack of respect given to the young men heading for the front
lines, whereas "Dulce et Decorum Est" talks about the horrors and
realities of war.
"The Send-off" is a poem in which the poet expresses his disgust at
the lack of respect the soldiers were given. The poem rhymes in an A,
C, D and B, E pattern and contains 6 verses; 2 containing 5 stanzas, 2
containing 3 stanzas and another 2 containing 2 more stanzas.
The poem starts off with cheerful soldiers, singing their way to board
"the train with faces so grimly gay". This oxymoron gives us an
indication of how the soldiers were excited yet unhappy that there
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wasn't anybody to see them off.
In the second verse the poet immediately brings home to us the reality
of war by comparing the soldiers' chest "all white with wreath and
spray" to the chest of "men's are, dead", thus insisting that the
soldiers are walking into a death-trap.
In the next verse, Wilfred Owen tells us about the lack of respect the
soldiers were given by informing us that only "Dull porters" and "a
casual tramp" were at the station to see off the soldiers. To
emphasise this, Wilfred Owen brings in personification as "signals
nodded and a lamp winked to the guard".
Owen continues to tell us of the disrespect given to soldiers in the
next verse when he tells us about the secrecy in which the soldiers
had to leave as if they were wrongdoers, "So secretly, like wrongs
hushed up, they went".
In the final verse the poet asks the question whether the soldiers
will be welcomed back "to beatings of great bells in wild train
loads?". The poet then answers the question himself by telling us that
only "A few, a few, too few" soldiers "may creep back, silent to
village wells up half known roads".
In this last verse the poet expresses his sadness at the neglect of
the soldiers, who have shed blood for their country, by their own
"Dulce et Decorum Est" is a poem in which Wilfred Owen tells to us of
the frightening realities of war. He uses his own experience to give
us the point of view of a soldier on the battlefield. On the one hand
this poem describes a horrific battlefield incident and on the other
it is an argument attacking the belief in patriotism and martyrdom. In
this poem Owen uses several similes to intensify the horror of the
attack in trying to convince the reader of his pacifistic views.
Another reason that this poem works so powerfully is because Owen
seems to be speaking very directly to you.
The poem rhymes in a simple A, C and B, D pattern and contains 4
verses each with a different number of stanzas.
The Latin title itself is very ironic as it means 'It is sweet and
honourable' even though the whole poem deals with the pain and
suffering of soldiers.
The poem starts off in a battlefield where soldiers are retreating.
The soldiers are "Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags". This makes us think of illness,
weakness, old age, tramps etc not like soldiers at all. Wilfred Owen
uses these similes to show how weak and unprepared the soldiers are.
In the next few stanzas Owen tells us how "Men marched asleep" and
"Drunk with fatigue". The poet then increases the pace of the poem as
all of a sudden there were "gas shells dropping behind".
[IMAGE]In the next verse Owen makes us hear and see what is happening,
"Gas! Gas! Quick, boys An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy
helmets just in time". The poet then gives a vivid description of a
soldier "floundering like a man in fire or lime". He then gives us his
own view of "misty panes and thick green light, As under a green sea,
I saw him drowning." Here the poet compares the gas to a toxic sea to
exaggerate the horror.
In the next verse Owen describes the incident as a nightmare in which
he is powerless to help the soldier as he "plunges at me, guttering,
choking, drowning." Here Owen uses synonyms to create a powerful image
of a soldier dying.
Then in the next verse the poet brings the reader into the scene by
saying if "you too could pace behind the wagon that we flung him in",
indicating on the lack of honour and dignity that the dead soldier was
given. I think the poet uses this stanza to strike out against those
who believe that martyrdom on a battlefield was sweet and honourable,
as the title suggest.
The poet then tells us if we could "watch the white eyes writhing in
his face, his face hanging, like a devil's sick of sin." indicating
that instead of having a sweet and peaceful death, the soldier died a
sad and painful end.
Wilfred Owen then continues to tell us of the disgraceful death the
soldier has suffered by letting us hear "at every jolt, the blood come
gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, bitter as the cud". This
creates a revolting image and an image that isn't associated with a
normal persons death let alone the death of a brave soldier. Owen then
continues with his description "Of vile, incurable sores on innocent
tongues," emphasises on his point that the soldier's death was
undignified and honourless.
Owen finishes off the poem by telling us, especially those of us who
believe in patriotism and martyrdom, that if we were witnessing these
incidents then we would not "tell with such high zest â€¦ the old lie:
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori" which means 'It is sweet and
honourable to die for ones country'.
The themes of both the poems are war and both are anti-war. They both
argue that war isn't about honour and respect but of pain and
Owen uses the poem "Dulce at Decorum Est" to show us the horrific
graphical images of war and to convey to us the reality of war. I
think Owen uses "The Send-off" to attack those who have disregard for
the brave soldiers, who risk their own lives for their nation.
In "Dulce et Decorum Est" the pace is really fast and the reader gets
a clear image of what is going on due to the way Wilfred Owen
expresses the horrific images through metaphors and similes. "The
Send-off" on the other hand has a much slower pace and nothing really
seems to happen.
"Dulce et Decorum Est" is set on a battlefield where soldiers are
retreating whereas "The Send-off" is set in a train station where
young soldiers are heading for the front lines.
In "Dulce et Decorum Est" the poet uses far more powerful words and
gives a much more stronger message than "The Send-off", in which there
is a much more calmer atmosphere.
Out of the two, my favourite is "Dulce et Decorum Est" because it
contains the use of powerful language and conveys a strong message.
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The Send-off Analysis
Author:Poetry of Wilfred OwenType:PoetryViews: 1840
Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way
To the siding-shed,
And lined the train with faces grimly gay.
Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray
As men's are, dead.
Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp
Stood staring hard,
Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.
Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.
So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.
They were not ours:
We never heard to which front these were sent.
Nor there if they yet mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.
Shall they return to beatings of great bells
In wild trainloads?
A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,
May creep back, silent, to still village wells
Up half-known roads.
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