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Wenhao Liu

English Esaay

ENGLISH POLISHED ESSAY ---WENHAO LIU


QUESTION: 'The most influential texts are those that have an intense focuses
on extraordinary human experiences'. How has Owen explored extraordinary
human experiences? In your response make detailed reference to 'Dulce Et
Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'.
RESPONSE:
The extraordinary human experiences are captured by Wilfred Owen during his
short period of service during World War one through poetry. The poems 'Dulce
Et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' are two poems that intensely
focused on the experiences of the young soldiers in the battlefront, which
include human pain and suffering, human loss and the dehumanisation effect of
the war. Wilfred Owen conveyed these ideas of human experiences by the use of
a range of poetic devices and literary techniques such as irony, simile, extended
metaphor and juxtaposition. Through the use of such techniques allowed Owen
to emphasis his ideas and perspectives into the war.
The idea of human suffering was captured vividly in the lines of Wilfred Owen's
poem 'Dulce Et Decorum Est' through the excess use of simile and extended
metaphor throughout the poem, such as 'Bent double, like old beggars under
sacks', 'coughing like hags', 'like a devil's sick of sin'. The use of extended
metaphor and simile provides a visual image of the young soldier's suffering in
the trenches, it also allowed Owen to convey a sense of exasperation of fatigue
and exhaustion, which provides an opportunity for the audiences to gain insights
and perspectives into the harshness and cruelty of physical side of the
battlefield. The use of onomatopoeia such as 'sludge', and 'trudge' also implies
on the idea of human suffering by positioning the audience into the perspectives
of the soldiers.
Wilfred Owen also demonstrated a similar idea in the poem 'Anthem of
Doomed Youth', however this idea is presented psychologically and emotionally
in the form of remembrance of their physical self ; as compared to the physical
harshness of war in the poem 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'. This unique perspective
was further emphasised by the used of symbolic significance, biblical references
and juxtaposition. Which can be evident in the lines 'Their flowers the
tenderness of patient minds', 'And each slow dusk a drawing-down blinds', and
the title 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'. Owen's careful selection of words used in
the title gives the audiences a sense of promise and a song of praises as
evidenced by the word 'Anthem', however Owen used this title to contradict
with the content of the poem which allowed his to create a sense of discomfort
and distortion that confronts the audiences with the idea of human suffering. In
the last line 'And each slow dusk a drawing-down blinds', Owen uses symbolic
significance to convey his pity and sorrow toward to death of young soldiers by

Wenhao Liu

English Esaay

referencing the act of drawing down of blinds in the end of the day as the
closing ceremony for the end of their life, this allows Owen to create sympathy
and draws attention to the significance of their short ended journey of life.
Dehumanisation of war is an idea that Owen had focused into, which was can
be evidenced through the uses of extended metaphor and juxtaposition. Such as
'guttering, choking, drowning', and 'As under the green sea, I saw him drowning'
are examples of extended metaphor. The green smokes of toxic chemical
grenade are described as green sea, this allows Owen to bring the experiences to
life by describing the effect of toxic green smoke as unbreathable, suppressing
force. The word downing is the same line has a similar effect, this brings the
effect of the chemical grenade into everyday life events, which shocks the
audiences by the number of casualties in the battlefield, and also the
vulnerability of the young soldiers under chemical attack. 'Guttering, choking,
drowning' are emotionally charged words which are able to confront and
challenge the audience with horrific experiences of young soldiers in war which
better allows Owen to create the dehumanising effect of war.
Through the use of rhetorical questions, Wilfred Owen was able to question the
audiences whose responsibility it is to keep the soldiers alive, as contrasted to
lying dead beneath the soil of the battlefield, which is contrasted to the careless
order give by the authorities. 'What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?',
this sentence emphasis on Owen's anger and desperation for the soldiers who
scarified their lives for nothing and their bodies are left in the battlefield like
abandoned weapons. The phrase 'die as cattle' directly suggests Owen's
perspective into the war, this phrase contains double meanings one where young
soldiers are dehumanised and mechanised by being juxtaposed against cattle,
but secondly they are seen as valueless and more inferior races by the higher
chain of commends; where unreasonable orders are given to the soldiers without
consideration. This clever use of words also allows Owen to emphasis on the
mass killing on the battlefield.
Wilfred Owen had successfully portrayed the ideas of human pain, suffering and
the humanisation of war by describing first hand experiences of war, creating
distinctive scenes which brings this devastating, confronting experience of war
to life to the audiences both physically and psychologically, which will impact
on the audience and re-establishes their view to the war, although the war is a
controversial topic however through Wilfred Owen's unique perspective and
insights into the war by intensely focusing on the extraordinary human
experiences, he was able to make a strong statement for his own opinion toward
the war.