Biography and Literary Style Characteristics of Wilfred Owen

Published: 2021-09-14 21:05:10
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English poet and soldier Wilfred Owen is renowned for his revealing poems which depict war as a lonely, dehumanising and physiologically traumatising place to endure. The authors main focus was to reverse the admirable view on war and exploit the harsh reality it holds in hopes to refrain his family and others to participate, challenging the idea of war as being honourable. Owen uses language techniques which explore the themes of human experience in order to invite readers into another world, broadening understanding of human experiences of loss, ignorance, hopelessness, in war. Wilfred’s poem, ‘Dulce et decorum est’, perfectly presents how literary techniques can show us the different aspects of the human experience in relation to loss and misleading thoughts. ‘The Next War’ does not fail to achieve Owens distinctive goal of providing us with insight on the devastating affects of war to add to our understanding of human experiences.
Wilfred Owen uses distinctively visual techniques to confront the responder with the horrific reality soldiers faced, revealing an unfamiliar world and enhancing understanding of loss. In the poem ‘Dulce et decorum est’, it reads “Dim through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning. In all my dreams before my helpless sight he plunges at me, guttering choking, drowning.”. A predominant technique used here is metaphor using colour as it’s ally, Owen used this to enable the readers ability to relate by taking something common and peaceful and juxtaposing this image of a green sea showing its inescapable abilities (causing death). Pace and detached tone turned into disappointment as their fellow soldier suffers. Descriptive language and unrelenting detail in the words “guttering, choking, downing”, shows transparent imagery as nothing is left to the imagination. Wilfred used these techniques to show how all the loss of their humanity, pride and normalcy along with hardship endured in war is real which can help us further visualise their life and expand our knowledge of loss in the human experience. Because Wilfred Owen included such intricate techniques that enable us to engage with the writing, we are encouraged to visualise experiences and emotions, leading us to perceiving a deeper understanding of the human experience.Owen uses diverse techniques to advance our understanding into the human experience of hopelessness as life can be taken at any time and open other worlds. ‘The Next War’, reads “out there we walked quite friendly up to death, sat down and eaten with him, cool and bland”. Owen used personification to portray death as a physical figure in the form of a friend to the soldiers, he used imagery to create familiar settings and actions with “sat down and eaten with him” so the reader can visualise the situation. Wilfred also used a melancholy tone to show how they are desensitised to the horrific condition of war. Through the use of these techniques, Owen presents a situation in which we can see death as an “old chum”, and is embraced throughout the soldiers at war which shows us the hopelessness aspect of the human experience to the degree that death is no longer feared upon but is rather defeated to its power. Wilfred allowed readers to visualise and place ourselves in that setting of war therefore broadening our understanding of the human experience of hopelessness and death.
Through the use of visual and linguistic techniques Wilfred Owen shows us his world of the cruel, unforgiving and dehumanising reality of war. The title itself ‘Dulce et decorum est” uses sarcasm to show its falseness as it means it is honourable to die for ones country, the title is also reiterated at the end of the poem to show the contradiction between its meaning and wars sad reality. “Drunk with fatigue” uses metaphor and emotive language to confront the readers with the extent of internal tiredness the soldiers experience from war, and words such as “Beggars, knock kneed and hags”. Alliteration is used, and negative connotation to create a confronting tone over the poem. Owen’s use of vivid techniques that correlate are used to reinstate that war is unlike what is is said to be, Wilfred attempts to create a theoretical illusion of what war was said to be versus what is was for his responders to amplify on misleading ides of war. In Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et decorum est’, containing convoluted images that are confronting and challenges preconceived ideas of was as glorious and sweet.
Another human experience exposed is ignorance in all forms; others, yourself and the world. Initially we are able to see Wilfred’s own ignorance when it comes to his intentions of enlisting war as he is also under the impression of it being an honourable task, he uses idiosyncratic techniques to engage the responders attention and encourage them to visually apprehend what they are reading about ignorance. Detailed techniques are used in the poem ‘The Next War’, in the quotes “ We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe” Owen used personification and oxymoron to show the ignorance surrounding soldiers with their relationship with death. “No soldier is paid to kick against death, we laughed knowing that better men would come” included a light hearted tone used to show us the ignorance as a result of confusions surrounding death. The title “The next war” is prophetic to show the readers the extent of ignorance between nations to the point that it will reoccur despite its consequences and their affects. Owen used these techniques to persuade the responder to understand ignorance. Thus the readers can envisage his world and understand the consequences of ignorance.
It is made apparent that the English poet uses distinctive techniques such as juxtaposition, irony, metaphors, etc to invite his readers into an alternate world and broaden our understanding of human experience, in this case very much surrounding experiences of loss, ignorance, death and hopelessness. Owens’s goal of confessing wars brutality is achieved in each poem, ‘Dulce et decorum est’ and ‘The next war’. Both poems transports readers into a world of war, and shows how the soldiers were feeling abused, neglected and saddened, how they were treated and their experiences of war which challenges readers into a new and confronting understanding of theses human experiences.

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