Wilfred Owen

 In

today’s lesson we will...

 Read

and study Owen’s poem ‘Dulce
et Decorum Est’.
 Talk about poetic techniques.
 Think about the context of the poem.

 A wish for glory and adventure.Enthusiastic response to war and volunteering at first.  Propaganda – posters and war movies.   ...  Conscription  An end to the illusion that problems could be solved peacefully.  Patriotism  But then.  Disillusionment Heavy number of casualties.

think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. shaped. made aware…. Rupert Brook •If I should die. Romantic sense of patriotic duty. His war sonnets were written in the first flush of patriotism and enthusiasm as a generation unused to war rushed to defend king and country. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed. the .sonnet V. (from war sonnets. A dust whom England bore.

at least to know You have your quarrel just. Owen Seaman . where Honour calls you. whatever comes. go you must.England. in this great fight to which you go Because. Be glad.

 Homer’s epic poem The Illiad celebrates. Since ancient times it has been considered heroic to die in war. the nobility of dying on the battlefield.  This view continued well into the 19th Century (and even the 20th Century). and Tennyson’s popular poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ gives us an idea of how poets and people in general thought about the “valour” of fighting and dying for one’s country: . among other things.

Cannon behind them Volley’d and thunder’d. but they are not very .Cannon to right of them. When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonder’d. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade. Noble six hundred These lines by Tennyson may be well written and rousing. Cannon to left of them.

it was no longer possible to pretend warfare was adventurous and heroic. Poets such as Sassoon and Owen changed all that with their efforts to give us an accurate representation of trench warfare.  Wilfred Owen fought in some of the major battles of World War I and the reality and horror of war shocked him.  In the face of the desperate suffering he saw around him. .

we cursed through sludge. coughing like hags.Bent double. Drunk with fatigue. deaf even to the hoots Of tired. . Many had lost their boots But limped on. like old beggars under sacks. blood-shod. All went lame. Men marched asleep. Knock-kneed. Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. outstripped Five Nines that dropped behind. all blind.

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time. I saw him drowning. boys! An ecstasy of fumbling. guttering. through the misty panes and thick green light As under a green sea. before my helpless sight. But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime. In all my dreams. . drowning. Dim. He plunges at me. choking.GAS! Gas! Quick.

His hanging face. bitter as the cud Of vile.If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in. My friend. like a devil's sick of sin. Obscene as cancer. If you could hear. incurable sores on innocent tongues. . you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory. The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori. And watch the white eyes writhing in his face. at every jolt. the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs.

. futility and waste of human life. nor honour in fighting for your country.  Instead there is tragedy.Theme  The theme of ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ is that  there is neither nobility in war.

and he sought to describe accurately what the conditions were like for soldiers at the Front .Theme  Wilfred Owen fought in some of the major battles of World War I and the reality and horror of war shocked him. it was no longer possible to pretend Instead Owen recorded in his poetry how shocking modern warfare was warfare was adventurous and heroic.  In the face of the desperate suffering he saw around him.

 . two thousand years earlier.  It is worth noting that these lines were written by the poet Horace.  He also wanted them to stop telling future generations the “old lie” Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.Theme Owen wanted people who were not in the trenches – the people at home in England – to see the reality and misery of war.”).

what does the imagery mentioned above suggest about them?  . Given that the soldiers are probably very young men. Pick out all the other words ("imagery") from section 1 which could also be used to describe beggars.  Effect.Techniques and Effect – lines 1-8 What is actually happening in this section of the poem?  Why is it important to the theme of the poem that the soldiers are marching away from the fighting?  Owen uses a simile to describe the soldiers"like old beggars".

.  A group of soldiers moves through noman’s land in an attempt to get back to the relative safety of the trenches.  Owen wants us to imagine what it was like in the trenches – to see the detail and reality of dying in such a place.Lines 1-8  The poem is built around 3 powerful and disturbing images.

There are a large number of commas and full stops in the middle of lines. How does the sound of these words give a better idea of the scene? . What do they do to the pace and rhythm of the lines?  Effect.Techniques and Effect – lines 1-8  Look at all the punctuation in section 1. How do the pace and rhythm of the lines reflect how the men are moving?  Sound effects: the writer uses sludge and trudge instead of "mud" and "walk".

Lines 1-8 Sound effects 2: look at all the s sounds in the last 2 lines. Write them down.  .  What sound do they imitate? What do we call this?  Word association: many of the men have lost their boots and are "blood-shod": what does this mean?  What two similar words does "blood-shod" resemble?  What does this suggest about what the men have been through?  NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNIQUES TABLE.

Owen uses capital letters when writing GAS! How does this suggest the men’s reaction? .Section 2  What happens in this section?  There is much less punctuation in this section. What effect does this have on the pace and rhythm of the lines?  How does the pace and rhythm of the lines reflect what is happening in this section?  At the beginning of the section.

 What simile does the poet use to suggest what the scene appeared like to the narrator?  Why is this simile appropriate in the light of what is happening to the gassed man? . Owen uses an image to describe how the gassed man looks to the narrator.Section 2  Look at the last 2 lines. Explain this image literally.

 .  The poet manages to get his mask on.  Gas! GAS! Quick. making it more urgent as the soldiers come under attack and try to put on their gas masks before they choke.Section 2 The second image (found in the second stanza) is more dramatic. Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time.  Notice how the first words of the stanza change the pace of the poem. boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling.

 .  They have an almost dreamlike quality as the poet watches from behind his gas mask.  As the thick green smoke washes over the men.  But one man fumbles with his mask and is overcome by the fumes and “drowns” in the sea of thick smoke.Section 2 The last two lines of this stanza change pace again. the poet uses a striking simile of the sea to describe the gas.  NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNIQUES TABLE.

Another technique the poet uses again is employing words that have a number of different associations or possible meanings.  Plunges: what kind of dream is suggested here? How does plunges relate to the image at the end of section 2? . What is he talking about?  Word choice.Section 3  In this short section. Owen is no longer telling the story.

Given that human life is often described as a flame.Section 3  Guttering: guttering resembles guttural which means to do with the throat. . How does this relate to the noises the gassed man might be making?  Guttering is normally used to describe a flame on the point of being blown out. how is this appropriate to the gassed soldier?  NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNQUES TABLE.

gargling. What does he achieve by using the word flung in line 2?  What effect is he trying to achieve by the following vocabulary? writhing. How do you think this seems in the light of your answer to the previous question?   . froth-corrupted. blood.Section 4 What happens in this section? The narrator starts talking to us. He tries to describe the scene to us. sores?  Contrast: look at the motto (written by the Roman poet Horace) at the end of the poem. bitter. incurable. vile.

Sum-up what the poet is saying to us.  NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNIQUES TABLE.SECTION 4  Read the whole of section 4 again. Show how his use of vocabulary and contrast reinforces this idea. .

Dulce et Decorum Est  The motto is ironic. How is this so in the light of the following:  they are marching away from the fighting  the gas-shells were fired from a long way away  the soldier’s death was prolonged and agonizing ? .

Dulce Et Decorum Est  Essay Question  Analyse the techniques used by Wilfred Owen in ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ to make the poem more vivid and meaningful. .