Poetry Analysis Charles Reis Poem 11 Introduction: This poem seems to be referencing razor wire that could be found

strewn about “No man’s land” between trenches during WWI. In WWI the warfare tactics had not yet fully evolved from the full army charges of the revolutionary war but technology had evolved. Machine guns, artillery, longer range rifles, chemical weapons, and—as alluded to on this poem— razor wire made a battlefield more deadly than the world had ever seen, especially with outdated tactics like line charges which left men with a small chance of survival. Wilfred Owen seems to reference razor wire throughout this poem. He seems to be talking of the surreal horror of no man’s land and the treachery of the wire. Some devices he uses are personification, diction, patterns, imagery, symbolism, simile, and metaphor. This poem has an ominous and surreal feeling about it, grotesque in nature, due to the author’s use of personification, diction, imagery, simile, symbolism, and patterns.

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Body: The use of certain diction in this poem adds to its surreal and ominous nature. o “From gloom’s last dregs these long-strung creatures crept”  The specific diction used here –gloom’s and crept— has a very distinct meaning. Gloom has the obvious meaning of being gloomy: a very sad aura. Dregs is interesting too just as choice of word. Meaning rubbish or something thrown away, trash, it is interesting that this particular word was used. The most interesting use of diction in my opinion is the use of crept. Crept has very ominous connotations and the use of this here adds a great deal to overall tone of the poem; creatures crept is very scary. The use of symbolism allows for some horrifying comparisons. o “There moved thin caterpillars, slowly uncoiled”  Here the caterpillar is actually representing the razor wire. The description of this “creature” throughout the poem supports that Owen is referring to this coiled wire strewn about no man’s land and in front of trenches to stop oncoming forces. The razor wire itself also seems to be a symbol though, a symbol of fear as can be concluded from the line “…terror what that sight might mean…” The use of simile portrays a sense of hopelessness in the poem o “ …I reeled and shivered earthward like a feather.”  The author is clearly trying to appeal to the sympathetic nature of the reader. He describes a situation in which the speaker is so hopeless as to the

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where they writhed and shriveled. thus they contribute to this poem’s gloom. Conclusion: This poems surreal. Another way to look at this is the speaker is experiencing so much fear from the environment he imagines the razor wire moving in a serpentine fashion. o “with death”. in my opinion. symbolism. killed. simile. another was sadness. None of these patterns are very bright in nature. I see a gray landscape with razor wire creatures crawling from craters to holes eating men and I can imagine the speaker shriveling into a crater trying to hide from this horror. a gruesome fog of war environment. gloomy. one pattern was death. The patterns used in this poem are very sullen as well. is the integral component in the ominous nature of this poem o “…Of ditches. The main purpose of these devices is to create an environment best describing the environment the speaker is in. diction. and patterns.”  These verbs are describing razor wire. and ominous tone is underscored by six main literary factors. Personification. imagery. The effect of all this is a horrifying image for the reader. o “…Gray. a weapon that does not move of its own accord. cratered like the moon with hollow woe…”  This descriptive imagery is used throughout the poem to provide a literal sense of the landscape. Gray is a common component in the imagery of this poem as gray is a color very empty of any positive emotion and also a very good color to describe the fog of war.”Death fell” etc. the third was imagery of a creature.- - - outcome of events he wants to be as small as possible and just sink into the ground. These factors are personification.  There were four distinct and significant patterns.”killed”. The imagery creates a great mental image of the environment in which he speaker finds himself. thus it can assumed that this movement is used by the author to create a surreal environment. This is a very ominous and surreal image in my mind. . This supports the typical view of no man’s land as being riddled with craters from artillery fire. and the last was terror. As shown above. As a reader it is easy to sympathize for the speaker.

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