Presentation on theme: "Wilfred Owen. In todays lesson we will... Read and study Owens poem Dulce et Decorum Est. Talk about poetic techniques. Think about the context of the."— Presentation transcript:
In todays lesson we will... Read and study Owens poem Dulce et Decorum Est. Talk about poetic techniques. Think about the context of the poem.
Enthusiastic response to war and volunteering at first. Propaganda – posters and war movies. A wish for glory and adventure. Patriotism But then... Disillusionment Heavy number of casualties. Conscription An end to the illusion that problems could be solved peacefully.
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. If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware…. (from war sonnets- sonnet V. the soldier) Rupert Brook
England, in this great fight to which you go Because, where Honour calls you, go you must, Be glad, whatever comes, at least to know You have your quarrel just. Owen Seaman
Since ancient times it has been considered heroic to die in war. Homers epic poem The Illiad celebrates, among other things, the nobility of dying on the battlefield. This view continued well into the 19th Century (and even the 20th Century), and Tennysons 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 ones country:
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volleyd and thunderd; When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wonderd. Honour the charge they made! Honour the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred These lines by Tennyson may be well written and rousing, but they are not very realistic.
Poets such as Sassoon and Owen changed all that with their efforts to give us an accurate representation of trench warfare.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, it was no longer possible to pretend warfare was adventurous and heroic.
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs And towards our distant rest began to trudge. Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind; Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots Of tired, outstripped Five Nines that dropped behind.
GAS! Gas! Quick, boys! An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And floundering like a man in fire or lime. 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.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his face, His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, My friend, 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.
The theme of Dulce et Decorum est is that there is neither nobility in war, nor honour in fighting for your country. Instead there is tragedy, futility and waste of human life.
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, it was no longer possible to pretend warfare was adventurous and heroic. Instead Owen recorded in his poetry how shocking modern warfare was and he sought to describe accurately what the conditions were like for soldiers at the Front
Owen wanted people who were not in the trenches – the people at home in England – to see the reality and misery of war. 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 ones country.). It is worth noting that these lines were written by the poet Horace, two thousand years earlier.
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". Pick out all the other words ("imagery") from section 1 which could also be used to describe beggars. Effect. Given that the soldiers are probably very young men, what does the imagery mentioned above suggest about them?
The poem is built around 3 powerful and disturbing images. A group of soldiers moves through no-mans 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.
Look at all the punctuation in section 1. There are a large number of commas and full stops in the middle of lines. What do they do to the pace and rhythm of the lines? Effect. 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". How does the sound of these words give a better idea of the scene?
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.
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, Owen uses capital letters when writing GAS! How does this suggest the mens reaction?
Look at the last 2 lines. Owen uses an image to describe how the gassed man looks to the narrator. Explain this image literally. 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?
The second image (found in the second stanza) is more dramatic. Notice how the first words of the stanza change the pace of the poem, making it more urgent as the soldiers come under attack and try to put on their gas masks before they choke. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; The poet manages to get his mask on.
The last two lines of this stanza change pace again. They have an almost dreamlike quality as the poet watches from behind his gas mask. As the thick green smoke washes over the men, the poet uses a striking simile of the sea to describe the gas. But one man fumbles with his mask and is overcome by the fumes and drowns in the sea of thick smoke. NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNIQUES TABLE.
In this short section, Owen is no longer telling the story. What is he talking about? Word choice. 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?
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. Given that human life is often described as a flame, how is this appropriate to the gassed soldier? NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNQUES TABLE.
What happens in this section? The narrator starts talking to us. He tries to describe the scene to us. What does he achieve by using the word flung in line 2? What effect is he trying to achieve by the following vocabulary? writhing, blood, gargling, froth- corrupted, bitter, vile, incurable, sores? Contrast: look at the motto (written by the Roman poet Horace) at the end of the poem. How do you think this seems in the light of your answer to the previous question?
Read the whole of section 4 again. Sum-up what the poet is saying to us. Show how his use of vocabulary and contrast reinforces this idea. NOW COMPLETE YOUR TECHNIQUES TABLE.
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 soldiers death was prolonged and agonizing ?
Essay Question Analyse the techniques used by Wilfred Owen in Dulce et Decorum est to make the poem more vivid and meaningful.