Presentation on theme: "Stanza 1 Meaning: Stanza 1 begins with a description of the shocking condition of a group of soldiers retreating from the battle field. The detail used."— Presentation transcript:
Stanza 1 Meaning: Stanza 1 begins with a description of the shocking condition of a group of soldiers retreating from the battle field. The detail used to describe the men’s wretched state is in marked contrast to the glorified image of war suggested by the title.The men are so exhausted they fail to notice a gas shell falling close by. Note how the description of the men builds to suggest how they have been totally degraded and demoralised by war. Style: Stanza 1 is heavily punctuated, slowing the pace of the opening of the poem to suggest the slow, staggering movements of the tired soldiers.
Stanza 1 Analysis 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. Dramatic opening through use of power visual image Simile undermines stereotypes image of soldiers as young and fit suggests they are filthy and weak Alliteration for emphasis, a hard, staccato sound to echo the harsh mood of theses lines Simile conveys how men have become unrecognisable, their masculinity and youth destroyed Onomatopoeia implies how heavy and difficult the ground is to cross Personification suggests death is hunting the men, it is a constant presence wherever they go Word choice emphasises how exhausted The men feel
Stanza 1 Analysis 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 gas-shells dropping softly behind. Metaphor conveys the men’s exhaustion, they are so tired they are barely aware of what they’re doing The poor physical state of the men is clear, their feet are caked in mud and blood Repetition emphasises every man suffered Metaphor suggests how the men are so weary they are staggering and uncoordinated Onomatopoeia suggest a warning sound but also that the shells are mocking the men
Stanza 2 Analysis Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! — An ecstasy of fumbling Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time, But someone still was yelling out and stumbling And flound'ring 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. Series of short exclamations conveys panic- a sudden contrast to verse 1 Transferred epithet conveys how the men struggle to put on their gas masks in time Word choice tells us how the man is thrashing about in agony Simile emphasises the pain the man is in- as if he was being burned alive.The image also has connotations of hell Reader sees event from Owen’s perspective -makes poem more immediate and emotive An extended metaphor describes the man choking to death- unable to breathe, he falls about
Stanza 3 Analysis Stanza 3 is structured as 2 lines only. This indicates a shift in time as the narrator relates how many years after the war he still recalls this traumatic event. This emphasizes how the impact of war is felt for many years, and many generations. In all my dreams before my helpless sight He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. Conveys a sense of guilt that he can do nothing to help his friend These words continue the metaphor introduced in Stanza 2 and helps us picture the man falling about, desperately trying to draw breath. ‘Guttering’ refers to a candle spitting before it goes out, suggesting coughing and spluttering and symbolising the young man’s life being extinguished Onomatopoeia imitates the soldier’s attempts to draw breath
Stanza 4 Meaning and tone: In Stanza 4 the poet changes his narrative perspective as he addresses the reader directly. We are asked to consider our personal response to the atrocities of war and confront the deceit and hypocrisy of pro war propaganda. The tone in the final lines is bitter and angry. Owen uses the patriotic slogan in darkly ironic way to expose the dishonesty of romanticised portrayals of war in light of the horrific account of soldiers experiences he has described.
Stanza 4 Analysis 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 Bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, — Directly addresses reader.‘Pace behind’ suggests funeral procession Emotive word choice implies soldiers are treated with no respect as if disposable Alliteration emphasises the hideous sight of the man suffering Simile conveys how even Satan would be disgusted by this sight Word choice suggests sudden movement- implies pain the man suffers Contrast in this simile highlights how youth and innocence are destroyed by war
Stanza 4 Analysis 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. This means great enthusiasm Owen here directly refers to propaganda that portrays war as a heroic adventure Owen ends the poem with a damning criticism of war and those who support it. He makes it clear that anyone who knew the truth of war could not view it as war as an act of heroic patriotism Repetition of title makes us reconsider our attitude to war in light of what the poem has revealed