We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

How Wilfred Owen and Carol Ann Duffy Convey The Suffering of War Essay Sample

essay
  • Pages: 6
  • Word count: 1,423
  • Rewriting Possibility: 99% (excellent)
  • Category: war

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

Introduction of TOPIC

The two poems that I have chosen to compare and contrast are Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen and War Photographer by Carol Ann Duffy. These two poems were written over fifty years apart and yet still manage to convey a similar message, the unnecessary suffering to those involved in war and the ignorance of those who are not directly affected. I will look at how these two exceptional poets use different devises, including form, language, tone and imagery to take the reader through an emotional and enlightening journey.

Wilfred Owen’s poem was written in 1917 and describes his personal experiences during the First World War. He witnessed and experienced appalling atrocities and the reader is able to gain historical information and distressing images as he reads the poem. By using ‘I’ and ‘we’ to describe what is happening he brings the reader much closer to his thoughts and feelings. Owen’s use of the past tense heightens the reader’s sympathies by highlighting that the events are real.

This made me feel that Owen’s experiences and emotions were being shared directly with me. In contrast Carol Ann Duffy’s poem was written in the 1970’s and was based on conversations that she had with Don McCullin a famous photographer, whose war photographs were widely published and respected. Her poem is fictional and written about a war photographer alone in his darkroom. She uses ‘he’ and ‘his’ which enables the reader to relate to the overwhelming isolation and loneliness that the photographer is feeling. Duffy’s use of the present tense allows the events to gradually emerge and this makes them appear more realistic and shocking. When I read this poem I became aware that the feeling of isolation is essential to understanding the message of human ignorance and neglect.

Dulce Et Decorum Est has four stanza of varying length, this fluctuating form, and the changing lengths of the sentences reflect Owen’s changing mood as his emotions and circumstances alter. In stanza one the pace is very slow as the soldiers ‘trudge’ back in the ‘sludge’ and this is noticeable in the first four lines, the length of this sentence enables the pace of the poem to trudge along with them. In the second stanza, when pandemonium breaks out with the gas attack, the sentences become shorter and the punctuation more expressive, with the use of exclamation marks and a dash, which confirms the panic, confusion and rushing around, that broke out as the ‘boys!’ urgently fumbled with their ‘clumsy helmets’. In War Photographer the structure and length of each stanza remains constant throughout, and this regular form mirrors the environment and emotions of the photographer. It is controlled just like the photographer tries to control his pain and anger. It is containing, as the photographer is contained within his studio with his thoughts and feelings, and it is restricting, ‘He has a job to do’ and this does not allow him to become too emotionally involved.

The journey through Owen’s poem is very sensuous and this encourages the reader to experience the poem in greater depth. He uses onomatopoeic words like ‘gargling’, ‘guttering’ and ‘hoots’ to allow the reader to hear the unfolding events. You

can taste the bitterness as he describes the ‘corrupted lungs,’ as ‘ bitter as the

Sorry, but full essay samples are available only for registered users

Choose a Membership Plan
cud’ and smell the ‘flares’, ‘fire or lime’, leaving the reader in no doubt of the horror faced by those boys. Although Duffy does highlight some senses, the quietness in the darkroom is compared to ‘A priest preparing to intone a mass’; I felt the language used in her poem was not as sensuous. She was more implicit, using symbolic language with several meanings like ‘dust’, ‘solution’ and ‘ordered rows’, enabling the reader to make up their own mind about the many issues.

Both poems contain clear, powerful and disturbing imagery. Owen uses similes and metaphors to strengthen this imagery: ‘Bent double, like old beggars under sacks’, ‘Knock-kneed, coughing like hags’. These comparisons allow the reader to visualize the physical and mental change in the men, from the healthy young boys that set out for war, to being compared to old men unable to function properly. Duffy uses contrasting images of the horror in the war torn Country, ‘blood stained into foreign dust’, and the pathetic suffering in ‘Rural England’ that ‘simple weather can dispel’. She also uses images of children running through mine fields to bring out the readers protective instincts, making them feel guilty about the injustices being suffered by the innocent. The honesty of her images makes it difficult for the reader to ignore them, they manage to hit a raw nerve, but as she suggests in her poem this ‘prick’ of conscience will be just momentary.

The titles and endings of the two poems are completely different in their purpose and effect. Wilfred Owen’s title is ironic, the translation of it being, ‘It is sweet and right’. Throughout his poem he tells the story of how young men were destroyed and those that did survive would have to live with the ‘incurable sores on innocent tongues’: The memories of the horrendous sights and experiences that they had endured would remain with them for the rest of their lives.

He emphasizes this by ending the poem with the same quote but in an extended version, ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’, meaning ‘It is sweet and right to die for your country’ and this time he confirms it is a lie. Carol Ann Duffy’s title War Photographer appears to serve the purpose of indicating one of the main considerations in her poem, how could someone continue to visit dangerous places, putting themself at risk, to bring back photographs which have little affect on the rest of the population. The ending of the poem is somewhat ambiguous, it is unclear if she is referring to the war photographer starting out on a new assignment, or reflecting back on the completed one. Either way this makes it a circular poem, a closed ring, where nothing has or will change. The wars continue in foreign countries and people in England carry on with their normal lives. Therefore, the ending could quite easily be the beginning of this continuous cycle.

Both poems contain powerful anti-war messages that bring to light the appalling suffering of those involved in war. In Owen’s poem he focuses on the horror and injustice of war and the impact it had on the young soldiers who were being killed and destroyed by it. His anger is directed at the people in England who believed that there was honour in dying for your country and glamorised and glorified war encouraging innocent children ‘desperate’ for ‘glory’ to become a part of the evil and barbaric war that he so vividly describes in his poem. In Duffy’s poem she focus on the wider social implications of war, as well as the dying men she sympathizes with the suffering wife, and the children that are forced to live in this dangerous environment. She shows her bitterness at the attitude and lack of compassion of those living in England by contrasting the atrocities of war ‘a hundred agonies in black-and-white’ with the fickleness of people in ‘Rural England’; ‘eyeballs prick with tears between the bath and pre-lunch beers’ and then life goes on as normal.

Although these two poems are different in style, language and content, the underlying message contained within them is very similar. They both describe how remoteness of war leads to ignorance and misunderstanding, while the plight and suffering of innocent adults and children is neglected. I found Dulce Et Decorum Est the more disturbing and upsetting poem because it was based on true life experiences; but with modern weapons and propaganda, these are situations and circumstances that should not occur again. The poem War Photographer I could relate more to because it typifies people’s attitude and indifference to war today; out of sight, out of mind. Carol Ann Duffy is probably right in her analysis because although when reading her poem, I had enormous sympathy for those suffering in remote wars today, I will, like those mentioned in her poem, continue with my own life without giving them any further thought.

We can write a custom essay on

How Wilfred Owen and Carol Ann Duffy Convey The Su ...
According to Your Specific Requirements.

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

The Civil Rights Act and Reconstruction Act

The American Civil War and Reconstruction Era have caused a general and social change, most particularly for the African Americans in the South. The passing of the Civil Rights Act, Reconstruction Act, and the unwritten Compromise of 1877 to end Reconstruction was all a fight for the African Americans to gain their equality and freedom. The Civil War had entirely changed how Americans viewed their morals. During the American Civil War and Reconstruction period, continuity and change were constantly occurring through the legislations that the President and government were passing, along with the impact it had on the African Americans, and the southerners reaction to these new measures. One of the legislations that were passed by Congress that had impacted the African Americans and white southerners were the Civil Rights Act of 1866. The Civil Rights Act of 1866 purpose was to protect the Freedmen from the Black Codes and...

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood overview

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is based on the anxieties of the 1980’s impending nuclear war and the issues of gender and reproduction. Atwood portrays a dystopian society based in a republic called Gilead, which is run by a theocratic and misogynist dictatorship. The society distorts the hierarchy of its citizens from the modern world, to one that characterizes males as the ruling class, who oversee women in servant roles. Most of the women population of Gilead is infertile, while the women that still have the ability of child- bearing, live under sexual degradation as handmaids in the households of the Commanders that act as the ruling class. By using a feminist and Marxist viewpoint to analyze the novel, it magnifies the power that women have over themselves and others regardless of their suppression and to further the agenda of men. Due to economic factors, the Gileadean society is...

The hybrid threat of the Second Indochina...

The hybrid threat of the Second Indochina War significantly contributed to the unification of Vietnam and the only known loss to the United States of America. The combination of assistance from Communist allies to the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong, along with the tactics utilized, played a monumental role in defeating the Republic of South Vietnam and the U. S. These regular and irregular forces’ working together in conjunction of the aid rendered by China and the Soviet Union is an excellent example of a hybrid threat. The North Vietnamese Army (NVA) and the Viet Cong (VC) both shared mutual desires to Re-Unify Vietnam into one country and remove the western influence within their region. The NVA utilized conventional or regular military tactics when fighting a campaign. The VC were opposite of their counterparts in their approach to fighting. The VC utilized “guerilla warfare” or irregular tactics to fight. The...

Popular Essays

logo

Emma Taylor

online

Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?