Wilfred Owen was born in Plas Wilmot, Owestry on the 18th March 1893. His family moved Birkenhead in 1897 and then Shrewsbury. He then became a lay assistant in 1913 at the age of 18, and he also spent time tutoring English in France in the same year. In 1916 he was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment, and he fought many battles in the Somme. He was killed in action on the 4th November 1918. He wrote about the harsh reality of war and the pity of war, and these views were evident in “Disabled”. Rupert Brooke was born in 1887, in Rugby, Warwickshire. He won a poetry prize in 1905. He was well educated and travelled before going to was.
He joined the British Royal Navy during the First World War and he died in Greece from septicaemia on the 23rd of April 1915. He was well known for writing poetry about friendship, romanticism and patriotism. Patriotism is very evident in “The Soldier”. The poem “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen is about a young man who lost his arms and legs in the war. He thought that war would gain him glory, but he only gained misery and isolation. Furthermore the title “Disabled” is emotive, it makes the reader feel negatively towards the poem from the beginning. Verse one reveals that he is confined to a wheelchair and he lives in a hospital.
Wilfred Owen’s Disabled
There is a very ugly atmosphere of misery and tragedy in this verse, created by the colours and sounds mentioned. Sounds such as “voices of boys rang”, represents what he will never be and what he has lost. The voices are a sad reminder of his former life, before he was injured in the war. The colour “grey” is mentioned too, which also creates a sad, miserable and bleak atmosphere and reflects the monotonous, boring life he has. Darkness is also mentioned in verse one, “waiting for dark”. This suggests he wants to hide his maimed body in the dark. Furthermore he wants to sleep eternally in the darkness; die and escape his life on unhappiness.
Personification is also found in the last line of verse one, “Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him”. Sleep is personified as his mother, protecting him from his terrible life; it helps him escape reality. Sleep and darkness and therefore connected – offering him a refuge. The first three lines of verse two are a contrast to verse one. They contrast with the mood of darkness as the first three lines are focused on light or happiness; “glow-lamps”, “gay” and “lovelier”. Furthermore the word “swing” in the first three lines of verse two contrasts with the word “sat” in verse one.
The word “sat” is motionless and lifeless, when compared to “swing” which represents movement and life. Therefore verse one shows the lifelessness of the soldier after the war and the first three lines of verse two reflects the soldier’s vibrancy before the war. Also the word “budded” is used in the first three lines of verse two, which symbolises new life and not lifelessness as suggested in verse one. Furthermore, the last four lines of verse two contrast with the first three lines of verse two, because they are about the soldier’s unhappiness. Whereas the first three lines are about the happy past that the young soldier remembers.
In the past girls looked at him with interest, “girls glanced lovelier”. The present brings him nothing but memories of the past, “Now he will never feel again how slim Girls’ waists are”. The poet also conveys his views of war when he writes, “he threw away his knees”. This suggests that the poet, Wilfred Owen, feels war is a waste and it is pointless. Furthermore it suggests that there is no glory in war. Verse three begins with the image of an artist who wanted to paint the soldier’s face because it looked so young before he went to war, “There was an artist silly for his face”. It then moves on to the present, “Now, he is old”.
This means the war has made the soldier feel old and it made him lose his youthful vitality. Another point that indicated the soldier has lost his youth is “He’s lost his colour”. Furthermore this could reflect the blood he lost in the war. “Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry” also links with the fact that he “poured” his vitality away in the war; “half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race” also reflects this. The last line of verse three “And leap of purple spurted from his thigh” is also symbolic purple, as the colour of mourning, which suggests the soldier mourns for the loss of his limbs, youth and vitality.
Verse four reveals his initial thoughts of what the army would be like and reveals the reasons why he joined. He joined to please his girlfriend “to please his Meg”. He liked the idea of jewelled hilts, smart salutes, the spirit and body of the army “Esprit de corps”, the drums and cheers he would receive and the idea of holidays and “leave”. There are many words in the last five lines which show that he loved the glamorous image of war: “jewelled”, “smart salutes”, pay arrears” and “cheers”. He didn’t consider the horrors of war he had no fears of joining the army, ” And no fears Of fear came yet”.
Verse four is very long to emphasise how many false, idealistic images of was the soldier entertained. It also emphasises how much the soldier lost in the war. Verse five is very short in contrast to the other verses in the poem. It is a short verse to represent what his life had been reduced to after the war. His many dreams and expectations in the long verse four are now reduced in verse five to reality. He got no cheers when he came back from the war. Only a “solemn man”, possibly a vicar, brought him fruit as thanks. The word “Thanked” is in italics, which could show how meaningless the thanks actually is.
It also suggests he received very little thanks. The last verse, verse six has a very depressing and pitiful mood. It particularly contrasts with verse four; he could once play football but now he cannot even put himself to bed. “The rules” suggests he no longer has freedom in life. He also feels rejected, “the women’s eyes passed from him”. “How cold and late”, represents isolation and depression.
The repetition at the end of the verse could emphasise how dependant he now is on other people. “Why don’t they come And put him to bed? Why don’t they come? ” The Soldier” by Rupert Brooke is about a man leaving to go to war. He is very patriotic and he is writing a poem for his family and friends to read if he should die at war. The poem is patriotic right from the very beginning. The title “The Soldier” creates a heroic and patriotic atmosphere. The first word is “If”-“If I should die”. This suggests that he might not die, he is optimistic. In the unlikely event he might die the soldier states that a corner of a foreign field will be “forever England”. This suggests that wherever he dies will always remain English because his English body will lie there.
The “Richer dust”, in the fourth line could be the remains of his body. He is glorifying his own body as “Richer” than the foreign soil because it is English and because he would die fighting for his country. The next few lines have personification featured within them. England is personified as a mother to emphasize the soldier’s pride in fighting for his glorious country like he loves his mother. “Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam”. This is similar to “Disabled” as “Disabled” also has the personification of a mother featured within it.
In line seven the soldier shows he feels he belongs to England, his country “a body of England’s”. He claims he is “washed by the rivers” and “blest by suns” which creates an idyllic in contrast to the harsh reality of war found in “Disabled”. In line nine an “evil” is mentioned. The evil could be his own sin or even the enemy nations in the war, which he optimistically believes, will be “shed away”. “Give somewhere back the thoughts by England given” and “pulse in the eternal mind” shows he will die for his country and he feels he has a sense of duty.
There are very positive words used at the end of the poem, such as “pulse”, “eternal”, “dreams”, “happy”, “laughter”, “friends”, “gentleness”, “peace” and “heaven” which reveal the soldier’s pride and justify his death- should it happen. “England” and “English are repeated six times within the poem which emphasizes patriotism. Even heaven is described as being English. “Disabled” has six verses varying length. They vary in length to signify different things, for example verse four is very long to signify all of the soldier’s hope and dreams.
There is no rigid rhyming structure, this may suggest that war is problematic; it cannot be put into a rigid structure. However, “The Soldier” is written in sonnet form. It had a military feel to it, created by iambic pentameters. This rigid rule of ten syllables per line gives the poem a strong, assured rhythm. Furthermore, “The Soldier” is written in the first person and “Disabled” is written in the third person The poet of “Disabled”, Wilfred Owen, wrote the poem to the message that war is pitiful. War is not glorified it is tragic and destructive.
It is a waste of people’s lives and it destroys their inner spirits. The message conveyed by the poet Rupert Brooke in “The Soldier”, is the opposite of the message conveyed in “Disabled”. The message he conveys is that fighting in the war is worthwhile. Furthermore, Brooke reveals it is one’s duty to fight for one’s country and it is a glorious thing to do. I preferred the poem “Disabled” because of its pure honesty. I like the way it shows the reality of war and does not celebrate the false ideas of glory and duty, found in “The Soldier”.