Disabled and Dulce et Decorum est

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I find that ‘Disabled’ and ‘Dulce et Decorum est’ make me feel sympathy for the victims of war because: – Dulce describes the awful conditions that the soldiers are in; it describes the suffering that they’re going through. The second line sums this up pretty well: “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge”. The poem’s style is one of pity and despair. Owen makes you feel sorry for the victims of war, his style is to depict gruesome images, like “obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud”, cancer is in many cases an incurable disease, and cud is what cow’s chew on.

He creates a vivid sense of distress and despair in the front line. He’s trying to put others off being so hasty in signing up. The men are fatigued, they’re in pain, and they have to fight in sludge and mud. They’re all probably soaking wet and really uncomfortable. One line in the poem describes how the men are like the lowest they could be, “like old beggars under sacks”. He’s sarcastic over the way other poem’s almost ‘praise’ the war and how they seem to embrace and encourage it. He criticizes people like Jessie Pope by saying “my friend you would not tell with such high zest”.

He’s basically having a go at those who think the war is good and who glorify it. The men had to watch their friends die, yet they could do nothing to help them, or themselves due to the immense amount of fatigue they suffering from. “As under a green sea, I saw him drowning”. The men were subject to gas attacks, to illness and the one thing that tended to keep them going, their friends, were dying all around them and in front of them, yet they could do nothing to help. Comradeship tended to be the one thing that kept the men going on the front line.

The trouble was that their friends were simply dying all around them. Many of these men had gone into war because they felt it was the right thing to do, it is fitting and right to die for your country. That line sums up the poem. It’s ironic. Disabled makes me feel sorry for victims of war because the way the soldiers life had changed from being so good to so awful. The man was tricked into going into war. “He was told he’d look a god in kilts, that’s why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg” He was told that it was he should do, he was made to believe that it would look good to others.

He thought that people would cheer him when he came home like they cheered when he scored a goal, “some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheered goal”. But they didn’t. The cheers were full of sympathy, whereas he wanted passion. Women wouldn’t come near him and he knew that they probably wouldn’t again. All he wanted was to go to bed. You can tell that Owen is trying to show how much this young man regrets signing up. He gives a sense of being depressed, upset and lonely. (Which he shows by the line “and shivered in his ghastly suit of grey”.

Grey lacks colour and happiness). He can only wait for dark, “he sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark”. Owen tries to show how this could be the reader if they sign up. His aim is to try and, at least, make others think twice before they sign up to please ‘their Meg’. The last two lines of the poem show how desperate he was, “How cold and late it is! Why don’t they come and put him to bed? Why don’t they come? ” He is helpless, he needs somebody else to help him into bed, and he has nothing anymore. The man has been crippled, both physically and mentally.

The man wanted passion for his efforts, yet all he got was sympathy. It made him feel unwanted. A priest was the only person to thank him, yet he then “inquired about his soul”. He was pitied. The days felt never ending to him; he just wanted them to finish so he could get on with what seemed another pointless day. He hated his life. War had ruined his life forever. He joined up in the first place so that ‘Meg’ would be pleased. The hospital that he’s in has no personality, its dull and boring – like his life is now.

He feels rejected and left out, he wants to be someone, to be with someone, but because of the war he can’t. “Now he will never feel again how slim girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands; all of them touch him like some queer disease”. I find ‘Disabled’ more effective as it shows how one man is suffering greatly from the war. I feel sorry the person involved, as he has no life anymore. I also find ‘Dulce’ effective as it does show the main effects of war, but at the same time the person in disabled has had his life ruined, he has nothing anymore.

Both have the aim of trying to show the reader the ‘grossness’ of war and to try and discourage them from signing up. This is shown in disabled as the man has lost the use of his legs, if not his legs altogether, he has no life, and he has to do “what the rules consider wise”. Dulce shows the awful and disgusting conditions the soldiers had to endure. It tries to show the present conditions of the front line, whereas Disabled aims to show the awful and tragic effects the war may have on some. Both are effective in their aims, but both have an impact on the reader.

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