• “Drunk with fatigue” gives the reader the image of the soldiers immense tiredness and shows us that the soldiers have been walking and fighting for a long time and they are not in a good mental state. The contrasting word “drunk” usually depicts a time of ignorant bliss, compared to fatigue which is negative, the combination shows that the men are so tired they are not themselves anymore, which gives a feeling of hopelessness and despair.
  • “Blood shod” gives the reader the image of soldiers covered in their own blood and with others. The word “shod” (past tense for shoe) hints that they may be walking through the gore of dead bodies and have viscera over their boots, which gives the feeling that the horror lingers on even after the fighting occurred.
  • “An ecstasy of fumbling” gives the image of desperate soldiers trying to get masks on with shaking fingers. although the soldiers are tired, warning of danger quickly ushers them out of their trance like state, which shows they are still desperate to survive. Ecstasy is usually associated with happiness and joy, however in this sentence with the word fumbling it conveys the soldiers sudden motivation which could almost be seen as burst of joy compared to the slow and helpless trudging through the gore and mud. these words give a feeling of urgency and desperation.
  • “Incurable sores on innocent tongues” gives the image of soldiers dead on the battlefield. The word “incurable” describes the horrid sores inside the dead mans lungs and tongue but it may also reflect the physical and mental state that many of the soldiers are in. Wilfred Owen also describes the soldiers as innocent in this sentence

Language Techniques:

  • Simile “But someone was still yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime” I believe this technique was used to show the readers the pain that the soldier was going through by comparing it to being in fire or in lime, which is a chemical compound that burns through the body. The man was probably panicked and blinded by pain and thus began screaming.This made the reader understand that there is nothing they can do once a person is affected and gives a feeling of helplessness, It also shows how disturbed Wilfred Owen must have been when he witnessed this.
  • Repetition “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” This technique presses the idea of a man drowning on dry land into the readers mind and gives it a hellish and surreal perspective. It also shows how affected the writer is by this event by mentioning it again and again, almost like a nightmare or PTSD, which is also hinted when he says “in all my dreams before my helpless sight” Wilfred also repeats “I” or “my” often in this sentence which conveys to the readers that it was his experience and something he witnessed.
  • Symbolism “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 technique of symbolism is used in this sentence to convey the irony of this well known “glorious” line in the dark morbid context of Wilfred’s poem, making the saying sound ridiculous and wrong.

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Reading, Writing