Exposure by Wilfred Owen

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  • Exposure by Wilfred Owen
    • Context
      • Wilfred Owen, 1893- 4th November 1918, solider in WW1
        • Treated for PTSD in 1917/1918 at Craiglockhart, Edinburgh where he met Sassoon.
      • ""holes/into grassier ditches"- references to the trenches they were fighting in and from.
      • "the wire like twitching agonies of men among its brambles" - Barbed wire strung between the two sides in the area known as No Man's Land.
    • Language
      • Present Tense- "knive us"- creates immediacy and contributes to the sense of it all never-ending
      • Assonance- ""slowly our ghosts drag home"
      • Rhetorical Question "What are we doing here?"
      • repetition - "but noting happens"
      • tripartite listing - "war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy"
        • "On child, or field or fruit"
      • Personification - "pale flakes with ********* stealth come feeling for our faces" - snow is seen in a sinister way highlighting its invasive and personal attack
      • metaphor
        • "all their eyes are ice"
        • "low drooping flares" - for soldiers themselves
      • sibilance- "Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence" - makes bullets sound soft, reducing the threat
      • personification- "ranks on ranks of shivering grey" - weather compares it to the beleaguered army.
    • Form and Structure
      • Viewpoint- "Our"- Written as all the soldiers, showing it isn't just one individual's opinion or experience.
      • Structure  "littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses" movement of time from winter to spring./thaw but no change in the soldier's expereiences.
      • form: use of near-rhyme, a refrain-like repetition. hissing sibilance and discordant alliteration echo the themes of misery and fear of dying from exposure.
    • Theme
      • "Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army"- Dawn usually beautiful and benign in literature, is here seen as the enemy.
      • "Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow" The environment and weather seem more of a threat than the war at this point.
      • "some other war" The presentation of war seems unreal, as the soldiers are so entrenched in their immediate physical suffering and unable to connect to anything else.
      • "innocent mice"- Nature has taken over their homes as well as attacking them on the battlefield.
      • "Therefore were born, for love of God seems dying"- Soldiers have lost all hope and accept what they see as their fate.
      • "the mud and us" - Soldiers have become part of the landscape along with the "mud".


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