Dulce Et Decorum Est Was A War Poem

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Did you know that 10 million soldiers died in the battles of World War I? Today I am discussing how the poems I have selected effectively communicate the representation of war through the power of language. Jessie Pope’s ‘Who’s for the Game?’, Wilfred Owen’s ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ and Jean Prussing’s ‘September 2, 1939’ are the three poems I will be discussing. The poem ‘Who’s for the Game?’ is used to recruit young men to fight in the war. Owen’s ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ is written about war violence and suffering. The title of Prussing’s ‘September 2, 1939’ reflects the date World War II began and when Hitler invaded Poland. The poets utilize multiple techniques to convey their ideas more effectively. The techniques used include rhetorical question, imagery, tone, rhythm, and metaphor.

Jessie Pope was a poet, writer, and journalist who wrote motivational poems published during World War I. Her poem ‘Who’s for the Game?’ was composed in 1924, written to persuade young men to enlist for war as if it were a game and full of glory, “Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played, the red crashing game of a fight?” Pope crafts her poem with an upbeat and happy tone, creating the idea that war is exciting and an experience that everyone should have. Through the use of rhetorical questions in the line “Who would much rather come back with a crutch than lie low and be out of the fun?,” the composer reinforces the idea of war being a source of entertainment. In addition, Pope suggests that men who refuse to go to war are cowards and are missing out on an exciting experience. Through the analysis of Owen’s ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’, we discover that his ideas contradict those that Pope portrays by exploring his personal experiences on the battlefields.

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Wilfred Owen was an English poet and soldier fighting in the trenches during World War I. The poem ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ was composed in 1917 in order to reveal to the reader the tragedies he experienced on the frontline. Owen explores his personal experience of fatigue and sudden gas attacks in the trenches in the quote “All went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue / Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!” Owen portrays his bitter emotions surrounding the topic of war to the audience in order to show that war has been glorified and that it should not be an event to be proud of. The composer goes on to show the trauma of war in his writing through the use of imagery “In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.” Readers can discover that Owen died a week before the ending of World War I on the Western Front, intensifying the sense of terror the poet communicated through his text.

Jean Prussing was an American poet, essayist, and author who was a poetry editor for Yankee Magazine. The title of her poem ‘September 2, 1939’ reflects the beginning of World War II, highlighting the day when Hitler invaded Poland in the quote ‘What we have feared assumes dimension and a name.’ Prussing crafts her poem with a slow rhythm intentionally to create a mysterious tone surrounding the unnamed figure. The author also includes metaphor in the quote ‘The long shadow emerges from the wall,’ the ‘long shadow’ posing a threat to their safety. Prussing concludes her text by describing the threat as a dangerous enemy through the use of imagery ‘The twisted stick becomes a snake.’ Through the analysis of the text, it can be concluded that this poem is powerful in conveying a dangerous enemy.

Ultimately, the poems ‘Who’s for the Game?’ by Jessie Pope, ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen, and ‘September 2, 1939’ by Jean Prussing effectively communicate the representations of war through the use of literary techniques, including rhetorical questions, imagery, tone, metaphor, and rhythm. It can be said that Pope was effective in persuading young men to enlist for war by portraying men who refused to be enlisted as cowardly and that war is a fun experience. Owen was effective, arguably, in conveying his traumatic and terrifying personal experiences of battles in trenches during the war. Prussing could be said to be effective in describing how Hitler was a known threat to and invaded Poland, initiating World War II.


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