Pity of War
How does Wilfred Owen present “Pity of War” in Disabled
2 Past Child
4 Relationship with us
How Wilfred Owen Presents “Pity of War” in Disabled
How does someone feel when he or she becomes a victim of war such that he or she sustains serious injuries that are irreversible? Certainly, no one would wish to be a victim of war. Wilfred Owen’s poem, Disabled is a suitable example of a composition that offers a good description of the aftermath of war. The poet writes about the effects of war through a speaker who compares his present life with his past when he could engage in a wide variety of activities unlike now that he can barely take care of himself. The author’s sole purpose in the poem is to show the pity of war through the speaker who now lives a life that cannot allow him to take care of himself. A critical analysis of the poem shows that Owen presents her point through four major categories that readers can use to classify the composition, and they include: alone, past, child, and relationship with us.
Readers develop pity of war in the way the poet presents the victim as a single person who has to struggle to cope with the undesirable memories that the disabled ex-solider faces in his everyday life. The first aspect, which shows the poet focuses on a single person, is that she develops a story that only centers on the tribulations of one person. The poet’s descriptions in the first and second lines of the first stanza play a crucial role in informing readers of the loneliness that the persona faces. The first line states, “He sat in a wheel chair, waiting for dark” (Owen) and the second line reads “And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey” (Owen). The use of the first person pronoun “he” in the first line and the third person pronoun “his” in the second line clearly indicates that the speaker in the poem is alone without any company.
The last stanza of the poem also serves an important role in showing the rejection that the speaker in the poem faces. The first line of the last stanza, for example, reads that, “Now he will spend a few sick years in institutes” (Owen). The line clearly indicates that the poet is referring to a single person who may continue to live an unhappy life the rest of his days. The poet further shows the seclusion the protagonist faces by writing how he cannot receive love from women the way he used to before his tribulations. Owen presents this information in the fourth and fifth lines of the last stanza where he writes that, “Today he noticed how the women’s eyes” (Owen) and “Passed from him to the strong men that were whole” (Owen). The writing in these two lines does not only represent the ex-solider to be lonely, but also unable to get what he desires, which further makes him unhappy.
The rhetorical question and the repetition that the poet employs in the last two lines of the last verse help to show the rejection that the speaker faces in his life. The second last line for instance, reads, “How cold and late it is! Why don’t they come” (Owen). Through this statement, it is evident that it is getting late, and the speaker needs someone to help either get home or get out of where he sits because he cannot do that by himself. The last line reads that, “And put him into bed? Why don’t they come?”(Owen). It further stresses on the idea that the speaker is alone, and would not make any progress without assistance from the people he is waiting.
Apart from presenting the ex-soldier as lonely, the poem develops ideas that create the impression that the speaker is a child. The indication that represents the aspect of the child appears in the 29th line (last line of the fourth stanza) where the poet writes, “Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years” (Owen). The description the poet serves to show that the war victim is still young, and is already living with a disability that will always remain with him. The description in stanza five further provides information that shows the speaker is yet to attain his old age, and is already living with disability. The fifth stanza focuses on the factors that attract the speaker to the war. He mentions several things that include the high probability of being in possession of expensive jewelry, and getting good pay once he joins the fight. Apart from these, he mentions the recruiters’ urge to absorb younger fighters to be one of the prime factors that compel him to enlist as a combatant. The information, therefore, serves to show that the speaker is still young.
The information the poet presents in the poem help readers to compare the speaker’s past and present lives. One way through which readers learn about the persona’s past life is by reading through stanza four where the speaker narrates about his past life when he played football with his peers. Owen starts the fourth stanza by writing that, “One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg” (Owen). The first line of the fourth stanza clearly shows that the person who cannot now walk by himself once had legs that could allow him engage in activities that he likes such as football. However, that is now impossible because he does not have any leg due to the injuries he sustains at war.
In the third stanza, the poet also presents information that compares the speaker’s present and past lives. Owen describes how the occurrences of the war make the man different from his past state, especially in terms of physical appearance. The third and the fourth lines of the third stanza reads, “Now, he is old; his back will never brace” (Owen), and “He’s lost his color very far from here” (Owen). The two lines clearly indicate that the happenings of the war have changed the victim’s appearance to resemble that of the old, and have changed his color, which makes him different from his initial state.
Relationship with us
The poet creates the poem in such a way that he is able to form a relationship between the speaker and readers. She first attains this feature by composing the poem in such a way that it falls into different verses, hence, easy for readers to identify the different feelings that the speaker has. For instance, the first stanza shows the speaker’s loneliness while the second one informs the audience about the persona’s past life when he could intermingle freely with the people around him. The second way through which the poem creates a relationship with readers is that Owen offers information that shows the persona’s interest in the peace that prevailed before the war. The persona’s desire is in accordance with many people’s wish that peace should prevail over war.
Owen’s poem presents
information that majorly falls into four categories, which include alone, past,
child, and relationship with us. The four categories help readers to recognize
the poet’s intention, which is to explain the devastating effects of war that
normally result in pity for the victims. The chief lesson in the poem is that
war result in fatal consequences that can lead to victims’ inability and loneliness.
Owen, Wilfred. “Disabled”. Poetry Foundation, 2016. www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and- poets/poems/detail/57285. Accessed November 9, 2016.