Empathy In Wilfred Owen's Disabled

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Wilfred Owen was one of the greatest poets of the first World War. Most of his poems were written between 1917 and 1918, and have an anti-war theme, which reflects Owen’s own experiences on the battlefield. Some of his most well-known poems are Dulce et Decorum est, Anthem for the Doomed Youth and Disabled. The poem Disabled was written in 1917 and is about a young boy who returns from the war, amputated. Owen describes his helplessness and isolation, and switches back and forth time to show his thoughts then and regret now. The poem is told in the third person, and the name of the boy is never mentioned. One interpretation of this is that the boy in the poem represents countless men who have been in similar situations. In addition to showing…show more content…
The boy is first introduced as someone “sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark”. From the first line alone, the reader gets a sense of despair and despondency, as the phrase “waiting for dark” could be a euphemism of death. Similarly, the phrase “ghastly suit of grey” could be a metaphorical reference to a ghost. The reader then learns that not only is the boy “Legless”, but is also “sewn short at elbow”. He is taunted by “voices of play and pleasure”, as it is a constant reminder of his own lost…show more content…
Owen shows society’s subconscious bias and preference for “strong men that were whole”, which makes the reader question the idea of heroism. The word “whole” is placed at the end of the sentence, which breaks the regular rhythm and iambic pentameter, which emphasises the concept of ‘wholeness, showing that society idealises the situation of war as they don’t fully understand its horrors. Additionally, the boy “liked a bloodsmear” after a match, as he thought. When the boy returned from the war, “some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal”. The capitalisation of the ‘g’ in “Goal” emphasises the significance of a football match over a disabled veteran. Had he been one of the strong, whole men, people would have taken him much more

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