Pity Of War In 'Disabled' By Wilfred Owen

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How does Wilfred Owen convey the ‘pity of war’ in his poem, Disabled?

Wilfred Owen explained, in a letter to his mother, that the purpose of him writing poems was to show ‘the pity of war’ to the world. This essay will explore how Owen showed the ‘pity of war’ in his poem ‘Disabled’. Owen’s ‘Disabled’ is a narrative about a soldier that lost his legs and an arm in the war and how he is treated when he returns from the front line. This reflects Owen’s life at this time as he wrote this poem while he was recuperating in a military hospital for wounds sustained in the battlefield. Through the use of contrast, shocking imagery and juxtaposition Owen portrays the pity of war and the effects of the horrors of war on the soldiers.

Owen creates pity for the soldier using emotive language in the first stanza. The soldier is described as “shivering in his ghastly suit of grey”. The adjective “ghastly” has connotations of ghouls and death. These connotations present the soldier as ghost like and dead but not gone, implying that his mind died in war and that he is nothing but a ghostly shadow of his past self. This description provides a lot of sympathy towards the soldier as he is so close to death that he is a ghost and a fragment of what he once was.
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Owen tells the reader that ‘he[the soldier] will never feel again how slim girls’ waists are, or how how warm their subtle hands’ and that ‘all of them touch him like some queer disease’. This phrase give us an impression of what this man feels everyday, he is touched and talked to in a way that one wouldn’t with ‘the strong men that were whole’. This difference of treatment will make him feel more isolated in the world further sinking in his depression. Additionally this isolation makes the reader feel more empathetic and therefore the have pity for him. This pity for the soldier is a reflection of owens message of the pity of
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