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Analyzing Wilfred Owen's Poem 'Disabled'

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Laurel Lee 10D2
Does Owen want us to sympathize with the protagonist or criticize him?

‘Disabled’ is a narrative poem written by an English war poet Wilfred Owen showing his own traumatic war experiences as a soldier. It is an anti-war poem and it shows the horror of the First World War. His poem effectively compares the soldier’s current life and his past and shows the contrast between those two times very well. In this essay, I will be talking about Wilfred Owen’s method of creating sympathy and criticism for the protagonist of the poem and analyze the language and literary and structural devices that he uses.

Owen foregrounds the poem with: “He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey”. The use of plosive alliteration in these lines gives us a visual and dark image of the environment because of the sharp and abrupt sounds. Also, in the same lines, it says “wheeled chair” which suggests that the soldier is physically disabled by the war and cannot move by himself. I think this is very effective in helping us sympathize with the protagonist. This creates sympathy
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This is shown in the second stanza which describes the protagonist’s past, when he was a normal boy. Wilfred Owen uses “About this time town used to swing so gay” to start the stanza about the man’s past and his life before the war. The language and the image is gloomy, sad and bleak, in the first stanza, contrasting that, the second stanza is foregrounded with positive lexis, bright and colourful imagery of the town, before the protagonist went into war and obtained his injury. This is first shown in the phrase “light-blue trees”. In the first stanza, the colours were grey and dark but here they become warmer and brighter which juxtaposes with the imagery in the first
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