Literary analysis of the poem strange conference

Wilfred Owen


Wilfred Owen’s “Strange Meeting” is exploring an extraordinary getting together with between two enemy combatants in the midst of battle. Owen forgoes the familiar poetics of glory and honor linked to war and, instead, constructs a balance of graphic fact with consideration for the entrenched gift. In fact , the poetic appeal of the text comes from pity and sympathy to get the work’s characters instead of an filled with air idea of the characters’ gallantry. Owen achieves this appeal through both equally narrative and device. First, the narrative in the poem is built after shared humanity, especially in the encounter of death, between the loudspeaker and the new person, evoking the reader’s sympathies for the young men. Second, consonance, semantic connotation, onomatopoeia, and develop subtly build an impression from the characters’ piteous situation.

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The composition begins together with the protagonist, a soldier, getting into a tube to escape challenge. He says, “It seemed that out of battle I actually escaped / Down some profound uninteresting tunnel” (1-2). The tunnel is deep in that the realistic world above is actually mute, in fact , the surreal quality of any subterranean universe makes it only seem that he goes out out of battle. The tunnel on its own is scooped through long-formed “granites” by previous “titanic wars, inches reminding the reader of man’s unending schedule of battle and helping to establish the epic top quality of the poem (3). He continues, “Yet also presently there encumbered sleepers groaned, / Too fast in thought or perhaps death to get bestirred” (4-5). His separation from challenge allows him a new perspective. Here, even though feet by war, lie soldiers in transition to death. That they can be too fast in death to get disturbed suggests that this is all their proper spot to be burdened by death, especially mainly because it is far more peaceful to perish in the dreamlike underground as compared to the struggle raging over. After one particular soldier rises up to admit him, the speaker comments of the unfamiliar person:

With piteous identification in fixed eyes

Training distressful hands, as if to bless.

And by his smile, I knew that surly hall, “

By his dead laugh I knew we stood in Hell. (7-10)

“Piteous recognition” suggests various meanings. As the soldier stares at the speaker, it can be that he recognizes the speaker (perhaps a sort of foreshadowing given the poem’s conclusion) and pities the speaker’s predicament because he, too, is caught inside the war. It might be that the soldier’s “fixed eyes” are themselves pitiable, that they can be glossed using images with the fallen. Likewise, line eight contains several instances of the letter “s, ” showing a great deal of consonance. This écho, given the context, mirrors the sound in the dying soldiers’ shallow, struggling breaths. Along with semantic understanding of the line, we have the two image and sound: the image of a distraught man acknowledging an unexpected confront, the sound of the dying soldiers’ labored deep breathing.

The speaker goes on:

With a thousand pains that vision’s face was grained

Yet not any blood come to there through the upper floor

And no guns thumped, or down the flues made grumble.

“Strange friend, inch I said, “here is no cause to mourn. inches (11-4)

The speaker’s usage of “grained” carries particularly essential connotations. First, we get the impression that the pains of war have, in a sense, taken off this soldier’s identity, his face is simply canvas of the pain this individual has endured. Further, a single might imagine a coarse, black and light, WWI-era image, one in which the faces of the individual men are nearly indiscernible. The speaker informs the stranger that he is without cause to look thus bothered, provided they are protected from the battle above. Without a doubt, the onomatopoeia in the phrases “thumped” and “flues produced moan” take a degree of momentary fact (as much as can become afforded simply by recitation in the poem) to otherwise frosty descriptions of battle.

The new person replies, inch non-e [¦] save the undone years, / The hopelessness. Whatsoever hope is yours to make, / Was my life also” (15-7). The soldier argues that the actual losses, the actual cause to mourn, are definitely the years spent on war and the years that will never arrive. In fact , he admits that, “save the undone years, ” that his terms were a command. The final words with the soldier’s sentence, “the pessimism, ” are forced onto a fresh line, the pause that precedes and follows causes the word to linger around the reader’s head, giving us a slight preference of this mans desperation. Most critical of all, the stranger invokes the common bond he plus the speaker talk about. Both guys had lives before the war, now, only the speaker’s desires remain alive.

The stranger continues:

Now males will go quite happy with what we spoiled

Or, unhappiness, boil weakling, and be spilled.

They are swift with swiftness from the tigress.

None will break rates high, though countries trek coming from progress. (26-9)

In these lines, the stranger’s hopelessness discussed in the previous paragraph becomes mythologized. His feeling of despair is definitely not separated to his own personal condition. Rather, this individual despairs for all men, males numbed by sights, noises, and tragedies of warfare. In fact , he’s fearful that folks will be content with the problems of conflict, of the world’s beauty staying spoiled. Which the stranger creates the image with the [T]igress (the river upon which man’s first great civilizations were built) suggests that this contentment toward spilled blood vessels is historic, that the breathing difficulties of struggling men have recently been deafened by the wars of yesteryear. Worse, complacency with such offenses will only guarantee more disputes as men refuse to obstacle the historic precedents to get war”or “break ranks””even because their nations discontinue to prosper.

In lines 30 to 39, the strange gift considers just how he, were he provided life, might save mankind from its lewdness:

Courage was mine, and I had secret

Intelligence was my very own, and I acquired mastery:

To miss the march of the retreating globe

Into vain citadels which are not walled

In that case, when very much blood experienced clogged their very own chariot-wheels

We would go up and wash them from lovely wells

Even with truths that rest too deep for taint.

We would have poured my spirit without period

But not through wounds, certainly not on the cess of conflict.

Foreheads of men have bled in which no pains were. (30-9)

The bravery to deal with did not take satisfaction. That only brought mystery”the puzzle of by no means knowing the a lot of his afterwards life, of never knowing peace and old age. But, in his loss of life, he features wisdom. Actually by invoking the notion of mastery, he seems to claim that wisdom has taught him to disregard the drumbeats of courage in support of peace, that wisdom has given him a competence over the satisfaction toward warfare. He is aware of, now, it is wisest to stave fighting, to “miss the march” into fight, the écho of those terms evocative from the stomps of parading, synchronized soldiers. Were he capable to live, he would return to the weary combatants and clean their bloodied chariots, serving into these people truths and sympathies also lasting, as well intrinsically human, to be tainted by the scourge of warfare. Indeed, not necessarily a physical twisted the peculiar soldier looks for to cure. It is the injured mind of man, it is failing to refute the blood-letting, upon which his sympathies”his very “spirit””shall be added.

In his final rising moments, the estranged jewellry reveals his relation to the speaker:

My spouse and i am the enemy you killed, my good friend.

I knew you with this dark: pertaining to so you frowned

Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

I parried, but my hands were loath and cold.

Let us sleep now…. (40-4)

He determines the speaker both as enemy and friend. This can be a fitting accommodement, as it features the disaster (perhaps absurdity) of their predicament”that they are enemies”while maintaining the integrity and intent of the text and informing the poem’s concept of the shared humanity”that they are, in fact, friends. These types of lines will be markedly totally different from the rest of the textual content in their plainness. Most of the phrases are monosyllabic and, out of framework, are somewhat straightforward. However, this simplicity enhances the lines’ effectiveness. We have a painful truth in its plainness, a reminder of the characters’ state. The soldier even confesses that this individual fought backside, but his loath and cold hands prevented him from repelling off the speaker’s jabs. Is not convinced to ingredients label him a bard or any other silver-tongued hero. He is merely a guy who did what he thought he must. In his plainness exists a canvas for people to see many other males who battled and passed away in fight, and we imagine they, too, gained a wisdom in death that came too late. The plainness from the lines also serves to deafen and shorten the prose, a reflection of how the strange jewellry must appear as he succumbs to fatality.

Finally, one need to note the application of half-rhyme and broken inmiscuirse present through the entire poem. Perhaps a simple vocally mimic eachother scheme would be too possible for us. Might be we are meant to view the lines’ scans with difficulty. Problems of warfare, life, as well as the value of our shared humankind are because difficult problems as any, and many certainly, it could not always be decorous for people to read through such text message with completing ease. Undoubtedly, a vocally mimic eachother that is simply half total must further more reinforce the “strangeness” and broken mother nature of our characters’ world. You will find the world above”the chaotic, raucous expansiveness of the battlefield”and the world below”a silent sanctuary”, where soldiers find themselves. Thus, both worlds will be “broken” because they are distinct and “strange” in that their characteristics, although places are really close in proximity, are wholly different. There is, of course , one spear like similarity inside the two realms: death. Simply, in the world listed below, the soldier’s are given protection enough to reflect after their condition, they are afforded the chance to grasp at all their newfound, death-borne wisdom. And it is in this world the fact that two men meet and find out each other for who they are. While the peculiar soldier passes away, he says, “Let us sleep now” (44). Though one might read this statement as being a revelation that the protagonist, as well, is useless, at least one summary is concluyente. In the throws of warfare there is no you or My spouse and i, there is only us. Both equally men will be victims of war, and both want to live to find out tomorrow. The definitive strangeness and lessons of their meeting is that it can be equitable.

Works Mentioned

Owen, Wilfred. “Strange Conference. ” The Norton Anthology of Poems. 5th impotence. Eds. Maggie Ferguson, ain al. New york city: W. W. Norton Organization, 2005. 891-2.

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