Experience of War


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The Experience of War

War has existed since the beginning of civilisation, and will continue because of rivalry, ambition and power struggles between world leaders or their peoples. Only occasionally is it is borne out of desperation, such as needing water or food to survive. ( and want between world leaders.) It is portrayed light-heartedly in many forms such as games. Even serious films like Schindler's list or Saving Private Ryan can fail to ( films, but none of them are able to) capture the true feelings and horrors experienced by those involved. Fuelled by the rage of men there are no winners, just suffering for those who lose loved ones and others who are permanently affected by the war; left to pick up the pieces of their lives and struggle to exist. I think that war is usually just pointless violence in which there are no winners; one side simply manages to have more men alive at the end than the others. (but it) War can sometimes bring out the good side in people; the kindness of the world combines to help fix the destruction in the aftermath. (There are no winners in war, just those who manage to have more men alive at the end than the others.)

Wilfred Owen was an English poet who was born 18th March 1893 in Shropshire. After leaving school in 1911, Owen took and passed the entrance exam of the University of London, but unfortunately not with first-class honours which meant he (would) did not get a scholarship. A scholarship was the only way he could afford to attend the university so Owen instead went to the University College, Reading where he studied botany and later received free tuition in Old English. (got lessons of Old English for free.) Before the start of World War One he worked in the Berlitz School of languages in Bordeaux, teaching English and French. On the 21st October 1915 he enlisted in the Artists' Rifles Officers' Training Corps and initially started the war as a cheerful, optimistic man. This soon changed(, )after a number of disturbing experiences, firstly being blown high into the air by a trench (motor) mortar and then landing (into) on the remains of a fellow officer. Then he was trapped for days in an old German dugout. Owen was diagnosed with shell-shock and sent to Craiglockhart in Edinburgh for therapy. Here he met the poet Siegfried Sassoon (who was he?) who encouraged him to write about the reality of war. After this encounter the (type) style of his poems changed dramatically as before he had written happy (upbeat?.. is there a better word than happy?) poems, but after meeting Sassoon he wrote the poem ‘Disabled' which showed how many people became incapacitated by going to fight in the war. Even after all Owen's traumatic war experiences he bravely decided to go back to the front, where he was shot in the head by an enemy rifleman just a week before the armistice, on 4th November 1918.

He wrote the poem ‘Dulce et Decorum est' in 1917. It was written in response to Jessie Pope's (which year)poem ‘Who's for the game?' which spoke of war as if it was a game and (took) treated / approached the subject (it) very light heartedly. Owen went against many poets of the time and wrote about the appalling truth of war (sounds like a phrase you ‘borrowed'!). In the poem he describes a gas attack on a fellow soldier using shocking imagery in his writing. Owen goes against the old lie ‘Dulce et Decorum est Pro Patria Mori' which was written by Horace, a poet of Ancient Rome, (meaning) which translates as ‘ it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country'. Owen believed that with the new machinery and weapons available in WW1 (say the First World War, or the Great War) that dying in war was not glorious as Horace said, because it had now turned into a situation where the best soldier could be killed horribly without even coming face to face with the(ir) enemy.

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