Powerful ways to convey an idea

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LT Wilfred Owen was born 18 March 1893 and died 4 November 1918, with the news of his death reaching the closest person to him, his brother while the bells of the nearby church rang for the end of First World War. While he lived LT Owen was a teacher, poet and Soldier.

  • Writing when he was only ten
  • Blown up himself (shell shock)
  • Stuck in a German trench for two days
  • Poem, or more of a response to a propaganda poem
  • Letters to his mammy!
  • NOTHING ROMANIC about dying for your country
  • GAS
  • Propaganda (War of today with how he felt then)
  • No one ever wins a war, 91,198 dead by gas alone!

Dulce et Decorum Est Poems are one of the most powerful ways to convey an idea, message or opinion. The poem “Dulce et Decorum Est”, a war poem by Wilfred Owen, makes effective use of these devices. This poem is very effective because of its use of the mechanical and emotional parts of poetry. Owen's use of precise diction emphasizes his point, showing that war is a horrible and devastating event. Through figurative language, a poem can give the reader the exact feeling the author had intended. Furthermore, the use of extremely graphic images adds more to his argument. Audience is also an important aspect of writing, and one that Owen considers well in this writing. In addition, the author uses punctuation to create texture in the poem. Through the effectiveness of these five tools, this poem expresses strong meaning and persuasive argument of the dark side of war and is an excellent example of powerful writing. The author's use of excellent diction helps to clearly define what the author is saying. (Fulwiler and Hayakawa 163) Powerful verbs like “guttering”, “choking”, and “drowning” not only show how the man is suffering, but that he is in a great deal of pain that no human being should endure. Other words like “writhing” and “froth-corrupted” hint to exactly how the man is being tormented by his enemy, as well as himself. The phrase “blood shod” forces the image of men who have been on their feet for days, never stopping to rest long enough to recuperate. One can almost feel the pain of the men whose feet have not gotten a rest from the heavy boots they wear. Some of the boots are torn and worn, and some of the men have no boots at all. Frostbite. Gangrene. Amputate. All possible words they might hear. If they live long enough to find out. Also, the fact that the gassed man was “flung” into the wagon reveals the urgency and responsibility that accompanies fighting: there is no time for mourning or good-byes. The only thing they can do is toss him into a wagon to be hauled off with the rest that were slain. The image of a wagon heaping with dead men who had tried to be brave for their country, and had instead died in vain, is saddening, and almost enraging. This poem contributes so much to the “other” side of war. The side no one wants to think about the reality of it. hose in “Dulce Et Decorum Est” are powerful statements of the reality of war. The fact that one word can add so much to the meaning of to the entire poem shows how the diction of this poem adds greatly to its effectiveness. Likewise, the use of figurative language in this poem also helps to stress the points that are being made. Authors use figurative language to say what they want to more vividly. (Fulwiler and Hayakawa 126) Owens definitely takes advantage of this tool by using strong similes and metaphors. In fact, the first line is a simile describing the troops as being “like old beggars under sacks.” (Shrodes et al. 737-738) This not only says that they are tired, but that they are so exhausted they have been brought down to the level of beggars who have not slept in a bed for weeks, not had a hot meal in days, and not forgotten what it felt like for one minute. Owen also compares the victim's face to the devil, but a devil sick of sin: just as the victim is sick of fighting. Even more effective is the metaphor that compares “...vile, incurable sores...” (Owen. 737-738) It not only tells the reader how the troops will never forget the experience, but also how they are like annoying sores that seem to never heal, but are always there bringing with them pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. illustrate the point so well that they increase the effectiveness of the entire poem. The images Owen creates evoke feelings that might cause people to become sick. These images draw such pictures that no other poetic methods can such as: “Come gargling from the froth corrupted lungs.” (Owen 737-738) It shows men being brutally slain very vividly, forcing images in the reader's mind once again. In the beginning of the poem, the troops were portrayed as “drunk with fatigue.” (Shrodes et al. 737-738) You can almost imagine large numbers of people dragging their boots through the mud, tripping over themselves, maybe colliding with trees or each other as their heavy eyes occasionally block their view. Later in the poem when the gas is dropped, it paints a psychologically disturbing image. Troops being torn out of their dead-like walk and surrounded by gas bombs. Everyone, in “an ecstasy of fumbling” (Owen 737-738) forced to run out into the mist, unaware of his or her fate. Anyone wanting to fight in a war would become frightened at the image of himself running out into a blood bath. It seems as though the men would not have been willing to go to war if they had known what fate that many of them would meet. what Owen states in the last line, “the old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori”: It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. Poems rarely cause the reader to recall a powerful scene from a movie like but Owen manages to do so with the images he paints in your mind using only words. The graphic images displayed here are profoundly effective and difficult to forget. The purpose of a specific piece of writing may be the most important facet to good writing. Novels tell stories, biographies inform, essays are often argumentative, and children's stories entertain. The purpose of many writings is to present a moral lesson, like Aesops' fables. However, Owen does bring lessons to be learned in his poem. There is no moral, but the reader is still left with many thoughts and the poem still has a strong message to convey; war is hideous, savage, and frightening. Perhaps the fact that this poem is not is what makes it so memorable. There is no once-upon-a-time or happy endings, only the harsh reality of what war is and what war does. Because of the lack of a usual fairy-tale form and an unusual purpose, to leave the reader disturbed at the thought of war, At the beginning of the second stanza, the first two words are typed: “Gas! GAS!...” (Owen. 737-738) The first “gas” implies that the soldier speaking is perhaps only partially aware of what was happening. The second “gas” jumps out as though it were three-dimensional. All capital letters and an exclamation point show that the soldier now realizes gas bombs are being dropped on him and he has very little time, if any, to escape. The two words, although the same had different meanings, and to accomplish the task of making that obvious to the readers, Owens calls this a and convinces the reader of the same by using good graphic images, purpose, and at what war is capable of. This poem is extremely effective as an anti-war poem, making war seem absolutely horrible and revolting, just as the author wanted it to.

“Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, a lyric poem upon understanding, focuses on the absolute horror experienced during World War I. Although, he is telling the story, it is rather informal; such as he uses words like “flound'ring” on line 12 and “fumbling” on line 9. In the first stanza, Owen opens up by giving phrases such as “like old beggars under sacks”, “men marched asleep”, and “drunk with fatigue” The poet gives the readers a sense of extreme urgency by stating: “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! - An ecstasy of fumbling,” The word “fumbling” is suggesting that due to the soldiers' physical conditions, their actions in putting the masks on tend to be much slower than before upon interacting with their mind. However, “ecstasy” depicts with a twist of irony as it is depicting a completely bewildering time for the soldiers. and this is where the transition takes place. “As under a green sea I saw him drowning. In all my dreams, before my helpless sight, He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning” which describes the suffering horror of the soldiers from gas attack. similarly, “Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud” Up until now, the lack of a motive for the soldiers to fight in the battle had caused them not to be the patriots or heroes. These soldier had only sought out to survive, not fighting any enemies that seem to exist only as gas shells within the poem. Owen supports the lie of dulce et decorum would have described these men in heroic terms, are described negatively as “beggars” or “hags” In addition, despite of the drudgery and horrors that soldiers experienced depicted in the first two stanzas of the poem, there were not any signs of patriotic motives. In the end of the four lines, usage of the words such as “with such high zest” implies that “once the sentiment of dulce et decorum was once held by either the speaker or the dead man who he now sees on the wagon.” In the second of the four lines, the words “children” and “ desperate” implies that young men striving for glory are not aware of the truth of what they want, much like children don't understand all the consequences of their actions. “Desperate” advances the idea that they don't know what they want; they wish for something and in their ignorance reach for something dangerous. Therefore, lines 25 and 26 suggesting not to perpetuate patriotic stories to the next generation of “children.” At last, Owen's “Dulce Et Decorum Est” delivers a message toward the readers with anger and bitterly anti-war, anti-patriotic, anti-propaganda theme centered around the physical and psychological terrors of gas attack. There is no signs glory left through the lines of the poem, but rather a sense of despair and loss. The rhythmic and verbal cues combine to show the horror of war, and his final stanza sums up the point of the poem that death for ones country is neither sweet nor noble, but sickening and painful.

Each of the nations which participated in World War One from 1914-18 used propaganda posters not only as a means of justifying involvement to their own populace, but also as a means of procuring men, money and resources to sustain the military campaign.

In countries such as Britain the use of propaganda posters was readily understandable: in 1914 she only possessed a professional army and did not have in place a policy of national service, as was standard in other major nations such as France and Germany.

Yet while the use of posters proved initially successful in Britain the numbers required for active service at the Front were such as to ultimately require the introduction of conscription. Nevertheless recruitment posters remained in use for the duration of the war - as was indeed the case in most other countries including France, Germany and Italy.

However wartime posters were not solely used to recruit men to the military cause. Posters commonly urged wartime thrift, and were vocal in seeking funds from the general public via subscription to various war bond schemes (usually with great success).

Interestingly, for all that the U.S.A. joined the war relatively late - April 1917 - she produced many more propaganda posters than any other single nation.

Propaganda Posters, Britain entered the war on 4 August 1914. The possessor of a small professional army and without a policy of conscription she had urgent need of more men - many, many more men - for training within the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Thus the government in London acted quickly in bringing out a stream of recruitment posters, including possibly the most famous of its type, featuring Lord Kitchener (“Your Country Wants You!”).

Other posters followed in due course, many urging wartime economy. Others simply encouraged continued support for government policy, usually by whipping up indignation against the latest alleged outrages committed (invariably) by the German Army. Considered uncivilised prior to World War One, the development and use of poison gas was necessitated by the requirement of wartime armies to find new ways of overcoming the stalemate of unexpected trench warfare.

GAS!!Although it is popularly believed that the German army was the first to use gas it was in fact initially deployed by the French. In the first month of the war, August 1914, they fired tear-gas grenades (xylyl bromide) against the Germans. Nevertheless the German army was the first to give serious study to the development of chemical weapons and the first to use it on a large scale. In the capture of Neuve Chapelle in October 1914 the German army fired shells at the French which contained a chemical irritant whose result was to induce a violent fit of sneezing. Three months later, on 31 January 1915, tear gas was employed by the Germans for the first time on the Eastern Front. Fired in liquid form contained in 15 cm howitzer shells against the Russians at Bolimov, the new experiment proved unsuccessful, with the tear gas liquid failing to vaporise in the freezing temperatures prevalent at Bolimov. Not giving up, the Germans tried again with an improved tear gas concoction at Nieuport against the French in March 1915.

Poison GAS, The debut of the first poison gas however - in this instance, chlorine - came on 22 April 1915, at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres. At this stage of the war the famed Ypres Salient, held by the British, Canadians and French, ran for some 10 miles and bulged into German occupied territory for five miles. A combination of French territorials and Algerian troops held the line to the left, with the British and Canadians tending the centre and line to their right. During the morning of 22 April the Germans poured a heavy bombardment around Ypres, but the line fell silent as the afternoon grew. Towards evening, at around 5 pm, the bombardment began afresh - except that sentries posted among the French and Algerian troops noticed a curious yellow-green cloud drifting slowly towards their line. Puzzled but suspicious the French suspected that the cloud masked an advance by German infantry and ordered their men to 'stand to' - that is, to mount the trench fire step in readiness for probable attack. The cloud did not mask an infantry attack however; at least, not yet. It signalled in fact the first use of chlorine gas on the battlefield. Ironically its use ought not to have been a surprise to the Allied troops, for captured German soldiers had revealed the imminent use of gas on the Western Front. Their warnings were not passed on however. The effects of chlorine gas were severe. Within seconds of inhaling its vapour it destroyed the victim's respiratory organs, bringing on choking attacks. Panic-stricken the French and Algerian troops fled in disorder, creating a four-mile gap in the Allied line. Had the Germans been prepared for this eventuality they could potentially have effected a decisive breakthrough.However the results of their experiment caused as much surprise to the German high command as confusion among their opponents. German infantry did advance into the gap, but nervously and with hesitance.Outflanking the Canadian and British troops to their right, the ensuing fighting was difficult. Although the Germans succeeded in seizing control of a significant portion of the salient the Allies nevertheless managed to re-form a continuous line, though in parts it remained dangerously weak. The Germans' use of chlorine gas provoked immediate widespread condemnation, and certainly damaged German relations with the neutral powers, including the U.S. The gas attacks were placed to rapid propaganda use by the British although they planned to respond in kind.

The attack had one clear benefit at home however, for it brought to an end German hesitancy (and disagreement) over its use. The cat was out of the bag; and the use of poison gas continued to escalate for the remainder of the war. Once the Allies had recovered from the initial shock of the Germans' practical application of poison gas warfare, a determination existed to exact retaliatory revenge at the earliest opportunity. The British were the first to respond.

Raising Special Gas Companies in the wake of the Germans' April attack (of approximately 1,400 men) operating under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Foulkes, instructions were given to prepare for a gas attack at Loos in September 1915. Interestingly the men who comprised the British Special Gas Companies were not allowed to refer to the word “gas” in their operations, such was the stigma attached to its use. Instead they referred to their gas canisters as “accessories”; use of the word “gas” brought with it a threatened punishment. On the evening of 24 September 1915, therefore, some 400 chlorine gas emplacements were established among the British front line around Loos. The gas was released by turning a cock on each cylinder.

The retaliatory attack began the following morning at 5.20 am. A mixture of smoke and chlorine gas was released intermittently over a period of about 40 minutes before the infantry assault began. However, releasing gas from cylinders in this manner meant that the user had to be wary of wind conditions. It was desirable that a light wind exist in the direction of the enemy trenches; if the wind were to turn however, the biter would be bit. In parts of the British line that morning this is precisely what transpired. The wind shifted and quantities of the smoke and gas were blown back into the British trenches. It has been estimated that more British gas casualties were suffered that morning than German. Although the numbers are arguable there is little doubt but that the exercise proved a failure: and the resultant infantry attack similarly failed. Although it was the British who chiefly suffered on 25 September 1915 all three chief armies - Britain, France and Germany - suffered similar self-inflicted gas reversals during 1915. It became apparent that if gas was to be used a more reliable delivery mechanism was called for. In consequence experiments were undertaken to deliver the gas payload in artillery shells. This provided the additional benefits of increasing the target range as well as the variety of gases released.

Following on the heels of chlorine gas came the use of phosgene. Phosgene as a weapon was more potent than chlorine in that while the latter was potentially deadly it caused the victim to violently cough and choke. Phosgene caused much less coughing with the result that more of it was inhaled; it was consequently adopted by both German and Allied armies. Phosgene often had a delayed effect; apparently healthy soldiers were taken down with phosgene gas poisoning up to 48 hours after inhalation. The so-called “white star” mixture of phosgene and chlorine was commonly used on the Somme: the chlorine content supplied the necessary vapour with which to carry the phosgene.

Mustard GAS, Remaining consistently ahead in terms of gas warfare development, Germany unveiled an enhanced form of gas weaponry against the Russians at Riga in September 1917: mustard gas (or Yperite) contained in artillery shells. Mustard gas, an almost odourless chemical, was distinguished by the serious blisters it caused both internally and externally, brought on several hours after exposure. Protection against mustard gas proved more difficult than against either chlorine or phosgene gas. The use of mustard gas - sometimes referred to as Yperite - also proved to have mixed benefits. While inflicting serious injury upon the enemy the chemical remained potent in soil for weeks after release: making capture of infected trenches a dangerous undertaking. As with chlorine and phosgene gas before it, the Allies promptly reciprocated by copying the Germans' use of mustard gas. By 1918 the use of use of poison gases had become widespread, particularly on the Western Front. If the war had continued into 1919 both sides had planned on inserting poison gases into 30%-50% of manufactured shells.

Other types of gases produced by the belligerents included bromine and chloropicrin. The French army occasionally made use of a nerve gas obtained from prussic acid. However three forms of gas remained the most widely used: chlorine, phosgene and mustard. The German army ended the war as the heaviest user of gas. It is suggested that German use reached 68,000 tons; the French utilised 36,000 tons and the British 25,000.

Diminishing Effectiveness, Although gas claimed a notable number of casualties during its early use, once the crucial element of surprise had been lost the overall number of casualties quickly diminished. Indeed, deaths from gas after about May 1915 were relatively rare. It has been estimated that among British forces the number of gas casualties from May 1915 amounted to some 9 per cent of the total - but that of this total only around 3% were fatal. Even so, gas victims often led highly debilitating lives thereafter with many unable to seek employment once they were discharged from the army. In large part this was because of the increasing effectiveness of the methods used to protect against poison gas. Gas never turned out to be the weapon that turned the tide of the war, as was often predicted. Innovations in its use were quickly combated and copied by opposing armies in an ongoing cycle.

Protection The types of protection initially handed out to the troops around Ypres following the first use of chlorine in April 1915 were primitive in the extreme. 100,000 wads of cotton pads were quickly manufactured and made available. These were dipped in a solution of bicarbonate of soda and held over the face. Soldiers were also advised that holding a urine drenched cloth over their face would serve in an emergency to protect against the effects of chlorine. By 1918 soldiers on both sides were far better prepared to meet the ever-present threat of a gas attack. Filter respirators (using charcoal or antidote chemicals) were the norm and proved highly effective, although working in a trench while wearing such respirators generally proved difficult and tiring. With the Armistice, such was the horror and disgust at the wartime use of poison gases that its use was outlawed in 1925 - a ban that is, at least nominally, still in force today. As with the grenade the mortar was yet another old weapon which found a new lease of life during World War One.

Mortor,A mortar is essentially a short, stumpy tube designed to fire a projectile at a steep angle (by definition higher than 45 degrees) so that it falls straight down on the enemy. From this simple description it will be immediately apparent that the mortar was ideally suited for trench warfare, hence the common application of the 'trench' prefix. The chief advantage of the mortar was that it could be fired from the (relative) safety of the trench, avoiding exposure of the mortar crews to the enemy. Furthermore, it was notably lighter and more mobile than other, larger artillery pieces. And, of course, the very fact that the mortar bomb fell almost straight down meant that it would (with luck) land smack in the enemy trench. Just as the mortar was another example of an ancient weapon given fresh reign, so too it was predictable that the German army, so better prepared for war than any of its counterparts in 1914, should have spotted the enormous potential of the mortar some years ahead of the Great War. Indeed, German military observers of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05 not only came away with a new respect for hand grenades, but with fresh ideas for the use of the mortar bomb they had seen deployed. In fairness to the Allied powers the Germans had a specific use for the mortar when they began to stockpile it in the immediate pre-war years. In short, they envisaged its use against France's eastern fortresses. Consequently by the time war arrived in August 1914 the Germans had some 150 mortars available. And what of the French themselves? The re-birth of the mortar caught the French army entirely by surprise, as it did the British. At least the French could scramble to put into use ancient century-old Napoleonic mortars (referred to by the British as Toby mortars in honour of the British officer who had been struck with the idea of securing such old stockpiles of the weapon from the French). The British however were entirely without supplies of the mortar, it having not been used at all during the South African War of 1899-1902. Even once its merits had been demonstrated by the Germans there were elements within the British high command who argued that it was without much worth. It took David Lloyd George (Prime Minister from late 1915) to push through manufacture of the weapon for it to be taken seriously. However, as with the grenade, once the British finally grasped the manifest merits of the mortar it was embraced wholeheartedly, and its design much improved upon. Just as the British Mills bomb became the war's most famous hand grenade, so the Stokes bomb became the best-known mortar. The German mortars at the start of the war - translated into German as 'minenwerfer' (literally 'mine-thrower') had been designed in 1908-09 and, at a monster-size 25 cm, were rifled mortars mounted upon field carriages (each mortar of this size weighed approximately 95 kg).

In fact the Germans had three sizes of mortar available. Aside from the huge 25 cm type (the heavy mortar), they had a light mortar (at 7.6 cm) and a medium mortar (17 cm). Having first put these initial supplies into use on the French front, and having witnessed their results with satisfaction, minenwerfers were quickly put into mass production. In late 1915 the British succeeded in hastening production of their first mortar. It was not of an impressive design, being little more than a 4-inch pipe, without rifling, sighting or recoil. A simple cylindrical bomb was dropped base first into the pipe so that it fell on to a projecting pin at the pipe's base. This detonated the firing charge and so propelled the missile. Mortars fired from this device had a maximum range of 1,500 yards and featured a built-in 25-second fuse, although this was soon changed to a percussion (impact) fuse. Given that the Germans were considerably ahead in mortar preparedness it is remarkable that the British - and therefore the other Allied armies, since the British shared production of the mortar - caught up so quickly and surpassed the Germans in mortar excellence. A Mr F.W.C. Stokes - later to become Sir Wilfred Stokes KBE - saved the day for the British in January 1915. That month he designed a mortar of brilliant simplicity. It became the standard issue for the British army for several decades and was the most widely used mortar among the Allied armies. Indeed, most mortars in use today are direct descendants of the Stokes mortar. Stokes' design was simple but highly effective. It consisted chiefly of a smooth metal tube fixed to a base plate (to absorb recoil) with a light bi-pod mount. When a bomb was dropped into the tube an impact sensitive cartridge at the base of the bomb would make contact with a firing pin at the base of the tube, thereby ejecting the bomb. 3-inches in size the cast-iron mortar bomb itself weighed around 4.5 kg. It was fitted with a modified hand grenade fuse on the front, with a perforated tube (with minor propellant charge) and impact-sensitive cap at the back. The Stokes mortar could fire as many as 22 bombs per minute and had a maximum range of 1,200 yards. In addition to the light Stokes mortar the British also produced a 2-inch medium mortar and a 9.45-inch heavy mortar (bizarrely nicknamed 'Flying Pigs' by the British soldier) among other models. By the final year of the war each British division possessed 24 light Stokes mortars, 12 medium and several heavy models.

Mortars were undeniably effective effective in terms of trench warfare. Soldiers would often strain their ears to catch the “plop!” sound that indicated the firing of an enemy mortar, and consequently hasten into cover.

Inevitably, mortar positions rapidly came under fire from enemy artillery once their presence was detected. For this reason they were unpopular when sited among a given group of infantrymen, for it almost guaranteed a busy time along the trench. Mortars were variously used to take out enemy machine gun posts, suspected sniper posts or other designated features. Larger mortars were occasionally used to cut enemy barbed wire, generally in situations were field artillery could not be used. Once the Stokes mortar had established itself as a highly successful model, Britain's allies - notably the French - borrowed the design. The British and French in particular worked together on mortar design throughout the war, each improving the other's designs. Eventually mortar technology had advanced to the point where mortar bombs could be thrown up to around 2 km, but these models required large crews to manoeuvre them around the battlefield. Another type of mortar - the oddly-named Vickers 1.75-inch 'toffee apple' - possessed a solid shaft surmounted by a spherical bomb. Designed to land on its nose and explode on impact, these often proved unreliable, simply breaking into two pieces on many occasions. The Canadians (namely Major-General G .L. McNaughton) invented a 91 kg mortar bomb, 9.45-inch in diameter, which the Canadian infantry nick-named the 'blind pig'. Generally unreliable and with a short range of 400 yards it nevertheless provided a boost to Canadian morale.