How Does the Poetry of Wilfred Owen Reflect His Experiences of the First World War?

Wilfred Owen effectively replicates his experience of war in his poetry ‘The Next War’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. Owen operates a variety of sensory techniques within both poems as to illustrate the battlefield at war. A strong sense of comradery is also prevalent theme in Owen’s poetry as he attempts to connect the audience to his ideals.

Owen utilises an engaging level of sensory imagery to replicate battlefield conditions at war. The first person experience in ‘The Next War’,   “We’ve sniffed the green thick odour of his breath”, refers to the noxious gas used during warfare. The manipulation of first person accentuates the bond between himself and his memories, evoking horrific emotions. Owen then draws upon both sight and smell to describe in great degree the toxic gas that is breathed to life by death himself. This collaboration of techniques conjures a dangerous and fearful image, as the reality of Owen’s own encounter with war is very present in this line. Owen also demonstrates parallelisms to war in ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. “Stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle” intertwines auditory imagery and the consonance of the ‘r’ sound to mimic the gunfire. The fact that only the ‘r’ is highlighted denotes the deafening nature of the machine guns. Thus the sole meaning of this line revolves around guns, connoting the necessity instinctively fire at the enemy without thought an action that was a necessity to Owen. Indicating the danger of the situation as to drown out all other noises and senses and fire. Hence replicating Owen’s actions when on the battlefield. Furthermore Owen employs sensory imagery in conjunction with other literary techniques, effectively mimicking battlefield like conditions to materialise his own perception of war.

Owen manipulates language skillfully to project a strong sense of the comradery he encountered at war. Throughout ‘The Next War’ Owen continuously includes the personal pronouns; “us”, “we” and “our”. This extensive use of...