‘Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘Out Out’ by Robert Frost
‘Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen is about the topic of war and a young man joining the army, unaware of the consequences that would follow. Owen describes the gruesome realities of what war holds, using a range of graphic images which stick in the reader’s mind. ‘Out Out’ by Robert Frost is about a young boy who accidentally cuts his hand off with a saw while being distracted by his sister on a farm in America. Frost previously lived on a farm; this maybe is based indirectly on the suffering of men in the war. We can already see both poems contain injuries which are described clearly, and both poems already have the subject of death. We can also see that one poem is set in war time whereas the other is set on a farm in America.
Starting of the poem Owen suggests the feeling of sadness with an intense, depressing and gloomy atmosphere of “boys voices” that “rang saddening like a hymn” whilst the character himself “shivered in his ghastly suit of grey”. Owen also suggests this sadness by creating sympathy towards the character by contrasting life before and after the war. In addition, he adds in the idea that war is shameful as Owen contrasts the stereotypes of war, the character had initially through listing the “jewelled hilts for daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes, Esprit de corps” to signify that war is the opposite of his initial thought. Sadness is also created through the realization that the character had himself “threw away his knees” – which shows that he is responsible and he knows it and is living with this terrible and depressing feeling that it was his fault. Owen’s ‘Disabled’, similar to Frost’s ‘Out Out’ also portrays the theme of regret but it is clearly more frequent in ‘Out Out’. In ‘Disabled’ Owen portrays the character’s regret by mainly contrasting before and after the person’s life. However the regret that is shown in the poem is mainly how the character is disappointed with himself for letting it happen, he regrets the stupid reasons that made him join war, he also regrets how he tried to impress the “giddy jilts” the girls of low value instead of thinking about his life and the dangers he was putting himself under. The poem can be quite powerful in how the character lists all his reasons and thoughts on war, some he could not even remember clearly as he “wonders why he asked to join” proving to himself that his reasons were stupid and clueless, as he can’t remember. In the passage there are a lot of pauses to slow down the extract contrasting with how he also listed the decisions he took too fast which could show that he has now matured and grown as a person, he has regrets as he has time to think over.
In addition to how he “poured it down shell holes till veins ran dry”, ‘it’, which is his liveliness and his colour, his life as a young man, Owen describes as “half his life” had been wasted in the “hot race” because now the character has to spend “a few sick years in institutes, isolated from the community and that of his past”. Again a sense of sadness is generated by the way he is treated now from his friends and community as well as how this had contrast with how he was treated before when he was young and popular and although the character is still young, he has already had great trauma and events that no man of his age should ever encounter, as is in the poem from the fact that Owen states “Now, he is old, He’s lost his colour very far from here - and half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race and leap of purple spurted from his thigh”. In the third stanza there is a sickening image, there is also further evidence that not only has the character aged in his head, but he has also aged physically as “his back will never brace”, another condition for the elderly and not for a young man in which is arguably his prime. This is also ironic as he did this to himself, it makes this even more tragic in a sense that it was his