Wilfred Owen recognised that poetry is a powerful medium by which one can convey messages that allow the responder to reflect upon human experiences. He wished to show the experiences of war by composing very confronting poetry. His mastery of recreating the appalling conditions of war, and its resultant trauma, both physical and mental, have a significant impact on the reader, forcing them to see, as Owen stated, "the pity of war." This is particularly evident in his poems, “Disabled” and “Dulce Et Decorum Est” which elucidate the horror of war, leaving the reader in no doubt that war is not glorious, war is hell. These poems, written by a person who had first-hand experience of the battle front during World War One, are authentic and thus very powerful, creating a significant impact upon the responder, making them feel great sorrow, bitterness and raising awareness of the deception of the propaganda of his time.
Owen deliberately creates disturbing images to depict the suffering and cruelty of war, and reveals that sadly, it was experienced by many youths who were hardly equipped to deal with such horror. In “Disabled” Owen reveals the naivety and innocence of these youths, as, "Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts". The boy in the poem, as representative of most youth who enlisted, joins the army for reasons of vanity, and he does not know, "fears of Fear," yet. He is handsome and admired for his athleticism as he was "carried shoulder high" after scoring goals. But, as Owen shows, war takes away one's youth: "he's lost his colour very far from here" and the government officials who allowed him to enlist, knowing that he was underage, as "smiling, they wrote his lie" are responsible for this. They are part of the great deception of the propaganda at the time, misleading and lying to the boys. Once "an artist silly for his face" he is now "old, his back will never brace", the use of contrast confronting as the responder sees that within a year, war took away everything. And worse, while he is now in a "wheeled chair, waiting for dark", he not only has physical injuries but psychological ones.
In a confronting manner, the poet shows that war also leaves mental scars as we see that society rejects the boy in "Disabled" as "Now he will never feel again slim/Girls' waists are". Ironically, he joins to "please the giddy jilts" and now, he notices "how the women's eyes/Passed from him to the men that were whole." The word "whole" encapsulates much of what war takes away. Though he is missing limbs and will never play football again, he is also mentally traumatised, as alienation from society, and exclusion from the admiration he once had from his peers, is heartbreaking. Owen uses colours very effectively to elucidate the nature of war: the "glow - lamps" and "purple" now replaced by "ghastly suit of grey" and "darkness." Ironically, society approved of his football ability far more than his sacrifice for his country as "Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer/Goal," illuminating the shallowness of society and adding to the great sorrow Owen makes us feel. This pathos is further reinforced by the repetition of “Why don’t they come?” which shows the boy's dependence on the nurses as he is now helpless, another contrast to his once athletic prowess. It is a rhetorical question that challenges readers. War takes away one's youth and life as now he can only wait for "dark". Consequently, these confronting images have a very significant impact upon the reader, forcing us to see the reality of war, and sharing in Owen's bitter feelings towards those who orchestrated deceptive propaganda campaigns.
Similarly, in “Dulce Et Decorum Est”, Owen creates very confronting images designed to evoke a response. As in "Disabled", instead of being considered a hero, the soldier is seen as someone who is less than human, referred to by the…