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					Disabled


Wilfred Owen
                                                                 Adjectives to show
                                                                      sadness
      HE not named, as he is one
               of many




He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,
And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,
Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.
                                                               Alliteration

  Repetition
                     The immediate appearance of 'dark', 'grey' , and 'shivered' sets
                     up the isolation of the wounded soldier. It strikes a strong
                     comparison to the warmth of the second stanza.
'before he threw away his knees' (L.10) The implication that this was a needless loss
(sacrifice) is reinforced by Ll.23-4 where the wounded soldier fails to remember why he
joined up, pointing only to a distant sense of duty, and euphoria after the football match.
                                                     'glow-lamps' and 'girls glanced' (L.8 & L9)
'Now he will never feel again how slim/              Both are linked effectively by the use of
Girls' waists are' (L.11 & L.12) Showing not         alliteration.
only the physical loss of his arm, but also the
psychological scars as the soldier knows he
will be shunned by women from now on.                                 Alliteration –
                                                                      show Beauty

    About this time Town used to swing so gay
    When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees
    And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,
    — In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
    Now he will never feel again how slim
    Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
    All of them touch him like some queer disease.
                                                          The results of his disability
'younger than his youth' (L.15) The reversal is total. The implication is that his face is
now older than his youth.
'He's lost his colour very far from here' (L.17) this line is an example of one of the
great memorable lines written by Owen. It is an example of 'deliberate, intense
understatements – the brave man's only answer to a hell which no epic words could
express…



  There was an artist silly for his face,
  For it was younger than his youth, last year.
  Now he is old; his back will never brace;
  He's lost his colour very far from here,
  Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,
  And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race,
  And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.
' a bloodsmear down his leg,/After the matches, carried shoulder-high' (L.21 & L.22)
Again Owen uses irony effectively here. We are already aware that the soldier has lost an arm
and his legs, yet we are told that before the War he felt proud to have an injury (obtained on the
football field), and to be carried shoulder-high (as a celebration as opposed to helplessness).
Concept of reversal is again used: sporting hero to cripple, handsome to 'queer disease' (L.13),
colour to dark, warmth to cold.

One time he liked a bloodsmear down his leg,
After the matches carried shoulder-high.                                  'giddy jilts‘ L.27)
It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,                             Scottish term for a
                                                                          young woman.
He thought he'd better join. He wonders why . . .                         'Smiling they wrote his
Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts.                                lie: aged nineteen
That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,                            years' (L.29) The
                                                                          sadness of the
Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts,                              soldier's plight is
He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;                                  heightened. Clearly he
Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years.                          was under-aged when
                                                                          he enlisted and
  'a god in kilts' (L.25) An indication that the                          therefore is still young.
  soldier was a member of one of the Scottish
  regiments (repeated in ll.32-6). Also implies
  that he joined up for reasons of vanity.
Germans he scarcely thought of; and no fears
Of Fear came yet. He thought of jewelled hilts
For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;
And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;
Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.
And soon, he was drafted out with drums and
cheers.


 Another indication that the soldier was a member of one of the
 Scottish regiments (repeated in ll.32-6).
   'Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal' (L.37)
   Recalls the image of the football match earlier. L.22 implies that he was carried
   from the field shoulder-high, possibly as the result of scoring the winning goal.
   Here, despite having achieved far more, for far greater a loss than a 'blood-
   smeared leg', the crowd's reception is more hollow.




Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.
Only a solemn man who brought him fruits
Thanked him; and then inquired about his soul.
                                                                     Minister/Priest?


     Several recruiting posters used the motif of linking sport
     to the army, and there were numerous recruiting drives
     at soccer matches.
'do what things the rules consider wise' (L.41) The soldier's meekness is complete. The fine
young athlete has been reduced to a state of dependency on others and helplessness
(heightened by the pitiful closing repetition of 'Why don't they come?'). The stanza has him
waiting for others to do things for him, he 'spends a few sick years', 'takes whatever pity' others
choose to offer him; he is passed over by the women's attentions, as he bemoans the cold and
hopes that someone will put him to bed. 'Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes/Passed
from him to the strong men that were whole' (L.43 & L.44)Repeating what the soldier has lost,
this time in his attractiveness to the opposite sex. 'Whole' implying that he is incomplete, less
than a man.


   Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes,
   And do what things the rules consider wise,
   And take whatever pity they may dole.
   To-night he noticed how the womens‘ eyes
   Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.
   How cold and late it is! Why don't they come
   And put him into bed? Why don't they come?
 Repetition – shows how dependent he is on
 them and has to wait for the orderlies/nurses                     Exclamation for emphasis
Disabled by Wilfred Owen – example essay!
I think that in the poem ‗Disabled‘, Wilfred Owen is trying to convey
the real tragedy of war. Many people think only of those killed but
reading the poem you remember that many people who were not
killed in the war could still have suffered a lot more. In the poem
Owen focuses on one young man, a single victim of war. It shows the
effect the war has on the young man's life, when on returning from
the war he has been maimed "legless, sewn short at elbow“

Owen writes the poem with style. He uses the recruit’s contrasting
memories and new views to create the war victim's true feelings
"About this time town used to swing so gay", "He thought be better
join in" - he wonders why. "Voices of boys rang saddening like a
hymn“.

Where is the Explanation?
The poem also illustrates how his lifestyle changed dramatically.
He was once a great athlete, popular with the girls but now he is
in a wheelchair, "they touch him like a queer disease", and he
notices how "their eyes pass from him to the strong men that
were whole".
Explanation?

An artist was once eager to paint him but "Now he is old, his back
will never brace; he‘s lost his colour very far from home". He was
quite obviously attracted to joining for all the wrong reasons "It
was after the football, when he‘d drunk a peg", " Someone had said
he‘d look “a God in kilts", "to please his Meg". All these reasons
were encouraged by official recruiting propaganda "Smiling they
wrote his lie, aged nineteen years".
When he departed for war he was treated like a hero
but peoples' reactions were different on his arrival
home, "Some cheered him home, but not as crowds
cheer goals". Only one person thanked him. The war
took away everything in this young man's life and
‗Now he will spend a few sick years in Institutes".
             Essay

• Think of a poem about an incident
  that changed a person‘s life forever.
  Show how the poet contrasts life for
  the subject of the poem before and
  after the incident.
           Remember!
• POINT – make it!
• EVIDENCE – prove it!
• EXPLANATION – tell me WHY you make
  this point
  Think of a poem about an incident that
  changed a person‘s life forever. Show how the
  poet contrasts life for the subject of the poem
  before and after the incident.

‗Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen is a poem about a
young man who is disabled during the First
World War and shows how his life changes for
the worst afterwards. Before the war he is a fit
young athlete, popular with the girls and good
looking. Afterwards he is confined to a
wheelchair, dependent on nurses to care for him
at their convenience and ignored by the girls
and other people.
At the beginning of the poem we see the young
man in a wheelchair, waiting for dark, shivering
and listening to the sounds of boys playing; he
remembers the things he used to be able to do
and his lifestyle before the war.
OR:
At the beginning of the poem we see the young
man ―sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark‖
shivering and listening to the sounds of boys
playing; something he used to be able to do
before his injuries.
He is not named in the poem and this
emphasises the fact that there are so many of
these crippled soldiers. The use of adjectives
such as 'dark', 'grey' , and 'shivered' shows the
isolation of the wounded soldier. It strikes a
strong comparison to the warmth of the second
verse.
Point: Before his injuries, the soldier used to go down
town and enjoy himself with his friends. Evidence: When
down ‗Town which used to swing so gay‘ he would watch
the girls who would ‗glance lovelier as the air grew dim‘ but
now he remembers that he has since thrown ‗away his
knees‘ which implies it was a foolish thing he did and that
as a result he will never again feel ‗how slim girls' waists
are, or how warm their subtle hands‖ Explanation: As a
result of his becoming crippled he is now ignored by the
girls as if he has ‗some queer disease‘ and begins to
remember the reasons why he joined the Army in the first
place. (This links to the next paragraph about why he
joined – vanity, drunk and wanting to please his girlfriend
Meg)