Disabled

Disabled Critique

The man in the poem is a man who is physically and emotionally scarred. It is clear he no longer lives a normal life, the poem constantly draws on contrasts between the now and then of his life. His existence is a fraction of what it once was. Owen emphasises this idea through his irregular stanza structure; the metre and rhyme is not consistent and this reflects the emotional turmoil of his subject. The contrast between being whole and disabled is apparent, his life now revolves around a hospital bed and a ‘wheeled chair’. Feelings of alienation are juxtaposed with the camaraderie experienced before the war. The smiling boy becomes a limbless victim of the atrocities of war. The man painfully accepts that he is trapped in this pitiful existence. A man once capable and in the prime of his life, is now reliant on others for everything. His dignity is gone, his happiness is gone, his opportunities gone. Owen forces us to see the horrific consequences of war on the young men who blindly enlisted for some ‘false glory’. Where is the glory now?

Concerns/Themes:

Loss and Waste

  • Owen’s disabled figure yearns for the ‘dark’. A protective cover to shield his limbless form.
  • The mutilated soldier has lost all his physical beauty, we become aware of him as a fellow human being through his emotions. The yearning for what once was, this makes him real, rather than dehumanised. A challenging thought.

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