Wilfred Own and Siegfried Owen where victims of the war which did survive the war, but mentally they were experiencing a very emotional breakdown. Neither of the poets are anti-war per se, but they do portray a negative attitude towards their involvement in war. They share mutual feelings towards their hardships, and each use their own perspective, style and method of illustrating the grotesque brutality of the battlefield for the British people who stayed at home. The language used in poetry is very important as the message is sent through it depending on who the poet intended the audience to be.
Owen uses a more complex choice of words, with many personification, similes and metaphors throughout his work. “Monstrous anger of the guns” and “The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells” are both from Anthem of a Doomed Youth, and it displays how his selections of words are having a strong negative connotation as the audience reads it. He intends to shown the horrors and cruelty of war through bringing weapons to a human level, yet making them seem inhuman and diabolical. On the contrary, Sassoon is known for his simplicity, yet effective language.
Most of his poems, including Survivors, How To Die, and They are straight to the point. His intention is to deliberately use colloquial language in order to view the gruesome horrendous reality of war to a larger audience. This is because the British, including Sassoon before going to war, thought that war was associated with pride, honour and courage, but the truth is far beyond what people perceive, which has drawn thousands and millions of soldiers in metal hospitals from the aftermaths of it.
Shifting from different tones and events in a poem reflects how the author feels about the situation and how they want to illustrate their message. Sassoon uses a more stable way of writing his poems, as he describes the specific event or situation in chronological order. He makes sure the audience can clearly see the different stages, as if they were to experience it, which is effective as he takes you through the whole procedure. However, Owen has a more abrupt style.
He shifts back and forth from memories during the war, to before the war, to after the war. There is no set approach. In Disabled, it is seen throughout the poem that Owen shifts from different time periods over and over again, and it is intended to create a more effective image when contrasting his joyous life before war and the misery he had to go through during and after the war. In addition, his experience of the chaotic battlefield is reflected through the vigorous shifts.
Both poets have written poems from a different angle. Sassoon’s poems talk about the ignorance of the people who did not go to war, and if they even truly sympathize the sacrifice of the soldiers, who sacrificed their innocence and youth to the frontline of the troops. “No doubt they’ll soon get well; the shock and strain” and “their dreams that drip with murder, and they’ll be proud” are lines of Survivors and Sassoon wrote that line from the perspective of the public.
It portrays the ignorance mixed with denial of the situation as the mentally and physically scarred soldiers think they can heal from the aftershock of the war, but result in ending up in the Craiglockhart mental hospital from the eternal nightmares of war. Owen, on the contrast, displays his poems on a more personal perspective. Loneliness is a common feeling that Owen expresses throughout his poem, and how he can never go back to be the person he was. “Tonight he noticed how the women’s eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole…
Why don’t they come? ” He is miserable and mad from no longer be given attention from women, and how he knows they will no longer flirt, look or want to be with him like they did before as he is no longer considered a whole. To Owen, going to war meant being honorable for dying for your own country as “Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori” describes, but as he experiences life after the war, he finds out that his youth and liveliness is forever demolished, costing him the rest of his whole isolated and solitary life.
In conclusion, Owen and Sassoon explored the idea of war extremely differently throughout their works in regards to their attitudes, approach, and style. That portrays their opinions and feelings towards the First World War. Owen leaned towards the anger of reactions of people towards him after the war, whilst Sassoon leaned towards the anger of how war is portrayed differently than what it actually is. Whichever angle and perspectives both poets experienced through their journey of being at war, they both resulted in ending up at the same place, Craiglockhart mental hospital.