The Trauma Of War In The Poem Dulce Et Decorum Est

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The text that I have chosen to analyze is Dulce et Decorum Est, written by Wilfred Owen in 1918. Wilfred Owen was a famous poet that revealed the vivid truth about the traumas of war, in particular, his experiences in World War I. The text can be classified as a poem, that contains four irregular versed paragraphs, with a mode of horror. Dulce et Decorum Est is about the poets personal experiences during World War I, where he was primarily based on the Western front of France. Wilfred Owen vividly describes the horrific events that he and his fellow soldiers had to encounter and witness whilst under a gas attack. The author, who acts as the primary speaker throughout the poem, explains the fatigue and exhaustion the men felt during a gas attack and how they rushed for their gas masks, to save themselves from the poisonous blast. The poet also addresses the reader and claims that if they too were to have experienced the tragedies of war and watched men die before them, they would no longer encourage their children to go to war.

Through further analysis of this text, I hope to assert that the poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, is still applicable to today’s society and the wars we are fighting. Becoming a soldier is depicted as being a heroic act, however, often it leaves people struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and, being unable to live their lives as they used to prior to war, due to the horrific events they have encountered. Therefore, I hope to draw connections between war and its impact on PTSD. The theoretical concept that is most applicable to this poem is New Historicism, as I wish to determine the relationship between the text itself and the historical importance. Also, I will make connections between the concept of subjectivity, as war leads individual subjects to sacrifice themselves for their country by placing nationalism before themselves. The research that I will be gathering includes assessing the culture and societal life during WWI, forms of propaganda that was distributed throughout WWI and compare that to the forms we see today. I will gather historical documents and biographies of those who have returned from war, alongside historical texts that represent information surrounding WWI.

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I have chosen this text because it is personal to me as my past relatives participated in WWI, thus, I wish to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of soldiers at war during this time. My previous encounters with this text, will further enhance the beginning foundations of the study. I am excited about gaining a deeper intellectual understanding of what happened to societies during WWI and establishing how the problems that occurred in the early 20th century are still applicable today. However, I am anxious about revealing the truth and severity of war on people’s ability to return to societal life.

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