The Futility of Dying for a State through Poetic Devices

The Futility of Dying for a State through Poetic Devices: “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce et Decorum Est” (1920) uses vivid imagery primarily to remove any romantic or patriotic idea that it is sweet to die for one’s country. Randall Jarrell’s “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” uses ambiguity to compare the death for the state to an abortion. Each poem presents the death of a man for his country, though with contrasting poetic devises. The poetic devises in the poems, “Dulce et Decorum Est” and “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” convey the horror and futility of dying for a state. “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” begins: “From my mother’s sleep I fell into the State And hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze” (720). The gunner is born from his mother’s warm womb into the cold State; he leaves the safety and warmth of his mother womb and falls into the dangerous state of being in the freezing belly of a high altitude bomber. The “State” is not referred to patriotically or romantically in this nature but more as cold and less than nourishing (720). In “Dulce et Decorum Est” soldiers are first reduced to a bunch of ill, hunchbacked, old bag ladies or “beggars” dreadfully struggling through the mud towards an unpleasant destination (763). Then upon signal flares they turn around and begin a long arduous walk to “distant rest” (763). Owen paints a far from romantic or patriotic view of war right from the start with his concrete images. He departs further from the patriotic view of soldiers trough stating: “Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots, But limped on, bloodshod” (763). The soldiers are not glorified. Instead, they are depicted as poorly equipped and less than potent or even competent. Owen next with concrete imagery seems to make the men beastlike and incapacitated: “All went lame, all blind; Drunk with fatigue, deaf ev…

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