Wilfred Owen: Poems

Commentary on the Poem “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen 12th Grade

The poem “Disabled” by Wilfred Owen was written during World War I in 1917. Owen writes from the perspective of a double-amputee veteran from whom the battlefield took away all appreciation for life. This persona decides to reflect upon the various reasons that made him enroll. In this poem, the persona presents the effects of war on young male adults sent to war: their loss of physical abilities, innocence and youth, as well as society’s insufficient recognition of their actions during the war. It could be suggested that the author is exploring the theme of the futility of war and critique of society. The universal theme embedded in the poem is the separation that war creates between those who stayed at home and those who fought: the so-called “two nation” effect. In order to convey these themes, the author employs structure, characterization, setting, contrasts and diction.

The title of the poem is significant and reveals the “two nations” theme. It is the disability of the figure that sets him apart from the others; it is the reason why he will never be able to feel the pleasures of life again. This is highlighted by the fact that “women’s eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole” (line 44). The use of the word...

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