Wilfred Owen: Poems

Is my speech good? The Next War by Wilfred Owen

I have an assigment on this poem and it is an oral presentation with visual aid. ie. Powerpoint. I was just wondering if my speech is any good. I have asked you guys again as I recieved a very quick and excellent response from you only a few days ago. Please evaluate the write up and tell me of any errors or things to fix up. THANK YOU so much. Here it is:

English Speech

When you hear ‘death’ you think of pain and suffering. The poem The Next War by Wilfred Owen shows the exact opposite. Death is now a friend, a companion, an ‘old chum’. This may sound ridiculous, although if you think about it, a soldier at war has to be close to and aware of death, as it may even be the best outcome.

Good afternoon class my name is Kade and today I will be analyzing Wilfred Owen’s poem, The Next War. Wilfred Owen is an expert at describing the horror experienced on the battlefield. He uses a number of poetic techniques in this poem to interpret a soldiers’ relationship with death.

Many of his poems, particularly this one, introduce a social and ethical issue. This poem draws attention to the subject of war and its devastating effects. Owen emphasizes this issue in the last line “He wars on death – for lives; not men – for flags.” By this he asks; what are we really fighting for? Peace or territory? Are 'flags' worth the sacrifice of one life let alone millions? These are the questions that Owen wanted his audience asking. The content of the poem is fairly graphic, and metaphorically describes the torment faced at war.

Wilfred Owen always sets the mood to match the theme. The theme of this poem is a look into the future where men would war against death to save lives. In The Next War, he has used emotive language and powerful words to emphasize the theme. The mood or tone is set in the very first line; “Out there, we’ve walked quite friendly up to death”, ‘quite friendly’? Isn’t death the enemy? This clear contradiction is written with the intention of almost confusing the reader. It sets a strange mood of surreal dominance, over death, that is. The line means that a soldier is so fond of death and the feeling of danger. The Next War is a great example of a poem that has made the mood or tone match the theme.

Poetic techniques are what Wilfred Owen is famous for. Owen has an eloquent style and uses these poetic elements to communicate his criticism of war and its psychological effects. Throughout The Next War there is an extended metaphor that humanizes death. Death is not often personified, but Owen uses this concept to communicate the meaning.

In Owens’s eyes, death can be casually walked up to, sat down beside, eaten with. A meal with Death! What a symbolic act of sociality and fellowship. Death's table manners may not be of the best ('spilling mess tins in our hand') but still 'we laughed at him', more than that, we 'leagued with him' as if after all to a soldier, they might be on the same side. He also uses imagery, symbolism, alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphors, and figurative language. Imagery and symbolism are intended to set an atmosphere in this poem. Lines 4, 5, and 8 are the probably most effective at giving the reader an image. “We’ve sniffed the green thick odour of his breath” and “Our eyes wept, but our courage didn’t writhe” are obvious references to the torment suffered in the gassings of The First World War. “We whistled while he shaved us with his scythe.” Shaved by death’s scythe... What a statement, to come that close to dying and at the same time be ‘whistling’. In this poem, Owen has effectively used poetic techniques and elements.

Wilfred Owen’s success really comes down to his creativity. He was very talented at communicating his beliefs in a poem. Owen had that edge of experience that many other poets of his time did not. His talent is highlighted in The Next War as it shows what he is really capable of. His ability to bring attention to an issue, use the mood to enhance the theme, and his use of poetic elements are all factors that contribute to his success.

Thank you for listening.

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I don't know who responded to you a few days ago, but this is a short question and answer forum. Gradesaver has a separate editing service available purely for this purpose. The tab to link the editing service can be found at the top of this page. Good luck with your speech!