8 August 2016

Compare the ways in which Wilfred Owen and Robert Frost present suffering in ‘Disabled’ and ‘Out, out-‘ Wilfred Owen was a Soldier Poet who spent time in several military hospitals after being diagnosed with neurasthenia, in some ways he can relate to the poem ‘disabled’ as he too was injured during war and later died in action. Robert Frost was born in San Francisco, and his poem also was based mainly on a true story from when he worked in a flour mill.

Both poets can relate to the poems they have written and it shows in the way they write about suffering, for only someone who has seen or been through suffering can truly appreciate the meaning of it. He tone the poet uses in ‘Disabled’ is quite bitter and regretful; he shows this by using the past to show a certain sadness and pain he is going through. The quotation ‘About this time Town used to swing so gay’ suggests that it doesn’t anymore. Whereas in ‘Out, out-‘the tone used is quite calming and eerie at the beginning.

Poetry Essay Example

For example, the line ‘Under the sunset far into Vermont’ lulling the reader into a false sense of security. This suddenly changes to a tone of panic in the line ‘Don’t let him, sister! ’ Therefore the suffering here is shown to be unexpected. Frost shows that suffering is something to be afraid of in ’Out, out-‘as the boy cries ‘don’t let him cut my hand off’. The panic shown by the boy owing to the thought of losing a limb indicates that he is afraid of losing his hand, due to the suffering the loss of a limb will bring to him in the future.

This is shown in ‘Disabled’ as Owen shows the effect that a loss of limb can have on both physical and mental suffering. Owen’s view of suffering can contrast with Frosts portrayal of it. In disabled it would seem that although suffering is something to be feared, the narrator has learned to live alongside it- despite how hard it is. In the line ‘ Now, he will spend a few sick years in Institutes’ Owen suggests that his disability, and the effects it will have on his life are something he has come to terms with and now lives alongside suffering without protest, realising his destiny.

The zoomorphism of the buzz saw in ‘Out, out-‘ ,shown in the line ‘ the buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard’ is the poet wanting to blame something other than the boy for the cause of the suffering. This would suggest that no one wants the blame for suffering thereby showing that suffering is bad and to be avoided. By contrast, Owen does not use much personification. This could indicate that the poet believes suffering can be blamed on just one person. In this case

it was entirely the fault of his egotistical younger self trying to win the attention of ‘his Meg’. However, even though we know that he is to blame for his suffering, we also sympathise with him as the narrator himself realises and regrets his careless decisions. Frosts portrayal of suffering, however harsh, is a common occurrence- he shows this in the attitude of the relatives. He does this by showing the callous reactions of the friends and family present at the boy’s death in the line ‘and they, since they were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

’ The fact they return so quickly to their ‘affairs’ without a period of mourning indicates that they are desensitised to such pain and suffering owing to a long exposure of it, meaning it is a common occurrence. Owen focuses more on the narrators view of suffering; by doing this the narrator appears quite self-centred in the way he only talks of his suffering and not the thousands of other killed and wounded from the war, but how he is feeling sorry for himself.

The carefree attitude of the narrator when talking about his past self in ‘Disabled’ as shown in the line ‘smiling they wrote his lie’ shows that suffering can only truly be feared once you have experienced it. This is because despite the fact that he is marching to war and death, he is cheerful and not thinking of the possibility of getting wounded, because suffering is not yet something he has learnt to fear. And also the good points he has given himself for going to war, such as the ‘ jewelled hilts for daggers’ has overweighed and almost numbed him against the idea of suffering.

The representation of the disabled man in past, present and future presents suffering as something that changes your life entirely. The man represented before the war as a carefree young man who dreamed of ‘jewelled hilts for daggers’, but after the war and suffering he has given up and is simply waiting for death to take him- there is nothing left to live for in his eyes. This means suffering is something that both ages you and changes your outlook on life.

For even though it is only a year since he joined the army ‘Now, he is old’. However, in ‘Out, out-‘, there is only the present because there is no future for the boy as he is dead, so we cannot make a comparison here. The poet Owen uses suffering to come across as a life draining force. This is represented in the lines ‘ghastly suit of grey’ and ‘he’s lost his colour very far from here, poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry’.

This loss of colour is a metaphor for the life and vigour lost owing to his suffering. This is emphasised by the line ‘And leap of purple spurted from his thigh. ’, contrasting the vivid colour of his youth that drained away so that all that is left is his blank ‘grey’ colouring now. Overall, in both ‘Disabled’ and ‘Out, out-‘suffering is portrayed as one of the harsh truths of life-that you can either let it consume you and take over your life, like the narrator in ‘Disabled’ or you can move on from it like the friends and family did in ‘Out, out-‘.

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