(Wilfred Owen) --- Compare "Mental Cases" and "Disabled" and explain the differing feelings which Owen expresses and what your reactions to them are.

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Both "Mental Cases" and "Disabled" are anti-war poems evoking vivid and sometimes shocking emotions. Owen shows a less pleasant side to "The Great War" in his typical fashion. "Disabled" paints a vivid picture of a young man's misfortune and shows the contrast between his old life - full of hope - and his new life, in which he has no hope. "Mental Cases", on the other hand, outlines the mental effects of the war, with strikingly vivid images.


"Disabled" begins with a description of a man in a wheel-chair. He is described as wearing a "ghastly suit of grey" which is "Legless, sewn short at the elbow". This bluntly makes apparent the fact that this man has lost his legs and parts of his arms. He hears the "Voices of play and pleasure" but he is far removed from them. He has no pleasure, now.

On lines 11 and 12 Owen describes how the man used to experience girls - "how slim // Girl's waists are or how warm their subtle hands". That was, however, "before he threw away his knees." This is another blunt remark - a little detached and objective but straight to the point. Now, girls "touch him like some queer disease." He is now no longer an attractive young man but he seems almost like a repulsive old man. While last year he appeared "younger than his youth", "Now he is old". The irony in him now being the disgust of girls now is that he actually went to war to impress the women - "to please his Meg".

"Someone said he'd look a god in kilts"

Now he looks like anything but a god.

The vivid image of the man being horribly wounded in the trenches is conjured by...