Critical appraisal of 'futility', poem by wilfrid owen concerning the war-comparisons weaved in from other poems by Owen, Brooke and Pope.

Essay by Jaffar October 2003

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Critical Appraisal of 'Futility'

Jaffar Al-Rikabi 12 - 2

"Do they matter? -those dreams from the pit? ...

You can drink and forget and be glad,

And people won't say that you're mad..."

Siegfried Sassoon, "Does it matter?"

August 1914, Britain declares war on Germany and the First World War begins. A war that brings about the deaths of millions of men, the destruction of land to a scale unseen before, and after four years of fighting, the war ends, the reasons as to why it happened still baffles all, yet the effects it had on people were so shockingly clear, yet very few people could absorb it, or even accept it ever happened.

Most people in Britain welcomed the start of the war. The feelings of excitement, patriotism, and a sense of duty and the romantic ideas of what war would be like persuaded many to join. People were constantly fed propaganda about what war is like and how it will affect a person, while the true effects were only discovered on the battlefield by soldiers who never came back.

For those who came back with severe injuries the trauma was not over. They came back only to find that the mood of the British people had changed, indeed, there was to be no cheering for those who risked their lives fighting for it; they came back only to find that society would rather forget what happened during these years...that society no longer cares. It is the physical trauma that these men suffered during the war and the psychological trauma they suffered on their return back that Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon became renowned to write about; their poems are a stark contrast to that of Jessie Pope's "who's for the Game?" and Rupert Brooke's "Peace", two...