Wilfred Owen Dedicated 'Dulce et Decorum Est' to Jessie Pope. How successful was he in exposing her ignorance of the grim realities of war as expressed in her poem 'Who's for the Game'

Essay by manutd4evaHigh School, 11th gradeB, March 2006

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Although both 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Who's for the Game' were written during the great war, both poem had opposing view points. Both Wilfred Owen and Jessie Pope were inspired to write due to the war but Wilfred Owen fought in the western front while Jessie Pope stayed in the comfort of the home front. 'Who's for the Game' gave young men false impressions of war while 'Dulce et Decorum Est' showed readers the grim realities of war.

Jessie Pope's 'Who's for the Game was written to recruit young men into the army. The poem made war sound like a fun sport game shown in this quotation "Who's for the game, the biggest that's played, The red crashing game of a fight?" This is of course way off what war is really like. The poem also gives young men the impression of war as a sport shown in this quote "Who'll toe the line for the signal to 'GO!?".

She also says that "Who knows it wont be a picnic -not much- who would much rather come back with a crutch, than lie low and be out of fun?" this is of course completely different to the true realities of war since war is nothing like sports.

Jessie Pope's 'Who's for the Game' is written in a very chatty style and friendly to reach her readers. Her poem also has many questions which makes the reader really consider what the poem is telling them. In a way she also blackmails her readers since it will make them feel a bit guilty if they didn't join the army.

'Dulce et Decorum Est' was written from Wilfred Owen's own first hand experience in the western front. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' itself is often found on gravestones and it basically latin meaning this person died while serving his/her country. The poem tells us that fighting in the war was absolutely terrifying and exhausting. This quote shows how exhausted the soldiers were "Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge." And "Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to hoots". A lot of soldiers also got shell-shocked since it says " Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs." The main part if the poem is about a gas attack and what he felt afterwards. During the gas attack he showed us there was great panic as soldiers tried to get the gas masks on but they are really clumsy in doing so as shown in this quote "Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -An ecstasy of fumbling, Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time". He also shows us how terrifying by describing watching a young soldier dying during a gas attack " But someone still was yelling out and stumbling and floundering like a man in fire or lime." The speaker also tell us about the after shocks of war " In all my dreams before my helpless sight" this shows how much war has affected him. Even in his dreams he sees a soldier just like himself begging for help but yet like in real life there was nothing he could've done to help the soldier.

In 'Dulce et Decorum Est' Wilfred Owen style is very vivid and very descriptive which really shows the readers the reality of what war was like. There was one particular quote the really stuck in my head "His hanging face, like a devil sick of sin; if you could hear at every jolt, the blood gargling from the froth corrupted lungs, bitter as the cud". The quote showed me what a dying soldier would look like it was a condition where the blood and flesh of the soldier is coming out from his mouth, it also calls it a devil sick of sin since it was so disturbing that even the devil would be sick of it. The ending do 'Dulce et Decorum Est' is also very strong " The old lie: Dulce et Decorum Est ", this really made me remember the message he was trying to get across.

In my opinion Wilfred Owen was very successful in exposing Jessie Pope's ignorance towards war. The images describes in his poems really overshadows her pleas to young men. 'Dulce et Decorum Est' also shows us that in no way is war like a game. From reading the two poems I'm greatly affected by 'Dulce et Decorum Est' since it brought so much truth because its authentic (written by real soldier fighting). My view is that war is very pointless and cruel and things should be better with little or no violence.