Owen Vs Whitman

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Cynthia Cahya Miss Wittig Honors English 10 10 November 2014 War Glass half full. Glass half empty. Life is all about perspectives, and war is no different. Walt Whitman and Wilfred Owen were two men who experienced the course of war and in the end had two very different perspectives about war. These different perspectives resulted in Whitman writing “O Captain! My Captain!” to celebrate death and honor Abraham Lincoln, while Owen writes “Dulce et Decorum est” to warn that war is falsely glorified. Whitman and Owen use contrasting imagery and allusions to convey their distinct themes about death. Both men were involved in the war but their roles in the war differed, greatly affecting their outlook on war and death. Walt Whitman never actually…show more content…
Owen chillingly describes a battle scene in the third stanza to tactically pull the audience through the grim reality of life in a battle zone, and turning patriotic fervor into a kind of deadly life force, “If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud. Of vile incurable sores on innocent tongues… Dulce et Decorum est”(Owens 21 - 24). In these lines the reader visibly sees the grotesque disfiguration of the soldiers moments before their death and then suddenly contradicts himself by saying it is sweet and fitting to die for your country. Using morbid word choice like “blood”, “gargling”, “froth-corrupted”, “cancer”, “bitter”, and “vile incurable sore”, Owen focuses on the ways that bodies get distorted by warfare. Emphasizing the ways in which men break under the stresses of war, Owens creates a battle zone peopled by the walking dead. This appalling image is emphasized by Owens contrast of citing death as being sweet and fitting. Owens uses the contrast of these two ideas to create an ironic tone, mocking those who believe that dying is truly sweet and fitting. The contrast created really underscores how the people at home are not able to comprehend how atrocious life on the battle field truly is. The soldiers…show more content…
In this poem, the Captain is an allusion to Abraham Lincoln. Whitman uses this poem to acknowledge Abraham Lincoln as the leader of their country, who held the nation together through the worst crisis in its history. He led the country to victory, and won the civil war, and ended the institution of slavery. He is viewed, not only in the speaker’s eyes, but also in the eyes of the nation, as the savior of the American union and the great emancipator. Whitman is ultimately communicating his own appreciation for Lincoln with the reader through the speaker’s admiration and love for Abraham Lincoln, and his grief of his death. In his allusion to Abraham Lincoln, Whitman has nothing but praise for the president, recognizing that Abraham Lincoln made the greatest sacrifice for his country. Walt Whitman speaks not only for himself, but also for his whole nation when he says Abraham Lincoln is the savior of their nation, and they celebrate his death by embracing him as their

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