Poetry: Post 1900: An essay analysing ‘Strange Meeting’ by Wilfred Owen in terms of Imagery, themes and sound effects
Wilfred Owen’s poetry expresses the horrors of war through dramatic and memorable imagery, whether it’s physical or the soldiers’ inner mental torment. It allows us to feel deep pity with the young soldiers and we share resentment for the government in Britain for encouraging the war. Strange Meeting is an example of a thought provoking poem that carries complex messages regarding the soldier’s mental state. Themes include hopelessness and pity, in stanza three he says
‘Now men will go content with what we spoiled’, from ‘we’ we recognise that he himself is taking his share of the responsibility encapsulating the guilt that he and the soldiers must feel. The poem explores the idea that the enemy soldiers are just like them, holding bitter resentment towards the politicians and generals who have caused and encouraged this war, not these ordinary men. The poem’s themes include disillusionment, compassion and the need for reconciliation, we feel hopelessness due to the precise details given regarding emotions, thoughts and sights of the soldier, for example
‘…must die now, I mean the truth untold/the pity of war’, we feel pathos as the soldiers must have felt alone and that the truth would never have been told to the people back home so they can stop this meaningless brutality. The future for the living is bleak and with the rest having blood on their hands they are condemned to an everlasting sleep
‘Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were’. Owen displays profound sympathy for the young soldiers who were lured into war through government propaganda such as recruiting posters.
The imagery in this poem is very detailed and helps to convey the themes embodied particularly the horror within the poem. The image of sleep is used…...