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The Send-Off

Wilfred Owen

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the send-off
Added by: meg marsden
“The Send-Off” is a poem written about WW1 soldiers leaving their homes to go off to war. It is set in a train station where a soldier is watching the new recruits boarding the train. You can tell it is written by an on looking soldier because in line 12 he says, “They were not ours”; where as previously he had been referring to them as “them”. In “The Send-Off”, Owen conveys his feelings about the war and the young soldiers going off to die. You can tell he has a very pessimistic attitude to the likelihood of the soldiers surviving. You can see this from his continual references to death, “Their breasts were stuck all stuck with wreath and spray/As men’s are, dead”.
To convey his emotions and foretelling further he uses a range of language. The actual words that he uses are quite simple, but he uses many effects to create imagery. In line 3, Owen uses the oxymoron, “grimly gay”, this gives the impression that the soldiers know what is going to happen to them and they are scared, but they put on a brave face anyway so as not to upset their families, each-other and also, if they don’t admit their fear to themselves, then maybe it will go away.
In the poem there is often para-rhym, for example, “They were not ours…who gave them flowers”. There is more often though just a normal rhyme. This rhyme scheme seems to have no particular pattern; it will start a pattern, and then change it. It starts off A, B, A, A, B, C, B, C, and carries on in the same sort of irregular patterns. Maybe Owen is trying to convey the mixed, uncertain feelings and lives that can change so quickly, with a mixed, uncertain rhyme scheme. This is the same with the rhythm; I think this is to represent, instead of the regular, ordered marching step that the army is renowned for, there is disorder and chaos. I think that he is trying to convey the truth of war.
Analysis of The send off
Added by: John Terry
This poem actually conveys a message to the readers. That war is not as glorious and honourable as it is always portrayed as. The pun in the title also shows this. The 'send-off' could mean two things. Firstly, it could mean that the soldiers were being sent off to war. However, it could also mean that the soldiers were being "sent off" to their deaths. This emphasizes the fact that war actually is not what it is portrayed to be. It is not glorious and honourable to fight in war but the people and soldiers going through it are actually filled with grieve and most soldiers do not survive in war. The pun has brought across this message to the reader. WAR IS not an honourable and glorious thing to be in.

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