Comparison of Poems Disabled and Who for the Game

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This sample essay on Who’s Game offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and the conclusion are provided below.

The two poems I have chosen are ‘Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen and ‘Who’s for the game’ by Jessie Pope. Both Poems are set around the war but they show very different perspectives. In Disabled, Owen tells the story of a young man from the Scottish Regiment who was a fellow patient in the hospital Owen was sent to after suffering from shell shock.

Owen was very disillusioned with the idea of war and wrote to show people the truth and obliterate the image of war created by propaganda.

Pope was a member of the ‘White Feather Brigade’, as they were known. Women who felt it was their duty to their country to send their men to war. Any woman who was seen out with a man not in uniform was labelled a traitor; men who did not join up were presented with white feathers as a symbol of their cowardice.

Pope’s work was much a piece of the propaganda Owen was standing up against. She was calling the men of Britain to arms.

The first thing to strike the reader would be the difference in mood between the two pieces; Owens work is melancholy the tale of one man contemplating his wasted life. In the second line he talks of his ghastly suit of grey, this could refer to his demob’ suit or more likely the mood of the subject.

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Whereas Pope’s poem is very light almost like a song, the language is simple in order to reach a wider audience.

The boy in Disabled is looking back at his vanity with regret. He appears to spend his time waiting for each day to end as if he was just waiting to die. He hears children at play they only serve as a reminder of what he has lost; he was little more than a child when he joined the war. As evening draws in he remembers the way the town came to life at night, again this is painful he will never again come to life and dance and be happy.

Pope refers to the war as a game and a fight, this could be interpreted as a call to children, which indeed happened, the character in disabled admits that he was underage when he enlisted, no-one seemed to care. They just smiled and wrote his lie. The two poems also refer to sport although in different ways. Pope asks who wants a turn in the show and mentions those who do not join in as being left in the stands possibly the football stands for spectators.

In the fourth and sixth stanza Owen refers to his subjects love of football. How he was carried off the field victorious with a wound to the leg. The fact that he was also carried off the battlefield with leg injuries, but this time he lost his limbs suggests that Pope is wrong to belittle war and its horrors war is not a game and it certainly is not childs play.

Pope is asking her audience to see the war as glamorous which indeed is what Owen’s character did he admits to enlisting to impress, he wanted to attract the girls. He was told he would look good in uniform, he speaks of his good looks, of his vanity. At this point he had no fear, he had no cares he was not afraid of anything. He wanted the fame and the glamour that people like Pope were offering. He didn’t think about the people he would be fighting against. He had nothing personal against them they were just enemy.

Pope uses personification to refer to Britain as a woman. Indeed she is asking the men to join up and protect her as a man should protect his woman. An act of chivalry! Pope is taunting the men, if they do not enlist and fight for their country they are not men, they are cowards. At the end of the poem when she asks if they will stand and bite their thumbs, it may be suggested that she is likening them to babies sucking their thumbs.

Pope mentions a crutch as if it may be a souvenir, one could be forgiven for wondering how the boy in disabled might feel hearing this, he has his souvenir of war. A suit without legs which has the sleeves sewn short at the elbow. He threw his limbs and his life away for his country, as did so many others. He did as he was asked what has he got to show for it?

Pope uses repetition in the second stanza to emphasise the fact that their country needed help she needed men in the ranks, Pope questions the men and boys repeatedly as if waiting for an answer. Pope mentions the celebrations as the boys are sent off. Owens boy knew all about that but the return was very different.

He went away a young boy and returned an old man, he will never be whole, or have his independence. All he will have is a few more years spent in institutions while he waited to die, with women looking at him in pity. He will never have the pleasure of a woman, he will not be the one taking women to his bed, he will be relying on the women to put him to bed.

In her work Pope is shouting out to the people to come join in with the fun, she is calling out for patriotism asking the men to lay down their lives for their country and asking the women to send their husbands and sons. She is speaking to them colloquially, using their language and challenging them. The poem is written very simplistically using phrases and terms that attract all, in particular the younger generation. The phrase up to her neck is a slang term, which as well as using personification is a more graphic description than to give exact details of where the war is up to at that moment. It may be suggested that Pope was a very persuasive woman who did a great deal to help the war effort and send men cheerfully to their death, which is possibly why men like Owen felt the need to stand up and have their story heard.

Owen does not attempt to spare the feelings of the reader his intention is to shock. He wants the people to know the truth; it may be argued that he felt a responsibility to the youth of his country to let them know what they were in for. War was not all cheering and shouting as Pope suggested. War was horrific, it took lives and the lives that were spared would never be the same again.

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Comparison of Poems Disabled and Who for the Game. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Comparison of Poems Disabled and Who for the Game
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