The poem is about a soldier who was hurt in battle. He is in a wheelchair and is in a lonely spot. He reflects on his past and how he used to be attractive and talented as an artist. The poem is sorrowful in that they will not be able to escape the agony of the journey and their unknown destiny.
Disabled by Wilfred Owen is a short story by Ethel Mannin first published in 1919. It tells the story of a young man who suffers from polio. When he recovers from the illness, he finds that he is unable to walk because of the damage done to his legs by the disease. Although he tries hard to get around using a wheelchair, he soon realizes that this is not easy. In fact, it becomes even more difficult when you are handsome like the protagonist. Eventually, he decides to quit trying and live his life as best he can.
Polio is a crippling disease that mainly affects children. It causes muscle weakness or paralysis. There are two types of polio: paralytic and respiratory. Paralytic polio results in loss of movement of one part or all of the body while respiratory poliomyelitis involves damage to the nerves that control breathing. Although rare now, it was very common in the 1940s when the virus struck without notice or vaccination. People with polio were usually confined to a wheelchair for life after the injury caused by the disease healed. However, some people survived with limited mobility or no mobility at all.
The young soldier is shown in the opening verse sitting in his wheelchair in a gloomy, secluded environment. The reader quickly learns that the soldier has lost his legs in combat. Words like "waiting" and "sleep" enhance the impression that this soldier's existence is now eternal. This image is reinforced by the fact that there are no flowers or trees around him.
His physical disability is emphasized by using words like "crippled," "crutches," and "canes." His mental state is portrayed by phrases like "abstractedly" and "daydreaming." The overall feeling one gets from reading this poem is one of gloom and doom. It seems as though nothing can ever improve for this lonely warrior.
What is so special about this soldier? Why does the author choose to make him a character in a tragic story?
This poet wants us to feel sorry for this brave man who has been forced into exile because he cannot walk anymore. Therefore, he has been given a job that no one else wants: waiting at a gate. This shows that being disabled should not mean losing your dignity.
Also, the poet uses language that makes us think of this soldier as a hero.
Wilfred Owen's poem focuses on the anguish felt by World War One troops who were forced to stay overnight in the trenches. The individual is a part of the war's communal agony and anguish. The poet feels betrayed by the way the troops are being treated. They are required to sleep in wet holes with no shelter from the rain or wind, and with little food or water. There they wait for dawn, when they will have to go back into battle.
Owen presents this conflict between duty and desire through imagery. He shows us the men sleeping next to each other with guns ready to fire. Then he compares their conditions with that of wild animals: "They slept with guns/Ready to shoot one another."
The men have been ordered to stay here tonight, but they want to go home. They want to fight for England instead of sleeping in these wet holes. However, they know that if they refuse to stay, they will be punished. They have no choice but to obey orders and wait out the night in these terrible conditions.
Owen tells us that during this time of trial and danger, everyone sleeps very soundly. Some even dream about going home or seeing loved ones again. For others, however, this period of rest is only a short break before they are called upon again to face death. Many soldiers wake up feeling cold because there is nothing to warm them up with in these holes.