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A Terre by Wilfred Owen and Harvest Of Battle by CRW Nevinson

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The two sources explaining the conditions of World War 1 inform us in different ways, one is a painting, which tells us that during the war there was pain and violence. The painting looks as though wild beats have come and destroyed mankind. There are dead men lying on the muddy battle fields of no mans land and injured men walking away form the war. You can still see what is left of the barbed wire used to defend the enemies’ trenches. Also the other source which is the poem creates a mental image inside your head.

The poem explains the injuries such as “I’m blind” the injured soldier may have become blind from the gas of the war. He may never be able to shake hands again because his arms refuse to work. The man wishes he could live until he is old, and breathe in the spring air. He compares his life to a rat at this time and believes that the rat has a far grander life than he does. In my opinion, I think that the poem has a better reliability than the painting.

In the painting the artist – CRW Nevinson can not explain the injuries that are happening at that moment in time, the painting was painted a year after the war and of course the artist could not get a clear image of no mans land it was virtually impossible without being shot or injured in some way. The painting does not explain to you the disease trench foot, which was an infection of the feet caused by cold, wet and unsanitary conditions. In the trenches men stood for hours on end in water logged trenches without being able to remove wet socks or boots.

The feet would gradually go numb and the skin would turn red or blue. The poem also does not tell you about trench life and what it was like. Men in trenches suffered form lice. They are a pale fawn color and they leave blotchy red bite marks all over the body. They created a stale smell. Various methods were used to remove the lice. The most effected being, with a lighted candle try to burn the lice without burning your clothes. As well as causing frenzied itching, the lice carried a disease – pyrrexhia or trench fever.

Although the disease did not kill, it stopped soldiers from fighting and accounted for about 15% of all cases of sickness in the British army. The painting was produced a year after the war. However, the artist could not get a clear image of no mans land without being injured or stopped. He could not have walked out onto no mans land and draw what his was seeing before his very eyes that’s why I think that this source is partly reliable. Although the poet was not an eyewitness to the war, he had a good clear image in his mind of what a injured soldier may be thinking.

It is important to know when exactly the sources were produced other wise you have no idea if it was during the war or maybe even two years after, and the source would not contain the facts needed for a historian. The poem is a more reliable source. This is because Wilfred Owen is a poet and can get to the feelings and emotions that the soldiers are feeling and thinking his poem shows us this. The soldier wants to grow old and bald he does no longer care the children make fun of him he has proved himself as a strong soldier.

Even though the soldier feels he has taken the cowards way out of war by being injured. The poem gives more information of how the soldiers may have felt in the trenches, how they felt about war. The poem gives facts of one soldier’s injuries. The painting is just simply a picture although it shows us that the armies had barbed wire to protect their trenches and shows what no mans land may have looked like, it does not go into enough detail about the disease trench foot. It does not show soldiers with lice on there clothes. All it shows it death and pain.

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