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”The Sentry” by Wilfred Owen

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 388
  • Category: Poetry

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“The Sentry is a very vivid poem written by Wilfred Owen which describes the horrendous conditions he remembers during life in the trenches of World War One. We learn how the trenches sounded and smelt like, and also how the effects of war live with you forever. The poem touched me because I had never realised just how much pain and suffering the soldiers had to go through, but this poem brings it to your attention.

The poet grabs your attention by vividly describing the surroundings both in and outside the trenches. “Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime” is an effective metaphor which vividly describes what the trenches looked like, and just how wet they were. The word ‘waterfalls’ suggests an abundance of water, which is constantly flowing and never-ending. It gives us the idea that they have no control over the water, as a waterfall is near enough unstoppable. Also, because the word is plural, we can then imagine the quantity of water. There was so much water that the mud turned to ‘slime’, so we can imagine just how dirty the trenches are, with a thick slime forever flowing around them. The word ‘guttering’ also helps make the metaphor effective as it emphasises the quantity and noise of the water. Alliteration is also used in the poem to emphasise the conditions of the trenches.

“Choked the steps too thick with clay to climb”, is a line where the repetition of the harsh c/k sound imitates the squelching of the soldiers boots in the mud, but also helps is see what it must have been like for them, as the sentence is not easy to say, which mirrors the fact it must have not been easy for them to move in the mud. I think that Owen used these techniques very effectively to grab our attention, as he achieves that very well. Owen also used many words to help describe the conditions in and out of the trenches, which help us picture the surroundings the soldiers were living in. Words such as “slush” and “choked” describe the horrible mud all around; “stank old and sour” describes the air and just how thick and disgusting it was. Owen repeats the word “whizz bangs” a few times throughout the poem to emphasise the Evaluation:-

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