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“Who’s for the Game” by Jessie Pope and “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen

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  • Category: Poetry

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The Poems “Who’s for the Game” written by Jessie Pope and “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen were written during World War 1, both of these poems have different views on the War. Jessie Pope was born in 1870 and died in 1941 she was best known for her World War 1 poems but she was also accused of being a pro-war propagandist. “Who’s for the game” gave soldiers a false impression of what war was like and she represents it in a good way, while “Dulce Et Decorum Est” represents war as being bad and shows the grim experiences of war. Wilfred Owen was also soldier in the western fought and lots of people thought of him as being the leading poet of the First World War. Wilfred Owen Also wrote “Disabled” which shows a soldiers life after war still showing the suffering and pain that war brings.

Jessie Pope’s “Who’s for the Game” was written in 1916 to persuade young men to sign up and go to war. The Poem does this by making war sound fun and like one big game which is shown in this quotation “Who’s for the game, the biggest that’s played, The red crashing game of a fight?” Jessie Pope presents the war here as if it’s nothing big and is just a fun fight. In this poem Jessie Pope uses direct speech to persuade the readers “…for the signal to Go!” this engages the reader and makes it seem like she is talking directly to you. Jessie Pope also uses repetition towards the end of the poem “Will you my laddie?” This is repeated 3 times so that it sticks in the readers mind so that while they read it they will answer it in their mind. The image created by the poem is that the soilders will see themselves as hero’s who powerful and are then worshipped. The tone of this poem is happy and jolly which is designed to make war seem important but fun.

Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” was written in 1917 to try and warn men about signing up to go to war and create an idea that war is painful and brings suffering. The poem shows this by using direct address such as “Gas! Gas! Quick boys!” this creates a dramatic atmosphere and places the reader into the soilders position, it is also an example of repetition which makes the reader remember the words easier. “If you could hear” this is telling the readers to be warned and Wilfred Owen has direct confidence in this example. The tone that Owen uses to describe war is completely different compared to “Who’s for the Game” as Owen describes is as something bad the tone of the poem is very blunt, realistic and you can tell it is very truthful by the language he uses in the poem.

The way that Owen describes a horrid gas attack makes the reader realise just how scary the war can be it can also remind the reader that they could get killed and not come back home at all. This poem gives you a completely different imagery on war, it lets you see war as being very tiring and shows hurt people injured instead of having fun, this creates a warning signal for the reader and could scared them off the idea of going to war. The way the gas attack is described “”He plunges at me, guttering, chocking, drowning.” This makes it sound like a nightmare of someone dying in front of you and you can’t help them. Owen wrote this poem to show men the truth about war and he directly challenges Jessie Pope’s poem with her idea of war being a big fun game. Wilfred Owen creates a bad image of war “behind the wagon we flung him in” this creates a bad image inside the readers head and the poem carries on to give an even more gruesome but clear description. Owen and Pope both use similar techniques to try and get people to believe them about what war is like.

Wilfred Owen’s poem “Disabled” describes war as being pitiful and painful. Owen does this by making the poem give you the image, which comes across very dull and grey. Wilfred directly describes one soilders life after war instead of lots of people because he can show more detail and make it sound more realistic. In the poem he warns men that thought of war as a game and the poem makes you really see what life could be like after going to war. Owen directly challenged Pope’s idea of heroism “Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer goal.” This is showing the reader that even football supporters cheered him more when he used to play football then when he came back from war. Owen uses repetition in this poem, as does Pope to try and get the reader to remember the line by emphasising and repeating it, “Why don’t they come” makes the man Owen is talking bout in the poem seem isolated and helpless. Unlike the other two poems there isn’t any direct speech in the poem I think this is because this poem isn’t as persuasive to get people to go to war, it is more to show readers what it is like after war and convince them in that way not to go.

I think that Wilfred Owen directly challenges Jessie Pope’s poem very well, he does this by mainly just being honest to the readers. The main points that he challenges back in disabled is heroism, because Jessie Pope says “Who wants a turn himself in a show” which would mean that they would be the centre of attention in a good way and have everyone looking up to them however Owen challenged that line in disables by saying “All of them touch him like some queer disease” which is saying yes you will get attention but it wont be good, and people wont look up to you for going to war as much as Jessie Pope makes out. In “Dulce Et Decorum Est” Wilfred Owen challenges Popes “Who’s for the Game” by telling the war as totally the opposite to Pope’s happy fun idea of war. In my opinion I think that all of the poems do a terrific job of persuading the readers either against war or for it, but I think that “Dulce et Decorum est” is the most effective because its truthful and makes the reader think that it is more realistic.

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