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Disabled Analysis



Author: Poetry of Wilfred Owen Type: Poetry Views: 2130

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He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark,

And shivered in his ghastly suit of grey,

Legless, sewn short at elbow. Through the park

Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,

Voices of play and pleasure after day,

Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.



About this time Town used to swing so gay

When glow-lamps budded in the light blue trees,

And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,-

In the old times, before he threw away his knees.

Now he will never feel again how slim

Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands.

All of them touch him like some queer disease.



There was an artist silly for his face,

For it was younger than his youth, last year.

Now, he is old; his back will never brace;

He's lost his colour very far from here,

Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry,

And half his lifetime lapsed in the hot race

And leap of purple spurted from his thigh.



One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg,

After the matches, carried shoulder-high.

It was after football, when he'd drunk a peg,

He thought he'd better join. - He wonders why.

Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts,

That's why; and maybe, too, to please his Meg,

Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts

He asked to join. He didn't have to beg;

Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years.



Germans he scarcely thought of; all their guilt,

And Austria's, did not move him. And no fears

Of Fear came yet. He drought of jewelled hills

For daggers in plaid socks; of smart salutes;

And care of arms; and leave; and pay arrears;

Esprit de corps; and hints for young recruits.

And soon, he was drafted out with drums and cheers.



Some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer Goal.

Only a solemn man who brought him fruits

Thanked him; and then enquired about his soul.



Now, he will spend a few sick years in institutes,

And do what things the rules consider wise,

And take whatever pity they may dole.

Tonight he noticed how the women's eyes

Passed from him to the strong men that were whole.

How cold and late it is! Why don't they come

And put him into bed? Why don't they come?





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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This poem is about a young men who joined the army because he though it was heroic and that everyone would love him for so. He later becomes legless and sewn short at elbow. Not only has he lost his legs and an arm, he also lost the meaning of his life.
When he comes back to his home town, he doesn’t exactly get the heroic welcome back as he was expecting he would.
A wounded solider from the first world war comes back home. He can’t walk or do anything by himself. He is going to be sat on a wheeled chair for the rest of his life now. The wounded solider notices that women’s eyes pass from him to the stronger men that are “whole”. He can’t play football or raise his shoulder high like he did before. The young men is depressed. He feels lonely and thinks he is never going to have a girlfriend or anyone who will love him. The poem says “ Now, he is old; his back will never brace” meaning he is never giving a hug to someone.
The poet Wilfred Owen feels angry towards the government for the use of propaganda towards innocent young men. The poet also wants to help the wounded solider. Through the poem the poet tries to make the reader feel “sorry” and have sympathy towards the wounded solider.
The language used in Disabled is very effective because there are lots of emotions towards the young solider who lost both of his legs and an arm in the First World War.
The first line which says “He sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark’ - This sets an immediate appearance of ‘dark’, ‘grey’, and ‘shivered’. It also sets up the isolation of the wounded solider.
The poem says “some cheered him home, but not as crowds cheer goal” the poet is trying to say that not many people appreciated him for fighting for his country, instead they care more about how many goals he scored in a football game. Before he could do everything for by him self but now people have to help him.
Something which keeps recurring in his recollections of the life he used to live before he enlisted and went war is his active and successful interaction with women. He was a very appealing figure, lively and exuberant, enjoying all the attentions he gets from the ladies, and living his life to the fullest. Now he gets no attention from ladies, all he gets is pity from everyone.

| Posted on 2014-01-23 | by a guest


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Disabled is a potent and strong poem because of mainly the style and structure that Owen has used. Harsh words are used subtly to emphasize meaning behind the poem this use of harsh words again gives us an indication of the bitterness the soldier feels towards society .

| Posted on 2012-04-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Disabled is a potent and strong poem because of mainly the style and structure that Owen has used. Harsh words are used subtly to emphasize meaning behind the poem this use of harsh words again gives us an indication of the bitterness the soldier feels towards society .

| Posted on 2012-04-19 | by a guest


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Owens Disabled explores the effects of war on those who live through it by comparing the present life of an injured soldier to his past hopes and accomplishments.
The first stanza starts with the depressing description of a lone man sitting in a wheelchair, in a park, being unable to walk or indulge in any of the activities involving exercise going around him. His is dressed formally, but his suit is cut at the waist, which shows that he has lost his legs, and he waits helplessly, listening to the voices of young children which sadden him, as they remind him of something he cant ever have again.
Then he remembers what his life had been like before his injury: at this time of the night, after the work had been done for the day, the town had come to life at night. He remembers how the streets used to light up and how the girls would become more inviting and alluring. He regrets losing his legs, for he knows that he will never again dance holding a woman, or feel their soft slight touches, as they now only touch him out of pity, like as if he is a strange abnormality in their normal life.
He remembers once there was such vitality, such sheer life in him that an artist had been insistent on drawing his face, for just a year ago, it spoke of innocence and clarity of heart. But now his face has become withered with experience and sorrow, and he cant even support himself, both literally and figuratively. He has become pale, as if all his life had been leached out of him through the wound on his thighs, and he feels that half of his life is already over.
He remembers how before he had become disabled, he had been a renowned football player, and had been proud of the blood smear on his leg which had resulted from a match, and how the crowd had carried him on their shoulders, celebrating his valor and excellence. It was after such a match itself that, drunk on alcohol, pride and his success, he had thought first of enlisting in the army, just to appear more manlike to the ladies as someone had suggested he would look dashing in a uniform. Thus out of mere pride and vanity, had he joined the war, even going as far as to lie about his age: a fact that shows one that the ex-soldier in discussion might still be a very young man, maybe only in his early twenties.
The motive behind joining the war is questioned, as the soldier remembers that he had never ben patriotic enough to care much about the invading Germans or Austrians, and he had been young and nave enough to not be afraid of fear yet. He had thought only of the distant lands he would travel to; the honor and glory associated with the army; the excitement and exhilaration of holding a gun and hiding a dagger; and the pride of giving a smart salute. He was drafted and sent overseas with much ado; lots of people cheered and celebrated his valor and courage, reminiscent of the football matches he had won.
The soldier is rudely brought back to reality as he remembers how out of the many people who had applauded his departure, few had been there on his return, and all his accomplishments in the war were forgotten as instead of encouraging his deeds, the people pitied his loss, and the fame and glory he had expected were denied him. Only a sole aged man visits him now and inquires about his life and health.
It is now that sitting alone in the park, noticing how womens eyes pass over him after glancing at him piteously, to men who are still whole and complete, the ex-soldier thinks about his future. He knows he will live in an institute were there will be people to take care for him, and he will do as they say, following their rules to live the rest of his life. He wonders in the end helplessly, that why has no one come looking for him, to put him to bed. It has grown late and cold, but there is nothing the man can do to protect and warm himself, except hope and pray that someone would remember him and take care of him.
Disabled is a potent and strong poem because of mainly the style and structure that Owen has used. Harsh words are used subtly to emphasize meaning behind the poem: the man is wearing a ghastly suit of grey, showing his morbid and depressed state of mind; sleep mothers him from the laughter and noises of young boys, suggesting that he no longer finds the pleasures of life worth living for and prefers the temporary respite sleep provides. He regrets throwing away his knees, suggesting and later confirming that the ideas and inspirations behind joining the war were not as patriotic or loyal as they should have been, and his vanity only has now left him a cripple. The girls all touch him like a queer disease: the word queer had started being used to describe homosexuals, so to think his social standing is the same as those considered, in those times, to be an unnatural blasphemy, is extremely revealing on how people think of disabled people. The imagery of his life bleeding out of him through the wound on his thigh, and the use of the word purple, a colour denoting life and vitality, shows that the ordeal the soldier had gone through when he had been injured had a deep impact on him, as he no longer feels alive or has any desire to live. The analogy drawn between playing sports and being a soldier in a war, though by no means new, is nevertheless effective. Along with highlighting the egoistic and vain motives the man had for joining the army, it also acts as a reminder to him that his pride had caused him the exact thing he had been proud of: he would never again run in a field or score a winning goal, he would never again be praised for being a hero; only pitied endlessly for being a cripple. The things which he used to boast about: the wounds received in a match, and being carried on the shoulders of his team mates; have become permanent sources of sorrow: he no longer has his legs, and cannot help but be carried around helplessly. This contrast is both chilling and distressing.
The structure of the poem: the frequent switches between present and past and the juxtaposition of remembrance and realization casts a harsh light on everything the soldier has lost. Each stanza starts with describing the soldiers present conditions and then compares it to his past life, or vice versa. The final stanza however depicts what he thinks his future holds for him: a life lived by rules set by other people, a life of utter dependency and helplessness.
Considering Owens own discharge from the army due to neurological problem, the poem carries considerable weight as it must have been written from direct observation. Perhaps this is why the words ring so true: the man in the wheelchair had been no patriotic passionate youth ready to die for his country. Rather he had been, more realistically, a vain and egoistic man seeking glory and recognition through the war, caring only of how he would look in uniform, and how the fairer sex would react to him. There are no medals and endless people doting on him when he returns disfigured and destroyed: there is only a wheelchair, and a few people with pitiful looks. Instead of celebrating his heroism and applauding his contribution to the war, the people all express their sorrow for his loss, making him feel even more unworthy and pathetic.
Something which keeps recurring in his recollections of the life he used to live before the war is his active and successful interaction with women. He was a very appealing figure, lively and exuberant, enjoying all the ladies attentions, and living his life to the fullest. Now he is left sexually incompetent and can no longer derive pleasure from the very things which had once been such a comfort to him. The last lines highlight this deplorable state: Gone is the man who used to lead and win matches singlehandedly, and left in his place is a lifeless and hopeless shell who pleads desperately and helplessly for someone to appear and put him to bed.
The poem is one

| Posted on 2012-03-24 | by a guest


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This poem is essentially characterised by the juxtaposition of past to present. WIth a change in tense comes a significant change in tone.

| Posted on 2012-03-20 | by a guest


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another notable thing, about the pure structure of the poem;
we can see that the 4th stanza is the longest in the poem and it is then followed by the shortest one in the poem.
we can deduce that the 4th stanza represents all his joyful years with so much to talk about. all his glory and how handsome he was with all the girls. then the short stanza that follows this is a reality check. it describes what life is like for him now. this gives the reader a real feeling of the contrast between how happy he was before the war and what he is like now.
the only person that cares about him is an \"solemn man who brought him fruit\"

| Posted on 2012-03-12 | by a guest


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The poem \'Disabled\' is about a young man who joined up by lying about his age,\'Smiling they wrote his lie,aged nineteen years.\'He was injured by shelling and lost his limbs,\'Legless sewn short at elbow.\'He sits in a hospital ward,in a wheelchair,waiting for dark and to be put into bed.As he is waiting,he can hear the children playing in the park and it creates a sad atmosphere.As he thinks about his past,we get an impression of what his life used to be like .He liked football,girls and going out for \'a peg\' or a drink.We feel pity for him because he should still be doing these things,like going out,but he cannot do them.We know he is very unhappy about the fact that he will never have a physical relationship with a girl because he tells us,\'All of them touch him like some queer disease\'.This makes him sound like girls will avoid touching him, and he seems extremely upset and bitter about this.

| Posted on 2012-03-12 | by a guest


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The sadness of how this young mans\'s life was just casually thorwn aside, just so he could plese teh women shows how young and naive he really was. It shows how he joinedthe war to please the women and gain their attention: \"Aye, that was it, to please the giddy jilts (girls), but instead of returning home covered in women, he returned disabled and disfigfured, ignored by the women who feel only pity noe that he is no longer \"Whole\" In hte last stanza when it says about \"the men who were whole\" that not only were they physically whole, but also whole in their minds; content and happy, not miserable and self pity felt by this disabled soldier

| Posted on 2012-01-24 | by a guest


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they say some cheer him home but not as crowds cheer goal he is trying to say how that not many people appreciate him for fighting for our country they care for their sports (football, rugby etc) more and he isn\'t happy and he needs help with evrything since he has lost his arms and legs it shows the harsh reality of war

| Posted on 2011-12-05 | by a guest


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the poem disabled efectively highlights the gloom and doom surrounded by the ppl of world war one era.it a juxtaposition of what the boy thought being a soldier would bring for him(honor,glory,the womens\' admiration)in sharp contrast with what was the reality-a lifelong disfigurement,making him dependant almost childlike bitter and nostalgically desperate.the poem has a sense of euphoria surrounding it a type of romantic work W.O. keep it up buddy.

| Posted on 2011-06-18 | by a guest


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The young man in ths poem joined the war because of all the so called \"glory\" that came with joining the war. He wasn\'t being selfich when he made his decesion, he truely believed that by going to war he could help his fellow country men and women. He didn\'t think about how is own life might have turned out, that was his only mistake.

| Posted on 2011-05-23 | by a guest


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when it sais there is an artist silly for his face what does he mean?

| Posted on 2011-03-03 | by a guest


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The young soldier used to be a bit of a ladies man, very good looking, flirting with the girls, but \"now, he is old\" and \"he will never again feel how slim girls\' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands.\" The young boy is now represented as an old man. He is completely dependant on other people. Owen implies (unfairly maybe?) that the boy has thrown away his life by fighting in the war, however, with the false propaganda that the government was sending out, there was no way that young boys could have known the truth about what war was really like. Owen does, however, create pathos for the young man when \"he noticed how the women\'s eyes passed from him to the strong men that were whole.\" The reader cannot help but feel sorry for the young man. He went into war with dreams of becoming a hero and having glory, but now he is just a wounded, disabled soldier who is completely dependant on others. At the end of the poem, the repitition of the words \"Why don\'t they come?\" shows the poor man\'s sense of desperation.
KA

| Posted on 2010-12-28 | by a guest


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The poem disabled is so dark and depressing it could make any reader despise the war. His use of words such as \'dark\' and \'grey\' show the gloomyness of it all. After reading the stanza in which he casts aside all reasonable fears and lies about his age, i feel less sympathy for him, he should have spent a longer amount of time thinking it through and is rather selfish too himself in not considering how it could have affected his future

| Posted on 2010-09-20 | by a guest


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i am cureently doing an assignmet on the poems of wilfred owen and i just want to say he is really and truly amazing. his poetry about love is amazing the way he talks about the love and lust between two people is great. i love wilfred owen!!!!

| Posted on 2010-06-08 | by a guest


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this poem really evokes the intense emotions of the reader it screams the horror and disgrace of world war one that most general public were oblivious to. owen uses many great techniques to get across his point of the faul and disgrace state these soldiers were in due to being conscripted to war.

| Posted on 2010-06-08 | by a guest


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this poem has a lot of imagery....especially visual imagery....this poem shows how he looked like before the war and after the war. Before the war he was young-looking
'for it was younger than his youth, last year' that he was taken as a subject of drawing by artists 'there was an artist silly for his face' whereas now he is not anymore young-looking, but old looking 'now, he is old;his back will never brace'.

| Posted on 2010-05-08 | by a guest


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He considered calling the book og poetry which he wished to publish "Disabled and other poems" this shows the importance that Owen himself put on this inspirational poem.

| Posted on 2010-04-25 | by a guest


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.: :.
John Whiting
The poem disabled is so dark and depressing it could make any reader despise the war. His use of words such as 'dark' and 'grey' show the gloomyness of it all. After reading the stanza in which he casts aside all reasonable fears and lies about his age, i feel less sympathy for him, he should have spent a longer amount of time thinking it through and is rather selfish too himself in not considering how it could have affected his future.

| Posted on 2010-04-03 | by a guest


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I think that this poem was written in direct response to the jingoism that was so rampantly postulated throughout the UK.
The poem has a very evocative tone but also depressing and a bit pessimistic. Owen refers to a lot of things like how people react to the soldier, the contrast between his attitude to heroism before and after he joined the army, references to his age and finally his past and his future. I think these notes should help anyone working on this poem.

| Posted on 2010-03-24 | by a guest


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Disabled Owen conveys the points that bring discomfort and horror of the First World War to the eyes of the public with the use of many techniques. The poem Disabled is about a young man who joined the war not thinking about the negative side or the risks involved. Smiling they wrote his lie; aged nineteen years. Owen indicates throughout his poetry especially disabled that solders go to war for all the wrong reasons, the Myth of the returning war hero and the thought that war would be fun.

| Posted on 2009-11-23 | by a guest


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the poem reflects a young adult who has his life finished before it has begun.he has been denied all the things that a boy at his age should be enjoying. everything around him is dark and depressing...i sympathise with him because at his age anyone can make a mistake but unfortunately in his case his mistake costs him his life..

| Posted on 2009-11-14 | by a guest


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Owen contrasts the short-term glory (sports injury, looking dashing in a kilt) with the long-term reality of lifelong disfigurement and isolation. In other poems, the truth of death in battle is detailed. Here, we may even wonder if death might not be better than life in such a state. Do the arithmetic -- the veteran here is probably not even 21 yet, and his life is effectively over. Live as long as he may, love will never be his. He won't ever run again. It's not clear whether he has even one hand left. He can only wait for the nurse to come and move him.
None of this was made clear to him in advance. It was all recruiting posters and stirring music, and what his girlfriend would think. Owen, in writing his poems, is telling the truth that wasn't told to him. He is providing the missing facts in the problem of whether it's all "worth it." (Maybe it is, but who could decide that without knowing?)
KTW

| Posted on 2009-10-16 | by a guest


.: :.

The poem disabled is so dark and depressing it could make any reader despise the war. His use of words such as 'dark' and 'grey' show the gloomyness of it all. After reading the stanza in which he casts aside all reasonable fears and lies about his age, i feel less sympathy for him, he should have spent a longer amount of time thinking it through and is rather selfish too himself in not considering how it could have affected his future LM-09

| Posted on 2009-10-05 | by a guest


.: :.

Perfectly justified.
The government was feeding false propaganda to the british public at the time, decieving the audience by hiding the true state of the war.
Also this is not an example of one person it is the example of many who registered to war in the hopes of glorious adventuring, they had no true facts of the war to affect their decisions. Wilfred Owen is addressing this.
Poets such as Jessy Pope also fueled the patriotic fervor by accusing those who did not sign to war cowards, and told tales of war being an adventure in which to find fame.
Hense Wilfred Owen is completely justified as also being witness to the horrors of war and fighting along side the young soldiers who ignorantly signed up to war.

| Posted on 2009-03-03 | by a guest


.: :.

John Whiting
The poem disabled is so dark and depressing it could make any reader despise the war. His use of words such as 'dark' and 'grey' show the gloomyness of it all. After reading the stanza in which he casts aside all reasonable fears and lies about his age, i feel less sympathy for him, he should have spent a longer amount of time thinking it through and is rather selfish too himself in not considering how it could have affected his future.

| Posted on 2008-11-16 | by a guest




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