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but nothing happens

English – Lines Analysis (“but nothing happens”)
Exposure is known to be noun on its own and withing the poem Owen describes it as a
villain protagonist. The line “but nothing happens” gets repeated for time throughout
the poem but showing a different meaning each time.
Mention 1) Line 5
Mention 2) Line 15
Mention 3) Line 20
Mention 4) Line 40
Line 5
In line 5 the meaning of this line is shown to be the soldiers in the war waiting for death.
They are so tired of the constant threat and misery of death coming to them, they do not
wish to be alive anymore. Apart from that the other way it can be seen is that they are
waiting for war to take place. They want the opposition to attack them and either take
their life or finish of the war. They are fatigued with the endless wait of agony to end.
“Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent…
Low, drooping flares confuse our memories of the salient…
Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.”
The soldiers are getting worried by silence, the fact there isn’t any sound keeps them
awake which goes against any human tendency. There is juxtaposition when the poet uses
the two words “awake” and “silent” together as its expected for silence to be considered a
sense of relief and a release of initial tension, but here that same silence creates nothing
more than mental stress upon the soldiers.
Line 15
Here the poet has used the line to portray that despite the many years gone in the
battlefield, there is no change in state. Every night every soldiers’ sleeps waiting for either
his death or the beginning of war. After all that time, there is still no sign of war to begin.
Both the opposition and them themselves are waiting for a signal or start.
“The poignant misery of dawn begins to grow…
We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy.
Dawn massing in the east her melancholy army
Attacks once more in ranks on shivering ranks of grey,
But nothing happens.”
The poet once again uses reputation is techniques by choosing juxtaposition as he
contrasts an ordinary point of you with his thought of war. He says “misery of dawn”. In
a normal world, dawn signifies new beginnings and hope. It wakes up the world to
sunrise and a new day, for these soldiers a new day means nothing more than a day
they have to pass through. A day to survive or get a chance to come out of their utter
distress. The word “dawn” is being personified towards hope. Initially that would be
what is expected, just not here.
Line 20
Has the same as the previous just that it shows further disappointment withing the
Line 40
this just shows the connection between the first “but nothing happens” and
connects the both