The Sentry

 The sentry is a poem based on one of Owens real life experiences
in the war.
 When Owen was in a commanding post one of the sentry’s that
he had put on duty suffered from a bombing causing him to
become blind.
 The incident had a deep impact on Owen as it happened right in
front of him and he probably felt guilty.
 Owen makes a very vivid description of the evens in the poem
making it come to life and reflect the horror he experienced.
The sentry mainly focuses on the horrors of war and
what it does to people.
It portrays how dehumanized soldiers were.
Has some religious context at then end.
Poem written from Owens perspective. He is telling us
about the situation
Takes place in a dug-out that is described to be a very
horrendous location
They are in the middle of a bombing and constant attack.
In the middle the nameless ‘Sentry’ is quoted.
There is a shift from past to present in the last paragraph
A very dreadful tone is created from the very beginning.
Maintained to the end.
Reinforced with vocabulary such as ‘hell’, ‘slime’, ‘stank
old and sour’, ‘shrieking’, ‘corpses’ , ‘curse’, etc.
Use of uncomfortable noise sounds such as ‘steps too
thick with clay to climb’. Use of alliteration and long
vowel sounds.
Also has a tone of urgency sometimes. Evident through
punctuation, repetition and alliteration. Ex – ‘whizzbangs’ ‘hour by hour’.
Starts off in regular iambic pentameter however later
breaks off from regular rhyme scheme.
Separated into 2/3 paragraphs of varying lengths.
Use of caesura and exclamatory punctuation creates
an awkward feeling and unnatural stops reflecting the
unnerving situation of the poem.
Ex – ‘We dredged him up, for killed, until he whined,’
Very somber vocabulary – ‘hell’ ‘corpses’
‘floundering’ etc.
Some words dehumanize the soldiers while others
personify inanimate objects. Ex – ‘herded’- gives
idea of cattle not people.
‘wretches’- harsh word to describe comrades.
‘frantic shell’ , ‘shrieking air’.
 Lots of onomatopoeic words such as ‘thud’ ‘flump’
‘whizz – bang’ ‘chattering’ ‘guttering’ ‘shrieking’.
Adds to realism.
 Very bleak and dark imagery. Reinforced with suiting vocabulary.
 First paragraph gives very descriptive image of their location ‘ waterfalls
of slime’ ‘ smell of men’ ‘steps too thick with clay to climb’ ‘slush waist
 Second paragraph gives very vivid imagery. Use of onomatopoeic words
bring it to life. Use of alliteration and assonance such as ‘ of old Boche
bombs and mud in ruck on ruck. Repetition of ‘o’ and ‘u’ sounds.
Horrific use of simile ‘eyeballs huge bulged like squids.’
 Third stanza ends with a very dreadful image. Comment on finishing
• The poem initially does have irregular rhymes, such as:
a) hour (line 5) and sour (line 7)
b) Men (line 8) and den (line 9)
• It has an uncomfortable feel to it due to the irregular rhyme