Exposure powerpoint - St Cuthbert Mayne GCSE English

Wilfred Owen
Possible interpretations of ‘Exposure’
1. Exposure describes the extreme weather conditions
which men were subjected to in the trenches and
what they also died of. A different type of suffering.
2. Exposing the actuality of war in the Trenches.
3. Perhaps Owen ‘exposes’ himself to public criticism?
Harsh monosyllabic words
– emphasise the harsh
Personification of wind – harsh,
Assonance – sharp conditions
‘A’ sound to indicate
the physical pain
Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that
knife us...
Ellipses, wants us to ponder on the idea, cruel winter
Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent...
Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the
Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
But nothing happens.
Assonance – O – slows pace
– like time dragging on?
Assonance –
Reference to
elongated ‘e’ sound
Keats’ Ode to a
to emphasise their
Unnatural silence –
makes soldiers nervous
Sibilance of the repeated ‘s’ sound creates the effect of
whispering, an attempt to not draw the attention of the
enemy, who are futilely using flares to see what is going on.
Distant sounds of war
Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.
Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
Northward incessantly, the flickering gunnery rumbles,
Far off, like a dull rumour of some other war.
What are we doing here?
Real war seems distant,
while they nervously wait
Weather brings back memories of
watching fellow solders die on the
barbed wire
Rhetorical question – is there
presence pointless? How? Why?
Even dawn brings
no comfort
Military language to describe
the daily assault of the
Use of ellipsis – time
dragging on? Make
the reader reflect on
soldiers’ misery?
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 gray,
But nothing happens.
Dawn is personified as female, but a
cruel and merciless taker not a
creator of life – subversion of caring
and compassionate Mother Nature
Monotony of the weather;
regardless of what happens,
the outlook – war/weather is grim, relentless
The incessant waiting continues
Has the battle started again? It is compared as less
‘deathly’ than the snow: use of sibilance (repetition
of ‘s’ sound) – soft sound to highlight how deadly
weather can be in comparison.
Alliteration of soft ‘f’ sound –
highlight the seemingly
perpetual onslaught of the
Sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence.
Less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow,
With sidelong flowing flakes that flock, pause and renew,
We watch them wandering up and down the wind's nonchalance,
But nothing happens.
‘Black’ – death?
emphasises the constancy of the
extreme cold and misery
Passing time – watching
snowfall. Weather uncaring.
Are they more likely to die
from the cold than a bullet?
Repetition – waiting, waiting.
Juxtaposition of the fear and bleakness
of trench warfare with the gentle
images of the British countryside
Nature is the real enemy, coming
unawares, silent assassin
Pale flakes with lingering stealth come feeling for our faces We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snowdazed,
Deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,
Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses.
Is it that we are dying?
Memories of home
Wonders if the
images are an
sign they are
Hypnotic effect of the snow
Use of half-rhyme – leaves us dissatisfied. Reflects
his ideas that war is also not what it should be
Repetition of closed – emphasises the
hopelessness of not being allowed into the
War can kill spiritually?
Caesura: prepare us for
their memories and
Slowly our ghosts drag home: glimpsing the sunk fires glozed
With crusted dark-red jewels; crickets jingle there;
For hours the innocent mice rejoice: the house is theirs;
Shutters and doors all closed: on us the doors are closed We turn back to our dying.
The fires are beautiful
but, like jewels, offer no
warmth or comfort
feelings of comfort and
satisfaction linked with the
dream of home
House is deserted; would they be welcome if they
went home? They are compelled and expected to
stay where they are.
They fear that if the enemy isn’t conquered that
there will never be fires burning in the hearths
of home again.
War is for a just
cause, to give
security to the
generations to
Since we believe not otherwise can kind fires burn;
Now ever suns smile true on child, or field, or fruit.
For God's invincible spring our love is made afraid;
Therefore, not loath, we lie out here; therefore were born,
For love of God seems dying.
Suggests that the men die willingly for others –
He questions us - is war
caused because man's
love for God is dying or
God's love for man is
War can lead to a loss of faith in
God/God is responsible for the
suffering caused by nature
To-night, His frost will fasten on this mud and us,
Shrivelling many hands and puckering foreheads crisp.
The burying-party, picks and shovels in their shaking grasp,
Pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice,
But nothing happens.
The reality of fulfilling this last
duty for comrades
Death will come to
some but from the
conditions , not the
Poem comes full circle - the same vicious cycle lies
in wait for the fresh recruits.
• Who is the biggest threat to man?
Man himself
Duty / Compulsion / Expectation
Absence of God