How is the idea of “exposure” (being dangerously exposed to the natural elements/weather) represented in the poem? and how is the weather represented as the enemy?
the poem by Wilfred Owen in the title exposure…. the word exposure means
the state of having no protection from something harmful for example in the poem “our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds knife us…” it could mean the weather is as painful as being stabbed its that cold when he says “iced east winds knife us” when it says merciless iced winds it meanings that the weather in this case wind is showing no mercy to the men and will keep on being the harsh and vicious and deadly weather that it is and showing no mercy by not calming down?
“pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces” “and stare, snow dazed deep into grassier ditches” “littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses. is it that we are dying” the men are so used to the snow that when spring is upon them and they see signs of it like littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses they don’t believe it because they are still snow dazed they don’t believe it so they think they are dying because it doesn’t seem real like the snow is like hell and seeing the signs of spring they think its almost like heaven that’s why they think their dying?
paragraph 3 “sudden successive flights of bullets streak the silence. less deadly than the air that shudders black with snow” this quote from the poem could mean the men are firing their guns at one another bullets flying but the cold of the snow is more deadly than the flying bullets targeted at the enemy making it sound as if in this case the enemy is the weather/snow more deadly than anything in their eyes.
when it says we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire, like twitching agonies of men among its brambles making it sound as if the wing against the wire is so strong it sounds men in agony or pain crying out for help of moaning in pain against the wires
in the last paragraph “this frost will fasten on the mud and us, shrivelling many hands, and puckering foreheads crisp. The burying-party, picks and shovels in shaking grasp, pause over half-known faces. All their eyes are ice, but nothing happens” which tells me that the men are preparing a burial of their fellow soldier paying respect and rejoicing together to burry a soldier the cold consumes the men wet and damp and cold
Why have specific language features been chosen?
rhetorical question- “what are we doing here?” used to make a point rather than a direct answer leaving us wondering the possible outcome of the question “what are we doing here?” rhetorical question implies as to what all the men are thinking what is the point of being in the war? is it pointless?
repetition- “but nothing happens” may imply that the men are so bored they repeat themselves over and are sick of it, it become a boring cycle or again implying if there is a point if nothing is happening? and are the men dying for nothing?
Listing- “worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious nervousness” this use of language conveys that
(exposure also means the revelation of something secret, especially something embarrassing or damaging… meaning that this poem also could have been Wilfred Owen exposing the truth about what the war was like to people who where not involved or in it?)