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These subjects include the biggest ideas and issues the human mind can conceive, such as existence, human struggle, God, and so on. Staying true to the heroic couplets form of higher subject matter, Owens poem discusses war, conflict, and the wrongs committed by men. He shapes the poem using slant rhyme, revolving much of the poem around the meaning behind one of the most significant words: truth.

Of the 14 Oxford English Definitions for the word, the meaning most relevant to the poem refers to truth as The fact or facts; the actual state of the case; the matter or circumstance as it really is. With this definition in mind, the actual state of war can be examined through the lens of the two soldiers in Hell. This lens connects the two in the pain, terror, and struggles felt because of the war: one which leaves countless men to deal with the remnants of their wounds, both internal and external.

The poem seeks to unveil the truth of the brutal reality, grief, and destruction caused by battle. Owens use of the word truth and the descriptions made by the stranger in the poem both emphasize the futility of battle, the sorrow of time lost, and the nature of life that continually goes on.


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The poem begins when the narrating soldier is killed in battle, travels down a dark tunnel. The stranger tells him that even in the afterlife there are reasons to mourn: for a life devoid of hope and for wasted time, both having to do with the true reality of war. Neither peace nor love are the most important aspects in life, but rather the running of the hour, which implies the value of time and the nature of its hasty departure.

Both love and peace are high subject matters, important in their own ways and worthy of mention. However, Owen is saying that these elements are ephemeral, and will come and go throughout ones lifetime. Time, on the other hand, is the one thing that remains constant.

(PDF) Strange Meeting- Critical Response | John Berge - ranspercovina.cf

It is the one thing that cannot be created, taken back, or revisited: it can only be used up. The monumentality of this tragedy plays into Owens definition of truth, the fact of the matter, because none of the living has realized the uselessness of war. As a result, the time of the stranger, the soldier, and all of the men still alive and fighting is wasted. The word truth in itself can be taken many ways, which means the way Owens poem is read can impact the meaning of the poem.

A few general ideas behind truth involve themes such as politics, religion, matters of the heart, or social justice. Because the most appropriate definition for this poem states that truth is the actual state of the case, it causes the reader to imagine its only other option: lies, deceit, and fictions. Lines help to explain this: For of my glee might many men have laughed And of my weeping something had been left, Which must die now.

I mean the truth untold, The pity of war, the pity war distilled.

The stranger begins by saying that even though the conditions of war were horrendous, he still valued his time left on Earth. The strangers glee at living during the war would have been seen as a joke to the other men, as the conditions of war were atrocious.

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For the other men, death may have been preferable to fighting in the war. The strangers happiness during the war was because he still had time left to live.

Wilfred Owen and Strange Meeting

His weeping, equivalent to the wisdom of experience, gave him knowledge of the pain and uselessness of war. This experiential knowledge is what the stranger leaves in the living world: the truth untold. Now in Hell, he is unable to tell the living about the pity of war: that it causes unnecessary sorrow and ultimately resolves nothing.

In addition, the tragedy and pity of war emerges when the narrating soldier kills the stranger. Both men were told by their nations that the other man was the enemy, even though the two men realize they have more in common than they originally thought. Their unforeseen camaraderie while in Hell suggests that the stranger, and now the soldier, see the flaws in war that the nations do not. I mean the truth untold, 24 The pity of war, the pity war distilled. This poem begins with an assumption about the state of consciousness in which the speaker, perhaps a soldier, finds himself.

At least the people up there are still alive.

Analysis of ‘Strange Meeting’ by Wilfred Owen

He finds that even under the ancient earth, there are bodies everywhere, some groaning, some already dead. More horrific still, a dead soldier responds, but appears to bless the speaker, who responds not with fear but with a reassurance that things are better down under the ground. Yet the dead soldier mourns the wasted years and the opportunities he would now never have.

He despairs of a spoiled world which future generations might not bother to improve. The dead soldier appears to grieve for the good he might have done for the world, after all the lessons the bitter war had taught him about global conflict.

He was moved and motivated by the bloody and harrowing scenes of grief and suffering on the French battle lines. Owen began to see the whole concept of war as futile and absurd. He was teaching in Europe in as World War One broke. Strange indeed. Wilfred Owen might have made the understatement of the century when he called this one "Strange Meeting.


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  • We know that Wilfred Owen wrote most of his poetry in a short period of time all while fighting in the horrific battles of WWI. We're no psychologists, but it's pretty plain to see that all of that In these packed 44 lines, Owen really highlights his masterful ability to hint at something without saying it outright. This creates some very exciting tension and suspense for us as readers—as w What do Prince William and Wilfred Owen have in common? They're both Welshman.

    Wilfred Owen met his friend and fellow poet, Siegfried Sassoon, in a hospital while he was recovering from w