This essay intends to examine the poem “The Send Off” by Wilfred Owen. Owen wrote this poem whereas he was stationed at Ripon military camp. He was based there after being a patient on the Craiglockhart War Hospital, this is the place he met Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon. Owen was at Ripon between March and June, 1918 and died in action on the fourth of November 1918.
“The Send Off” is a poem about some troops that have simply come from a sending off ceremony before departing by practice, presumably to the frontlines of World warfare One.
The poem has many themes operating via it. Some of these are death, strangers, flowers, secretiveness and therapeutic.
The poem opens with a really claustrophobic first line – “down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way”
The words ‘down’, ‘close’ and ‘darkening’ provide the reader with a sense of doom, claustrophobia and worry of uncertainty. The picture of going ‘down’ provides the reader with the photographs of death, darkness, being buried, walking the trenches and going to hell.
This opening line additionally offers a somewhat prophetic picture of people being despatched to focus camps, by prepare, in World War Two. Further enhanced by ‘siding shed’. From the phrase “they sang their way2 there might be an opposed feeling of happiness to the claustrophobia. However, the singing changes from happiness when the poem is learn once more and the opposite themes are considered.
Flowers are the subsequent distinguished theme displayed on this poem. They appear in line four, stanza one and line fifteen, stanza three.
“Their breasts have been caught all white with wreath and spray
As men’s are, lifeless.”
The flowers are described as white and in wreath form, the reader could imagine on this line that white lilies are associated with funerals. The language on this line gives the look that the troops are lined in white flowers and that the flowers are ‘stuck’ to their ‘breasts’ as in a coffin. This is further enhanced by the abrupt finish to this line ‘dead’. The impression is that the soldiers are predresseed for their own funerals.
“Nor there if they but mock what women meant
Who gave them flowers.”
In this line the poet is asking if the women, who gave the troops the flowers, realise that the flowers are symbolising the reality of the horrors and the simply about sure death that these troops are going to face in the frontline.
The theme of funerals is picked up again in stanza two –
“Dull porters watched them, and an off-the-cuff tramp
Stood staring onerous,”
The strangers, the porters, tramp, guard and women are all watching the troops, coated in flowers march from their military camp to the prepare station. The troops, in deliberately, are predressed for their funeral and there are not any obvious cheers or voices in the poem as they depart, they are leaving silently, secretly and this leaves the reader feeling that it is a funeral convoy passing by and that the troops are experiencing foreboding of doom and might be resigned to their destiny on the frontlines.
“They sang their means dimly gay”
further exhibits that the troops are resigned to their fate and are singing their approach to virtually sure death..
interestingly, there is a appreciable quantity of secretiveness throughout this poem. It is first apparent in stanza three –
“So secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went.”
This line makes the reader query why the troops are departing so secretly, then in line 13 the phrase –
“We by no means heard to which front these were sent.”
Shows that the troops and basic public weren’t conscious of the place the troops would go to battle, or what the true nature of the realities would be once they obtained to their vacation spot and that the public were not made conscious of these realities and truths, in fact it was concealed from them. The secretiveness can additionally be mentioned in stanza two, traces 9 and ten –
“Then unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp
Winked to the guard.”
Here the theme of secretiveness is displayed through the imagery of the indicators nodded and a lamp winked, the reader feels conspiratorial messages conveyed via Morse code.
In the final stanza the secretiveness theme seems again, but this time, it’s linked with the return of the troopers. This stanza implies that only a few of these soldiers are prone to survive the warfare and return to their houses. However, they may ‘creep back’ implies that the troopers might not wish to return as heroes and will have to heal themselves both mentally and bodily.
In conclusion “The Send Off” by Wilfred Owen starts off as a poem a few sending off ceremony in direction of the end of the warfare however in reality goes on much deeper to debate the differences between what folks at house perceive the war to be and the actual realities that the soldiers face on the frontlines. The final stanza hints at healing, and means that these few soldiers who do return may need to do so silently, and never as heroes, and may not wish to talk about the realities and horrors that they’ve skilled. Thus, the title is somewhat ambiguous.