Many of the texts from the Anthology that I have read deal with topics such as war, freedom, and loss. I have decided to focus my study on people that have had their lives changed forever by a series of unfortunate events, and have experienced great loss. In “The Necklace,” by Guy de Maupassant, for example, Madame Loisel loses a valuable necklace, and in doing so also loses her youth, and hopes for the future. In the poem “An Unknown Girl,” by Moniza Alvi, the speaker has lost her Necklace.
‘Disabled” shows the tragic loss of youth through the young man who lost his legs in the First World War. The loss of his legs in meant that he had lost his youth, this is because he was not able to do the same things he would have done when he was younger. This theme of loss is echoed by Robert Frost in his poem ”Out, Out”- The boy in Out, Out-” loses his hand in a horrific accident with a buzzsaw. It has a more devastating effect than the loss suffered by the soldier in ”Disabled” because the boy does not only lose his youth he loses his entire life. Both of these poems use the loss of youth to make a point about the cruelty of society. ”Disabled” shows this because all of the women turn away from the soldier now he is less attractive to them, while in ”Out, Out- Everybody turned away from the boy who was dead because they were not the ones who were dead, and they were only caring about themselves.
The poem “Out, Out- ” by Robert Frost that tells the tale of a young boy who loses his life under the most unfortunate of circumstances. The very title of the poem is a bittersweet reference to Shakespeare’s Macbeth that illustrates how easily a wavering candle – like itself -can be easily extinguished. This idea is shown to be true when a young boy is living life working hard until an unfortunate event which ends his life. Similarly, the poem ‘Disabled’ by Wilfred Owen, on the other hand, depicts about an adolescent man that goes out to war and comes back without both legs and half an arm missing. This means that he is not able to participate in everyday activities also nobody really wants to be around him anymore like before when he was the man. Both poems, therefore, highlight that you should live life to the full because you will never know when your time is up.
The tragic events of the war are presented to the reader In ‘Disabled’ through descriptions of the soldier’s injuries, which reveal how much of his body and identity he has lost. For example, when we first meet the soldier he is described as being “‘sat in a wheeled chair, waiting for dark, And shivered in his ghastly suit of gray, legless, sewn at the elbow” The alliteration in the words ‘ghastly’ and ‘gray’ links these two deathly terms in a way that suggests that the soldier appears half-dead already. The word “grey” suggests his body has been drained of all of its colour after the war, while the word “shivering suggests shows that after the war he has been drained of all of his warmth. The description of how he “threw away his knees” implies that his life is wasted, like rubbish that has been discarded. It is clear from the descriptions of his injuries, then, that his physical loss reflects a deeper personal loss of part of his life he will never recover.
In the poems ”Out,-Out ” and ”Disabled” a similar theme of loss is portrayed. Both of the stories deal with the subject of physical loss as both of the main characters in the stories suffer a accidental yet devastating amputation. As we get deeper into the poem of Out,-Out
The reader experiences a sense of loss, as seen in line 32 when we get the quotation
” little–less–nothing” the use of the tricolon shows how swiftly the boy’s life disappears. The use of tripling is very effective because it symbolises a heartbeat slowly beating away.
In both “Out, Out-” and “Disabled, the poets use of contrasting images to explore the extent of the changes suffered by their protagonists. Owen contrasts images of the past and present in order to show how soldiers attitude towards physicality and injury has changed. For example, he used to enjoy getting cuts on his legs and celebrated for it when he played sports. Now he recognises that the wounds on his legs have made him less of a man by making him less attracted to women, and no one is likely to celebrate his sacrifice. On the other hand, Frost contrasts the youth of the boy with the adult nature of his labour. The juxtaposition of ” boy” and “man perhaps showing how quickly young people were expected to grow up in the 1900s, and how little difference there really was between child and adult. Also emphasises how unfair the situation is, and makes us feel sorrier for him.
Owen presents the tragedy of the war by contrasting the soldier’s life before his injuries and after his return home. The protagonist in ‘Disabled’ is the story of how the brutal reality of his new life resembles his life slipping away. Also, it brings back the memories of his childhood days. One example of this would be ” For it was younger than his youth, last year, now he is old;” This shows one year difference is a lot
He will no longer be able to participate in the activities he used to before like play football. This makes the reader feel a sense of sorrow for the young man. Also, that young man uses a metaphor to show how his legs have been thrown away like rubbish. Lastly, in line 21 it says ‘ One time he liked a blood-smear down his leg’ it is the irony that he was proud of blood dripping off his leg after a football match but now after the war, he has no legs.
Lastly, Owen and Frost create sympathy for their protagonists by highlighting how quickly attitudes towards victims of tragedy can change. Owen focuses primarily on how women view their solder in a different way, while Frost represents the boy’s fellow workers as unfeelingly towards his death.