20
JAN
2017

AQA English Literature GCSE Tuition : Exposure by Wilfred Owen Analysis Second Stanza

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?  The use of the present participle ‘watching, ‘ placed at the beginning of the line, gives marked presence to the anxious vigilance of the soldiers. Suffering is ongoing and even the act of seeing is fraught with pain.  You could also argue that the organisation of the line, where   the act of ‘watching’ precedes the pronoun ‘we,’ underlines the way that vigilance has usurped their identity. In other words, that their  aliveness  is dependent upon their watchfulness.   The wind is again heavily personified with the reference to the ‘mad gusts tugging on the wire,’ a reference that both animates the wind through its insane power, as well as suggesting that nature has become replaced by man made brambles- and that this wire, which was ubiquitous at the front, horribly mimics and foreshadows  in its movements, their probable deaths crucified upon the wire.  ‘Northward’ gives momentary direction in a poem primarily concerned with disorientation. The noise of the almost hallucinatory ‘flickering’ gunnery seems ‘far off’ as the men as so tired and disconnected from any reality. In fact the simile ‘like a dull rumour of some other war’ shows how far th
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