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Smile, Smile, Smile by Wilfred Owen

Smile, Smile, Smile by Wilfred Owen

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Smile, Smile, Smile by Wilfred Owen

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  1. Smile, Smile, Smileby Wilfred Owen Presentation by: Melanie Portal Rabeea Khalid IB English 12 SL

  2. About the Poet • Wilfred Owen • 18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918 • Most of his famous works were published posthumously • Killed in action (Battle of the Sambre) • Died a week before the war ended

  3. About the Poem • Written on 23rd September 1918 in France • Written after Owen rejoined his regiment at Scarborough [after recovering from Neurasthenia (shell shock) at Craiglockhart Hospital] • Owen revised this poem when there was a lull (quiet period) in September 1918 • Dated to be Owen’s last complete poem • Known to be explicitly satirical (mocking) and politically subversive (rebellious)

  4. Manuscripts

  5. Background Information • Owen writes about 2 events: • French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau refused Austria’s peace offer because it would betray the troops • In London, pictures were being published of three smiling wounded men The caption read “Happy” • Owen felt disgusted and shared his disgust with Sassoon

  6. Thesis • Wilfred Owen exposes the reality and harshness of the war in this satirical poem by contrasting propaganda and realism through the use of literary devices and diction.

  7. Origin of the Title • Comes from a very popular marching song of WWI called “Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit-Bag, and Smile, Smile, Smile” • Originally written by George Henry Powell • Aimed at maintaining moral, recruiting forces, and defending Britain’s war aims • Fitting to poem due to it’s sarcastic nature

  8. ♪ ♫ Pack Your Bags ♫ ♪ Performed by Murray Johnson 1916 Performed by ReinaldWerrenrath 1917 Performed by Spiked Jones and his City Slickers 1942 Courtesy:

  9. Summary of the Poem • Lines 1-4: scene is set • wounded soldiers are reading the latest drivel (a worthless message) from the Daily Mail • Lines 5-17: propaganda message written in the Daily Mail • Lines 18-23: reality of the war • Lines 24-26: ironic conclusion

  10. Vocabulary • Limp (1): not firm • Sunk (1): doomed to extinction, depressed, dejected • Mail (2): refers to the Daily Mail, a British newspaper • Booty (3): plunder taken from an enemy in time of war • Haul (3): analogy - a fish caught in a net • Aerodromes (7): any location from which aircraft flying operations take place • Undying: never ending • Stead (11): the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another • Solidly (11): with strength and soundness, firm manner

  11. Vocabulary • Indemnified (12): secure against future loss • Victory (13): a successful ending of a struggle • Integrity (17): accordance with the relevant moral values, norms and rules • Chafe (18): feel extreme irritation or anger • Curiously (19): beyond or deviating from the usual or expected • Broad (24): wide, having great (or a certain) extent from one side to the other • Rings (25): vibrating sound • Poor (26): lacking in specific resources, qualities or substances • Things (26): an entity that is not named specifically

  12. Who is Speaking? • Owen • Usually, poets strive to create their own individual voices • The 2 events are not personally experienced by Owen • Thus, “I” isn’t used

  13. To Whom? • No one specifically • Owen is speaking to the British people in general and trying to notify them about the sham that the newspapers are creating • Unlike his other poems, Owen does NOT use the word “you” • No link to the reader is being made

  14. Setting • Beaten up and wounded soldiers are reading the newspaper • “But smiled at one another curiously” (19) • implying that they are together reading the paper • possibly at a“England one by one had fled to France” (22) • communal place (ex. on the streets) • in France

  15. Purpose • To expose the nationalism that embraces the soldiers and exploits them • “…their foremost need is aerodromes” (7) • “The sons we offered might regret they died / If we got nothing lasting in their stead” (10-11) • “We must be solidly indemnified.” (12) • “The greatest glory will be theirs who fought / Who kept this nation in integrity” (16-17)

  16. Purpose • To attack the Daily Mail’s vision of a victorious nation • “the casualties (typed small) / And (large) Vast Booty from our Latest Haul” (2-3) • “worthy Victory” (13) • Daily Mail censored the casualties yet displayed the Booty (goods obtained) • Daily Mail was notoriously jingoistic (infamously patriotic)

  17. Purpose • To expose the potential bitterness towards society from those who survived • “Nation? -- the half-limped soldiers did not chafe” (18) • “But smiled at each other curiously” (19) • chafe: feel extreme irritation or anger curiously: beyond or deviating from the usual or expected

  18. Meter & Rhyme • Single extended stanza • Can be divided into 6 quatrains (alternative rhyme scheme) • Propaganda section is a monotonous iambic meter • Other sections are trochees (metrical foot of two syllables, one long/stressed and one short/unstressed) • Trochee: opposite of the iamb • Contrast differentiates the sham from reality

  19. Literary Devices Metaphors • “making homes” (6) • settle down, quit fighting • “foremost need is aerodromes” (7) • need more people to fight, people are being compared to war utensils • “The sons we offered might regret they died / If we got nothing lasting in their stead” (10-11) • the young soldiers who previously joined and died, they will not be at peace if there is no one to replace them so join the army to give them peace

  20. Literary Devices Metaphors (continued) • “We rulers sitting in this ancient spot” • “we rulers” refers to the newspaper • “ancient spot” is Britain • “England one by one had fled to France” • many English soldiers were in France to fight during the war

  21. Literary Devices Personification • “England one by one fled to France” • England = English soldiers Alliteration – enhances rhythm • “Would wrong” (15) • “Greatest glory” (16) Consonance – usually used to create harmony • “dead” (9) and “died” (10) • ironic

  22. Literary Devices Repetition • “Head to limp head,” “sunk-eyed” (1) and “half-limbed” (18) • nationalism doesn’t pay attention to the mental and physical maiming of the soldiers • “Cheap homes” and “making homes” • many died and never got a chance to make a home and raise a family • “smiled” (19), “smiles”(24), “smile” (26) • appears 3 times • a link to title of poem

  23. Diction & Connotation • Caustic – harsh and corrosive in language • “limp head” (1) • “sunk-eyed” (1) • “half-limbed” (18) • The men who make up the nation are physically damaged

  24. Diction & Connotation • “The sons we offered” (10) • sacrificial • “England one by one fled to France” • fled: an action done willingly yet the soldiers had to move to France to fight

  25. Imagery & Symbolism • “limp head, sunk-eyed wounded” (1) “half-limbed readers” (18) • wounded soldiers = reality of war • “aerodromes” (7) • symbolizes that war must go on • “Sons we offered”(10) • sacrificial connotation which means they (people like the Majors in “Base Details) are not concerned about the young who died

  26. Imagery & Symbolism • “Solidly indemnified”(12) • image of staying strong and fortification; need for more soldiers to ensure victory • “like secret men who know their secret safe” (20) • the soldiers know the real truth

  27. Tone & Mood • Satirical – Sassoon’s influence on Owen • Propaganda section – enthusiastic • Other sections – patronizing tone • “The men’s first instinct will be making homes” (6) • instinctive actions rather than rational actions • “Peace would do wrong to our undying dead”(9) • the dead would resent the survival of others, insult to the dead

  28. Tone & Mood & Atmosphere • “We rulers sitting in this ancient spot” (14) • we (Daily Mail) decide what to say • “How they smile! They’re happy now, poor things” • many suggest Owen is mocking the women, this line has a feminine touch; can be argued • Politically rebellious • “Nation?” (18)

  29. Tension & Conflicts

  30. Irony • “It being certain war has just begun” (8) • war was coming to an end • “Peace would do wrong to our undying dead” (9) • peace should bring harmony and calmness, yet it would “do wrong” • “The sons we offered might regret they died” (10) • someone dead isn’t able to regret • “How they smile! They’re happy now, poor things” (26) • sarcastic and mockery

  31. Theme • Owens's recurring theme of exposing the truth about the war is very prominent • “ Nation?” (18) • one way Owen exposes the soldiers real feelings and beliefs • Nationalism and how the soldiers have none left • The lies of propaganda

  32. Conclusion • Owen denounces nationalism • Creates a strong ironic image of war torn soldiers reading about the glory the war • Shows how propaganda in news papers and songs was used to try and recruit fit soldiers to join the war • Owen shows the readers the story from the soldier’s point of view • they know everything, including the fact that the glorification of war was just a big lie.

  33. Art Aspect… • Propaganda Poster • Both poem and poster convey the same message • Advertizing the need for more soldiers • Notice the capitalization on the top and bottom for emphasis • Dark background + light font = eye catching • “We must be solidly indemnified” (12) and poster have same meaning • Poster = heroic picture • Poem = “greatest glory will be theirs who fought” (16)

  34. How We Feel About this Poem Rabeea: “I believe this poem not only is exposing the propaganda during WWI but it can also account for the continuous propaganda right now. We read newspapers daily about the Canadian or American army recruiting young men to fight for their country. They all fight, some die, some are left being amputees. Do they obtain glory? No, all they get is pain and misery. I believe this poem states just that. In this poem, even after fighting for their country, the soldiers are now “half-limbed” and are reading the jingoistic newspaper. After experiencing the war first-hand, they know the truth of the war.”

  35. How We Feel About this Poem Melanie: “I really like the way Owen sets up this poem in the sense that it shows us what kind of nonsense the newspapers would write about and how they would exploit the soldiers in such inhumane ways. The papers say that the ones who died need to be replaced otherwise they will gain nothing and what they are doing is worthless. Owen did a good job of showing sarcastically what he thinks of this propaganda, and by writing “Nation?” with an question mark he shows his disgust. The fact that this poem is related to an actual song aimed to keep the troops in moral and keep them fighting sends a strong message and strengthens Owen's point.”

  36. THE END