18 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2017
    1. In all my dreams before my helpless sight He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

      It is interesting that the speaker gives us a graphic image of the sound of death using the language "guttering," "choking," and "drowning," yet it is in contrast to a dream-like state. This creates slight confusion as to whether we are now in the speaker's dream or his reality. This could be a futile attempt in showing how easy it is to have the lines of reality and fantasy cross; making the soldier a prisoner to war and "The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori."

    2. The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.

      We come back to this Latin phrase, “Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori” yet again. After being exposed to the imagery of the cruelties produced by chemical warfare, the soldiers are forever altered like the state of being “drunk” or in "An ecstasy" with now having to constantly live in the aftermath of war. The allusion of this phrase creates a shattering of one owns belief and alters the idea of what it means to be patriotic; just as the gas alters the mental capacity of the individual fighting for their country.

      To quote W.B. Yeats), a poet during the 1920's post-war Europe, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;" Our perception of war is forever changed through the lens and perspective of those used as human sacrifice.

    3. panes

      During WWI "panes" were visors of the gas mask that were used during war. Recall that this war was the introduction of chemical warfare; there was a lack of preparation in terms of understanding what exactly the gas was capable of doing to a human. Captain A.J. Waugh (as cited in Jones, 2014) expressed, “uncontrolled anxiety during a gas attack could cause men to tear off their protective masks” which would result in agonizing pain or death; however, the goal of chemical warfare was to instill fear and destroy the enemy.

    4. As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

      Here we have a picture from WWI capturing a terrifying wave of gas being released. You can see how the fumes look as though they resemble waves of the ocean about to swallow up the soldiers; the words of the speaker coming alive when he states "I saw him drowning."

    5. Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling

      WWI marked the introduction of chemical warfare which in return created complete terror and pandemonium; soldiers were not prepared for the effects of chemical warfare. As Jones indicates, the use of chemical warfare was to “terrorize the enemy and make their troops temporarily lose their minds.” Alexander Watson also claimed in his study (as cited in Jones, 2014) “gas created uncertainty: unlike shrapnel, it killed from the inside, eroding a soldier’s sense of control, while raising the terrifying fear of being suffocated." Going off the “created uncertainty” we have the use of "ecstasy" which encompasses a trance-like state; coinciding with the idea of being "drunk with fatigue" (see above annotation) from the effects of the gas. The delayed reactions of the soldiers against the gas would result in a behavior of "fumbling." The gas was designed to attack the nervous system; accelerating the deterioration of the body and mind.

    6. Drunk with fatigue

      War is not only difficult on the physical aspect of an individual; it is just as difficult on the emotional and mental capacity of a human. It is factual that WWI culminated an astronomical amount of casualties, destruction, and disablement. This reference to being “drunk” may help guide us into the notion that soldiers are not able to differentiate between fantasy and reality under the duress of mentioned “fatigue.” We can understand that the state of "drunk" alters your reality and can have dangerous repercussions; in this sense, the loss of one's mind or life. In the prior lines we have loss of physical functionalities of the human body with words such as “limped on,” “lame,” and “blind,” which coincides with the premature aging or physical deterioration of the soldiers.

    7. like old beggars

      With the introduction and evolution of chemical weapons used in this war (WWI); human bodies were no match for the damage these weapons were designed to inflict. Leading into the imagery of soldiers physically deteriorating when using phrases such as "bent double," "coughing like hags," and "men marched asleep;" would not lead one to believe that war is “sweet and fitting” in any capacity. With the use of the word “beggars” our minds may envision the effects of poverty and desperation which war seems to produce, and in this sense, we are given language expressing the overwhelming misery and accelerated age progression with the use of “old.” These descriptions challenge the assumptions the mind tends to gravitate towards when picturing what it means to "die for ones country."

    8. Dulce et Decorum Est

      This title was written in Latin and originally comes from the Roman poet Horace ode (III.2.13) which translates to “sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country.” Horace’s ode paints patriotism and nationalism in a positive light as opposed to Owen’s bitter and stark realization of the cost of patriotism; paid for at the expense of the physical and mental deterioration of the soldier’s body during the First World War. As Harold Bloom suggest, Owen’s aim was “to attack the concept that sacrifice is sacred; he hoped to destroy the glamorized decency of war.” It is important to keep the title in mind in regards to what it means in the connotation of sweet verses sickly.

  2. Sep 2017
    1. waved their shaking hearts in his fists

      Here, I found a picture representing a sacrifice, which links to the brother having taken the hearts of his parents.

    2. la Avenida de los Muertos

      This poem hits on the concept of death many times. With that said, I wanted to include a picture of the Teotihuacan which happens to have the Avenue of the Dead running about 2 miles long down the middle.

    3. fell in love   with sparkling spoonfuls

      The brother obviously has an issue with some form of substance abuse which seems to be altering his own reality around him, so much that he believes himself to be a god. I thought it important to look up information pertaining to the Aztecs and drugs used. This article goes more into detail of drug use.

    4. fed them to gods ruling

      In Aztec culture, sacrifice, whether animal or human was considered necessary in order to please the gods. With that said, this article does a nice job at explaining the importance of giving humans to the gods as a blood sacrifice.

    5. burn to the ground at any moment

      The speaker of the poem mentions words and phrases such as "burn," "fire," and also "no electricity" which made me want to look up the importance of fire in the Aztec solar year. Fire ceremony was very important, at least according to this article.

    6. They loved him

      Although the brother is sucking the life out of his parents, we are told by the speaker that the parents keep trying to help him even at their own expense. I wanted to look up the importance of gender roles in Aztec culture to maybe get an idea of why the parents keep enabling their son. In order to do so, I decided to look at childbirth practices.

    7. their leader, following him

      I like how this picture gives an image of these words.

    8. Avenida de los Muertos

      Avenue of the Dead, thought it interesting this was mentioned since there are mounds on the sides that are thought to be tombs. This poem hits on the idea of death many times.

  3. Aug 2017
    1. They fed him crushed diamonds and fire. He gobbled the gifts.

      The mention of "crushed diamonds and fire" reminds me of the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," which I believe was a reference to LSD. Although the substance of choice is not mentioned clearly, I think it is safe to conclude that the brother is addicted to some drug. The word "gobbled," in this context for me, tends to provoke a type of eagerness in a hunger, which confirms the brother's addiction.

    2. his realm knew he had the power that day

      Although the reasoning behind the brother's god like treatment is uncertain, (substance abuse and/or patriarchal/cultural principles), what I found interesting in this line is the speaker's use of the word "that" in the line "he had the power that day" It would seem to imply that this power is destined to dissipate or decline inevitably.