POL: Analysis of Poem Dulce et Decorum Est Launch Audio in a New Window BY WILFRED OWEN Bent double, like old beggars under sacks, Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, Till on

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POL: Analysis of Poem

Dulce et Decorum Est

Launch Audio in a New Window


Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

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

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—

Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.


Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

Directions: When you are asked to provide the chunks of your poem, make sure you provide all of them. For the purpose of this activity, do not use more than four lines for a chunk.

1. Poetry Exploration: Syntax (5)

Directions: Take the poem you are memorizing for POL and divide it by chunks using syntax. Type / copy each chunk on a line. Pay particular attention to where punctuation is, so as to pause appropriately. Re-write your poem based on those chunks/pauses.

2. Poetry Exploration: Imagery (5)

Directions: Identify every image in your poem. Write the phrase in the appropriate category. 7 choices in each one






3. Poetry Exploration: Title (5)

For #1 indicate the prediction you made with the title. If your poem is a sonnet which uses the first line as the little, work with the first line.

For #2, indicate what the poem actually ended up being about.

For #3, explain why the title is appropriate for the poem.

4.Poetry Exploration: Speaker/Situation  (5)

Explain in a sentence who the speaker of the poem is.

Next, pull some line/phrase/idea from the poem that supports your assertion of who the speaker is.

Finally, in one sentence, explain the situation that requires the writing of this poem. What has the speaker experienced to make him/her/it write this poem?


How I know:


5. Poetry Exploration: Denotation  (5)

Directions: Define all the words you do not know in your poem. Do NOT use the root of a word to define itself. Use the definition that is appropriate for the poem. If you know the definition of every single word, then choose 4 words that are the most challenging vocabulary and provide that definition. INCLUDE any word you do not know how to say.

6. Poetry Exploration: Connotation- All the thoughts, feelings, words, cultural associations, extended definition of a word.(10)

Directions: Copy/paste your POL poem divided by chunks on the left side. In the middle column, identify the MOST important word in the chunk and type that word. To determine the most important word, ask yourself which word makes a difference to the meaning or more of an impact on meaning. Once you have identified the most impactful word in the chunk, spend time writing all of the connotations you have with the word.  Eventually, you will begin to notice a pattern of the same type of connotations emerging from the poem. Note – when working with this step for class, work to identify a minimum of 10 total words in your poem. If you have fewer than 10 chunks, you may have to choose more than one important word for connotation. If you have more than 10 chunks, make sure you work with each chunk.

7. Poetry Exploration: Summary/Paraphrase (5)

Directions: You should already have your poem for POL divided by syntactical units/chunks. In the table below, copy your poem one chunk at a time on the left-hand column. On the right-hand column, summarize or paraphrase what is happening for that chunk or what the meaning is of that chunk.

8. Poetry Exploration: Figurative Language (5)

Directions: Identify ALL of the figurative language/metaphor umbrella used in your poem. You may refer to the Metaphors and Meaning handout for your list of figurative language.

On the left hand column insert every single chunk of your poem.

In the next column write N/A if there is not any figurative language. If there is figurative language, identify the type.

In the next column write a sentence saying what is being compared to what.

In the final column, write a sentence explaining the significance of the comparison. Explain what more you understand with the comparison.





POL: Tone Analysis of Poem (5)

Directions: Use the provided tone lists in the Poetry section of Classroom to determine the tone that is appropriate for each syntactic unit/chunk. Highlight where you see the major shift in the poem. Remember that a shift in tone can be complementary or contrasting. You must choose a specific tone word. You may not choose a general category.

Syntactic Unit / Chunk from Poem

The tone you will use in delivery of chunk


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