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Compare How Futility And Out Of The Blue Deal With The Issue Of Death

1238 words - 5 pages

Compare and contrast how ‘Futility’ and ‘Out of the Blue’ deal with the issue of death.
In ‘Out of the Blue’ and ‘Futility’, we see the ways that the poets portray their feelings about death. In Simon Armitage’s ‘Out of the Blue’ the death has not occurred yet however it shows how the poet portrays feelings of oncoming death. In ‘Futility’ the poet shows the futile nature of war in the useless loss of life as a young soldier loses his life.
Owen uses imagery to evoke an emotive response from the reader. The poet uses natural imagery to remind the reader of the pointlessness of life. The sun, a powerful and evocative image of life, has no power in the revival of the young soldier in the ...view middle of the document...

The symbolism of the white shirt has changed to connotations of surrender which implies that his feelings are changing as he loses hope and accepts that death is closer. Aural imagery is also used, as Armitage writes of ‘wailing’ siren below the speaker, personifying them which implies that they are grieving over the death and destruction of the attacks but more of the dire situation that the speaker is in. By the end of the poem the image of the flag of surrender has shifted again so that the last sentence, following the caesura in the final line is ‘I am failing, flagging’. The word ‘flagging’ echoes the image of the flag ‘of surrender’ and with its alliterative link to ‘failing’ Armitage emphasises that the speaker has lost all feelings of hope.
Owen uses the structure of the poem ‘Futility’ to convey a single event and the subsequent thought it evokes. He uses the simple sonnet form to find the essence of what a death brings to him – the feeling of utter pointlessness. He epitomises the feelings of nihilism and emptiness that death can bring. He uses half-rhyme to create a disjointed, unnatural feel that makes the poem feel strange and creates a queer disjointed harmony; it doesn’t sound correct. This is appropriate for the subject itself as even though the dead soldier appears to be just sleeping, he isn’t. He also builds on the series of questions he asks in the poem to build up to the most profound of all: ‘Oh what made fatuous sunbeams toil/to break the earth’s sleep at all?’ Here we see how he cannot fathom why the universe in bothered to raise anything at all, whether it be a civilisation or this boy, the poet implies that humans are too destructive to be gifted anything at all.
Similarly, Armitage uses the structure of his poem ‘Out of the Blue’ to deal with the issue of how people felt surrounding the incident of the 9/11 attacks. The lines in this poem are mostly of a familiar length, until the penultimate stanza in which Armitage includes a single one-word line: ‘believing’. Highlighting this line aside from the others draws attention to the sheer unexpected nature of the attacks, it reinforces the sense of astonishment felt by people who struggled to believe what they were seeing, unsure that the events before their eyes could be true. It also reveals the thoughts of the speaker, as it could be the speaker wondering whether people still...

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