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Quotes

Quote #4

"But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime..." (11-12)

Lime, or quicklime, is a chemical compound that can burn through the human body (sort of like fire). Referring to death by fire or lime allows Owen to describe the horrors of gassing as both natural and unnatural suffering…it's like fire and lime-burns combined.

Quote #5

"In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." (15-16)

Because the trio of verbs in line 17 are gerunds (verb forms that end in –ing), we get the sense that the action is in the present tense. The speaker's comrade dies over and over in his dream, making the suffering of wartime casualties never-ending.

Quote #6

"…the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;" (17-18)

The man described here seems almost inhuman…as if the physical effects of gassing can transform his body into a version of hell on earth. His very face begins to melt off of him.

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