Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

"Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge," (1-2)

Using the word "like" to create two similes (the soldiers are "like" "old beggars" and "hags"), Owen suggests that their reality is so surreal that he needs to find comparative ways to describe it so that his readers can understand how gruesome his experience has been.

Quote #2

"Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning." (13-14)

The many veils between the speaker and the dying man create an otherworldly sense in these lines, almost as if the man is already in the underworld (or hell).

Quote #3

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

After the events narrated in the poem, the speaker's dreams are as real (if not more real) than his waking experiences. The war becomes a mental battle, one which doesn't stop wrecking his mind even after the official fighting has ceased.

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