It's not likely you're making it through a Wilfred Owen poem without some mention of war, and "Strange Meeting" is no exception. This poem is crowded with soldiers and the suffering they continue to endure, even after death. Our poor speaker may have escaped battle, but he's entered hell. And in this poem hell is a place where the horrors of war are replayed over and over again. So really, there's no escape.
Questions About Warfare
- What do you think Owen means when he describes the tunnel to hell as having been, "scooped / Through granites which Titanic wars had groined"?
- Why do you think speaker number one doesn't recognize speaker number two (the man he recently killed in battle)?
- We hear a lot about speaker number two's opinion on war; do you think speaker number one would agree or disagree with him? Why or why not?
- Even though it seems like war is hard on the soldiers, do you think (according to this poem) that Owen believes war is ultimately useful? Why or why not?
Chew on This
The two soldiers in this poem have opposite views of war. Even though speaker number two thinks it's bad, speaker number one thinks it's difficult, but ultimately important to the progress of nations.
Owen set this poem in hell because he believed that regardless of which side you are on, or who wins or loses, every soldier is doomed to hell because of the violence he both commits and has to endure.