Analyze the poem "Conscious" by Wilfred Owen.


Wilfred Owen

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rrteacher's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #1)

"Conscious" is a third person description of a wounded World War I soldier convalescing in a hospital, probably somewhere in England or France. The title is a reference to the fact that the man is waking up, his eyes opening by the "pull of will" alone. This suggests that he has been severely wounded, as does the description of his "fluttering" fingers. He notes the "smooth floor" and the quiet of the hospital, contrasting it with the battlefield horrors he has seen. Whatever his physical condition, he is obviously traumatized by what he has experienced. As he waits for the nurse to come and help him, his mind drifts back to the "crimson slaughter" of the front, and a trench narrows before him in his mind. The poem ends disturbingly:

Cold, he's cold; yet hot:And there's no light to see the voices by... There is no time to ask...he knows not what.

 It may be that the soldier is expiring on the bed as he calls for the nurse, or it may be that he is simply drifting back out of the state of consciousness that he has briefly assumed. Either way, his mind and body are left shredded by the conditions he faced on the battlefield. This is one of several poems that Owen wrote about hospitals, in addition to his famous evocations of life for soldiers on the battlefield. Like his war poems, his hospital poems, including "Conscious," bear solemn witness to the horrors of war.
user3521318's profile pic

Posted on (Answer #2)


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