Wilfred Owen

Start Free Trial

In "The Send-Off," who stood staring hard and what is his emotion? Is everybody feeling the same way?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A “casual tramp” in this poem stands staring hard at the women who rush to bid farewell to a group of soldiers going off to the front. The tramp appears interested in the soldiers and the poet says that he was “sorry to miss” those who had come from the other camp. The general atmosphere is, from the public perspective, a festival one, but the poet does not feel the same way. The flowers the girls wear seem akin to him to the flowers on dead men’s breasts, and he doubts the soldiers will be greeted with such riotous applause when they return, only a “few” compared to those who left. He wonders too if the soldiers will begin to recognise the mockery inherent in this type of send off once the realities of war have been endured. The casual tramp, a mere onlooker, may be entertained by the passing out of these men, but the soldier speaker knows better.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team