What can you tell me about "Strange Meeting"? Techniques used, message, themes,context, and poem structure.i need to know basically everything about this poem as it is for an oral presentation...

What can you tell me about "Strange Meeting"? Techniques used, message, themes,context, and poem structure.

i need to know basically everything about this poem as it is for an oral presentation and i need to make summary sheets for the class concerning all aspects of this poem and the authour.

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Thank you for introducing me to this powerful poem.

Wilfred Owen was one of the most important poets to write about World War I.  "Strange Meeting," like many of his poems, expresses a very negative attitude about the horrors and futility of war. 

The poet describes his descent down a "profound dull tunnel."  He soon discovers that this "sullen hall" is actually Hell.  Although the place is certainly not pleasant, it seems better than the battlefield from where the poet has recently come.  He remarks to a man that he meets in Hell,

"Strange friend...here is no cause to mourn."

The man agrees that there is no cause to mourn--except for "the undone years," meaning all that he could have accomplished if he had not been killed in battle.

For by my glee might many men have laughed,
And of my weeping something had been left,
Which must die now.

He regrets that he must "miss the march" of the world.

In the last stanza, the man reveals a shocking secret: he is the enemy whom the poet killed in battle:

I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark: for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

Although the poet killed him, the man seems willing to forgive;he says, "Let us sleep now."  He seems to realize that the war was an absurd form of madness for which no individual can be blamed.

The poem's four stanzas are written in lines of 10 syllables each.  Although the lines do not rhyme, Owens uses an interesting kind of semi-rhyme: he often pairs words that share several consonant and vowel sounds.  Some examples:

hall, Hell

grained, ground

moan, mourn

years, yours

wild, world

 

 

 

 

 

 

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