What is significant about the setting of "Disabled" by Wilfred Owen?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The setting of "Disabled" seems to be a room in a military hospital within earshot of a park. This is significant to the message of the poem, as Owen juxtaposes the laughter and activity of boys in the park with the immobility, depression and misery of the subject of the poem, who sat and "shivered in his ghastly suit of grey":

Through the park
Voices of boys rang saddening like a hymn,
Voices of play and pleasure after day,
Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him.

Throughout the poem, Owen compares the realities of war with the frivolity of youth. He went to war, to some extent, to prove his manhood, in part to impress young women. But though he was attractive to women before the war, his wounds have made him a sort of freakish figure in their eyes. In the last stanza, he again compares war to youthly masculinity, noting that the people who cheered him home were not like the crowds that cheered at football matches. His wounds are also unlike the bloody cuts he suffered playing football. In the end, the setting is again important, as this once virile and powerful young man sits shivering, hoping that the nurses will return and take him to bed.

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