Critical Evaluation of “The Sentry”
“The Sentry” was written by Wilfred Owen during ‘World War One’. The text uses imagery to give us as readers and idea of what being situated in an ‘old Boche dug-out’ was like. In the following evaluation, I tend to show that Owen uses different techniques to show the devastation that war causes.
The poem begins frantically as Owen, and his fellow countrymen, are trapped in an ‘old Boche dug-out’. They are being blasted by ‘shell on frantic shell’ which ‘hammered on top, but never quite burst through’. This is only the first three lines of the poem, and already Owen has used rhyme (knew, through) and onomatopoeia (hammered).
‘Rain, guttering down in waterfalls of slime’. The rain is not actually falling vertically into the dug-out, however the writer uses the simile to enhance the idea to the reader that the weather conditions are terrible. The water level was ‘waist high, that rising hour by hour’. Owen uses repetition (hour by hour) and one simile in the 4th & 5th lines two lines. This is probably the most exciting paragraph as you fear for the lives of the soldiers, due to the fact the battlefield in front of from falls eerily silent
Owen successfully describes an atmosphere of fear and death, ‘the smell of men, who’d lived there for years, left their corpses in the den’. This creates a worry for the reader that, if the dug-out already has bodies in it, his could be next’. The anticipation of knowing the bodies are there makes the reader want to read on and find out his fate.
We are told that one of the ‘whizz-bangs, found our door at last’. ‘Thud! Flump! Thud! Down the steep steps came thumping...The Sentry’s body’. This has the effect of appealing to two of our human senses, we as readers don’t just see the body falling, we also hear it too. Alliteration and repeated sounds (thud thud ) adds to the flow of the line. The solider who was hit by the bomb lies in the ‘mud on ruck’.
Owens uses rhythm that flows...