Futility - Wilfred Owen

Jessica Phillips
Mind Map by Jessica Phillips, updated more than 1 year ago
Jessica Phillips
Created by Jessica Phillips over 5 years ago


In depth analysis of Wilfred Owen's poem Futility from conflict section of English Literature anthology Moon on the Tides. Information on structure, language, form, techniques, imagery, comparisons included.

Resource summary

Futility - Wilfred Owen


1 Form and Structure
1.1 Poem is an elegy


  • Elegy - A poem or song composed especially as a lament (expression of grief) for a deceased person.
1.2 Two stanzas
1.3 Half rhymes throughout
2 Title
2.1 Pointlessness of life
2.2 Anti-proper gander
2.3 War is pointless
2.4 Pointless/useless
3 Language
3.1 Imagery
3.1.1 'Are limbs' Two meanings for 'limbs' Branches of a tree Fits into nature theme Paired appendages Legs and arms
3.1.2 'Woke once the clays of a cold star.' Oxymoron Contrasts with the sun Consonance - hard sounds
3.1.3 'At home, whispering of fields half-sown' 'half-sown' unfinished like his life farmer - could have been his profession before the war 'whispering' is onomatopoeia
3.1.4 'Think how it wakes the seeds' 'wakes' - brings to life 'seeds' - metaphor for young men and their potential
4 Poetic Techniques
4.1 Personification
4.1.1 'Move him into the sun, Gently its touch awoke him once' Sun is also a metaphor for giver of life Warmth and light 'Gently' contrasts with battlefield and war
4.2 Both stanzas begin with a command
4.2.1 'Move him' Direct address 'him' represent any soldier Can't move himself
4.2.2 'Think'
4.3 Question
4.3.1 'Was it for this the clay grew tall?' Mud - comes from the earth Biblical reference - genesis 2.7 Man comes from the earth
4.3.2 'To break earths sleep at all?'
5 Comparision
5.1 Falling Leaves
5.1.1 Has a nature theme also
6 Subject and Themes
6.1 Nature themes and imagery
6.2 Wilfred Owen was on the front line but he chose to write about grief and despair instead of violence and horror
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