The Soldier's Gaze of Wilfred Owen: How the Poems "Dulce et Decorum Est," "Apologia Pro Poemate Meo," and "Spring Offensive" Point to the Gaps in War

Document Type


Publication Date



Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature


Mara Faulkner, English


The three titular poems of this thesis form the most basic understanding of soldiers' experiences and reaction in combat and war. Further understanding, or shortening of gaps in understanding, come when the civilian-reader learns more about war from soldier-authors. Alongside my close textual analysis of Owen's poems is supplemental material which helped put into focus how different modern war is from peace and how that difference changes soldiers. This change widens the gaps in understanding further between the soldier-author and the civilian-reader of war texts. I conclude that art is a poor conduit for war experience because the gaps in understanding-which inevitably crop up between soldier and civilian-are irreducible, contradictory, paradoxical, enigmatic, and extreme. The unitary, definitive conclusion the civilian audience places on fictions of war is misplaced, and such a unitary, definitive conclusion does not exist.