Wilfred Owen Poems Hsc Essay


Wilfred Owen’s poems form a poetry text  within the “Close Study of Text ” Module B  in the 2015 HSC English Standard course. The specific poems that form part of the HSC English Standard Module are listed here, and you can read them online in a link below:

Owen Wilfred


Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written earlier by war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Among his best-known works — most of which were published posthumously — are “Dulce et Decorum Est”, “Insensibility”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Futility” and “Strange Meeting


Video Explanation


Please note the Syllabus Descriptions and Syllabus Annotations components of this page have been replicated from the Board of Studies, Testing and Educational Standards website. The PDF document of the HSC Annotations can be found here. The main reason any information has been replicated has been to make it easier for NSW HSC students to access information on this text.

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REFER TO THE FOLLOWING “Practically-perfect Analytic Paragraph Scaffold” as you draft your essay…


Are you starting to draft your assessment task essay?

Not really sure where to start?

Not really sure how to structure your essay?

Please use the following guides and scaffolds to help plan your essay.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE Essay Planner GUIDE – for Wilfred Owen essay

2. Use the following Vocabulary Table – to help you integrate your analysis into your paragraphs:


Words to describe the TONE – which is created by the emotive language / allusions / onomatopoeia / assonance / alliteration in WILFRED OWEN’S poetry:

  1. Angered: made angry
  2. Antagonistic: angrily opposed
  3. Antipathetic: expressing antipathy, or aggression or aversion
  4. Belligerent: see bellicose
  5. Bitter: harshly upset due to resentment
  6. Caustic: cruelly angry, or sarcastic
  7. Contemptuous
  8. Cynical
  9. Despondent
  10. Disillusioned
  11. Embittered: made upset
  12. Enraged: violently angry
  13. Hostile: actively intimidating, unfriendly, or resistant
  14. Incensed: see indignant
  15. Indignant: angry because of a real or perceived slight or unjust attack
  16. Outraged: angry about an offense
  17. Rancorous: malevolently angry
  18. Vitriolic: see caustic


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF “Strange Meeting” By Wilfred Owen

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE “Poetic and Language Techniques in Strange Meeting


Perhaps… you might find this lecture more engaging?

Homework: Paragraph Question #2 – Due Thursday Week 7.




CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF the poem  ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH annotation and analysis notes


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE Analysis Table Anthem for Doomed Youth



CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD FOR A COPY Analysis Table Dulce et Decorum est…


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE Wilfred Owen Course-work summary – homework due: Thursday – Week 3


CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE Wilfred Owen Course-work summary #2 – homework due: Thursday Week 5.


DULCE ET DECORUM EST By Wilfred Owen (1918)



The distinctive qualities of a text are the things that make it unique to that poet.

  1. Consider the concepts, values, attitudes and ideas of the poem
  2. Consider the language features favoured by the poet
  3. If you had a collection of poems from a variety of poets, how would you recognise the poetry of Wilfred Owen?
  4. What are the ‘distinctive qualities’ that would make his poetry stand out from the rest?

In his poetry Owen focused on the realities of conflict and its emotional and psychological impact rather than with any glorified trappings.  His first hand experience gave authority to his depictions of war’s carnage, described in one of his letters home as, “the universal pervasion of Ugliness.  Hideous landscapes, vile noises…everything unnatural, broken, blasted”.  His didactic purpose was to expose the propagandist lies that enticed young men to enlist and to show how it dehumanized and brutalized them.  He also tried to awaken the social conscience and public outcry as the only way to put a stop to the senseless butchery.  Giving the eulogy at Owen’s funeral, Sassoon described him as a “poet of peace” who wrote of the “soldier’s experience” in ways that could “be used in times of peace to understand human nature.

His poetry is rich in imagery and symbolism which creates repulsive, haunting images of death and suffering.   Biting satire and sensory and nature imagery are used to mock traditional concepts of honour, glory and the heroic ordeal.  Imagery relating to weather, flowers and  the sun are also given different connotations alongside those of death, blood and suffering.   Nature is presented as both a benevolent force as well as one that rages in fury against soldiers on the battlefield or freezes them into eternal sleep as found in Futility.  Owen disorients his readers, denying them the opportunity to remain passive in the face of what is being revealed.

His imagery is also often associated with the passage of time, “hour after hour”, or of night and day, “this morning”, or with references to sunlight and dark, dawn, twilight and dusk.  Such references give a temporal context to his subject.  Colour imagery is also used with dramatic impact.  Red and crimson become representative of blood, slaughter and death while by contrast, yellows and gold are more commonly equated with nature, warmth and life.  The negativity often associated with white, grey and black in turn helps define the emotional emptiness and suffering of war.
…to be continued….







Riddle of the week: Why was the big cat disqualified from the race?  _____________?????

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