The Send Off Essay Format

The Send-Off - Synopsis and commentary

Synopsis of The Send-Off

Owen describes how the troops leave their training camp by train with flowers on their breasts, watched by the porters and a tramp. He does not know to which front line of the war they are going. The poet asks if they will return and speculates that only a few will ‘creep’ back home up roads which they only half remember.

Investigating The Send-Off

  • Make a time map or a flow chart of the journey Owen takes us through in this poem from the initial send off to the final return.
    • Is there a circular movement in the poem?
    • In what way does it end where it began?

Commentary on The Send-Off

In this profound and moving poem Owen, in an understated, almost gentle way communicates the tragedy and waste of war. It is a straightforward account relating how many men have been sent off to war and how few will return.

Context of The Send-Off

This poem was written while Owen was at training camp in Ripon in 1918. Owen had undergone one tour of duty on the Somme (France) in early 1917 and had been invalided home with neurasthenia later that year. Having been discharged from Craiglockhart where he had convalesced, he was being prepared to return to the Western Front. 

Protest

At the Ripon training camp Owen would have observed hundreds of men being sent off to war in the way he describes here: new recruits and old soldiers. He would know only too well what fate awaited many of them. (He himself would not be among the ‘few’ of line 18.)

Not surprisingly, the mood of The Send-Off is in marked contrast to those of other poets whose poems were written in the early months of the war and were full of patriotic fervour. It is different even to some of Owen’s own, angry, anti-war poems such as Dulce et Decorum Est which he had completed a few months before and may well have been revising at Ripon at the same time as The Send-Off was written. Unlike them, this poem makes no attempt to reproduce the violence and agony of the front; rather it leaves that to the imagination of the reader who can only surmise what the ‘grimly gay’ men of the first stanza will experience before a ‘few’ of them ‘creep back, silent ... / Up half-known roads’. 

Title and redrafts

Owen originally entitled this poem not The Send–Off but The Draft. This is a military term for a group of conscripted men. The original title concentrates on a particular group of men going off to the front. The final title considers the whole process of sending men off to war and their unlikely return. Owen made seven drafts of The Send-Off. Parts of the poem were there from the first, others he struggled with.

Investigating commentary on The Send-Off

  • The Send-Off was crafted and re-crafted by Owen until he was satisfied.
    • In your view which is the better title - The Send-Off or The Draft?

The name of the area or department of France where much of the fierce fighting of the war took place.

The contemporary medical term for shell-shock.

A large Victorian building in Edinburgh, Scotland that was requisitioned by the military in 1916 and turned into a war hospital for the treatment of shell-shocked officers.

The line of fighting in western Europe in World War I.

A man ordered by law to join the armed forces.

Presentation on theme: "The Send-Off War Poetry 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Send-OffWar Poetry1

2 Contents Lesson 1 Lesson 2 Lesson 3 Lesson 4 Lesson 5 Links
IntroductionWilfred Owen and the Social Historical Context A brief biography of Wilfred Owen and an exploration of the poem’s context.Lesson 1What is it about? Read the poem, discussion of ideas, consolidation of understanding.Lesson 2Imagery Discuss the poem’s use of imagery.Lesson 3Style and form Analysis of style and form and Owen’s use of poetic devices.Lesson 4Language Exploration of word choices and depth of meaning, using P.E.E to write about language.Lesson 5Themes Themes of the poem explored, consolidation of the poet’s meaning and purposeLinksWhere to find further information about Wilfred Owen and World War One resources

3 Wilfred Owen

4 Wilfred Owen Objectives: To learn about Wilfred Owen and the context
of Owen’s poetry

5 Click the picture to watch a short film about Wilfred Owen
Over the coming lessons we will be studying the poem The Send-Off but before we read the poem we need to find out a little bit about the author. Wilfred Owen, a British poet and soldier, was one of the leading poets of World War One. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trench life was in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the patriotic verses written by war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Owen was killed in action a week before the war ended.Click the picture to watch a short film about Wilfred Owen

6 World War One

7 Historical ContextWilfred Owen is one of the most famous war poets. He was born in 1893 and died in 1918, just one week from the end of World War One. His poetry is characterised by powerful descriptions of the conditions faced by soldiers in the trenches. World War One took place between 1914 and 1918 and is remembered particularly for trench warfare, the use of gas and the appalling and senseless slaughter of millions of men, many as young as 15 years old. Owen’s poems are often violent and realistic, challenging earlier poetry which communicated a pro-war message. The first-hand experience of war is arguably one reason why there is such a shift in the attitude of poets towards war.

8 World War One See British troops boarding a train bound for the war
Life in the trenchesClick the images to watch two brief films about the First World War

9 The Send-Off

10 An introduction to the poem
Objectives:To read and listen to ‘The Send-Off’To discuss ideas/first impressionsTo consolidate general understanding of the poem

11 The Send-OffDown the close, darkening lanes they sang their way To the siding-shed, And lined the train with faces grimly gay.Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray As men's are, dead.Dull porters watched them, and a casual tramp Stood staring hard, Sorry to miss them from the upland camp.Then, unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp Winked to the guard.

12 The Send-OffSo secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they went. They were not ours: We never heard to which front these were sent.Nor there if they yet mock what women meant Who gave them flowers.Shall they return to beatings of great bells In wild trainloads? A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,May creep back, silent, to still village wells, Up half-known roads.

13 Click here for a video reading of the poem
What is it about?Read and/or listen to the poem for the first time, what do you think it is about?The Send-OffClick here for a video reading of the poem

14 What is it about? Stanza What is happening
The poem is made up of eight brief stanzas. Can you work out what is happening in each? Complete the table below:StanzaWhat is happeningStanzas 1 & 2Owen describes...Stanzas 3 & 4Stanzas 5 & 6Stanzas 7 & 8

15 Consolidate Understanding
What are your first impressions of this poem? Below are a few sentence starters to help you write a paragraph about it.12th October 11The Send-Off‘The Send-Off’ by _____ is about …In the first two stanzas the poet …The third and fourth stanzas describes…Stanzas five and six…In the final two stanzas Owen is saying…

16 ConsolidationIn ‘The Send Off’ Owen describes the scene as a group of soldiers are being sent off to war.  The men have just come from a sending-off ceremony - cheering crowds, bells, drums, flowers given by strangers – and are now being packed into trains heading for the war. The scene is full of mourning and indignity. The soldiers are waved goodbye by a "dull porter" and a "casual tramp." Owen hints at the fate of many of the men, "Their chests were stuck all white with wreath and spray, as men's are dead." Here Owen reminds us that many of these men will not return home. This is reinforced in the line "A few, a few, too few, will return..." to "creep back silent... up half-known roads.”

17 Imagery

18 ImageryObjectives:Analyse the imagery used by Wilfred Owen in ‘The Send-Off’

19 ImageryLook at the imagery used by Owen in this poem. What words and phrases are used to describe the scene at the train station?How does Owen create a sinister mood at the start of the poem? What do you think has happened to the cheering crowds? How might the men be feeling now they are on the train? What words are used to suggest silence and secrecy? What images remind you of a funeral?

20 Why does the poet use these particular images?
ImageryLook at the imagery used in the first four stanzas.Why does the poet use these particular images?The ImagesWhat the image conveysDown the close, darkening lanesthey sang their way To the siding-shedfaces grimly gayTheir breasts were stuck all white with wreath and spray As men's are, deadDull porters watched them, and a casual tramp Stood staring hardunmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp Winked to the guard.

21 Why does the poet use these particular images?
ImageryLook at the imagery used in the final four stanzas.Why does the poet use these particular images?The ImagesWhat the image conveysSo secretly, like wrongs hushed-up, they wentWe never heard to which front these were sentShall they return to beatings of great bells In wild trainloads?A few, a few, too few for drums and yellscreep back, silent, to still village wells, Up half-known roads

22 From the beginning, the atmosphere seems menacing
From the beginning, the atmosphere seems menacing. The lanes are ‘darkening’ and claustrophobic and the siding shed reminds us of a slaughterhouse. Send-Off celebrations are over, the crowds have dispersed and the soldiers are watched only by 'dull' porters and a tramp.The flowers given to the men have a double meaning as white flowers are associated with death.The departure of the soldiers appears secretive, ‘like wrongs hushed-up’. Owen suggests that this is because the true nature of what is happening to them is being hidden.‘Wrongs hushed-up’

23 Style and Structure

24 Poetic devices & structure
Objectives:Analyse the use of poetic devices and structure in ‘The Send-Off’

25 The poem has an unusual structure: a three line stanza followed by a two line stanza, linked together by rhyme. The stanzas are made up of long and short lines, the short line creating a mood of bitterness and quiet anger.Symbols of death are repeated through out the stanzas, ‘bells’, white ‘flowers’ and the ‘wreath’ all point the reader to the fate that awaits thousands of such men.Structure

26 The poem also has a number of contradictions and ambiguities
The poem also has a number of contradictions and ambiguities. The oxymoron ‘grimly gay’ in the men's expressions emphasises the uncertainty of their departure and possibly the realisation of the destiny which awaits them. The poem is set at dusk and the darkness acts as a metaphor for the dark future that lays ahead. An atmosphere of conspiracy exists throughout the poem but is emphasised in stanza four. The signal ‘nods’, the lamp ‘winks’ to the guard and the men are silently taken away by the train into the night.Structure

27 Poetic Techniques Match the technique with the correct definition.
Technique Definition personification the act or process of saying or writing something again simile the attribution of human qualities to objects alliteration a comparison between two different things, especially a phrase containing the word 'like' or 'as’ repetition the use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words in a sentence

28 Poetic Techniques Match the technique with the correct definition.
Technique Definition personification the act or process of saying or writing something again simile the attribution of human qualities to objects alliteration a comparison between two different things, especially a phrase containing the word 'like' or 'as’ repetition the use of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words in a sentence

29 Poetic Techniques Technique Evidence Effect personification
Think about the poetic techniques discussed on the last slide. Copy down the table below. Find examples in the poem and write down the effect created.TechniqueEvidenceEffectpersonification‘unmoved, signals nodded, and a lamp Winked to the guard’alliteration‘white with wreath’similerepetition

30 Poetic DevicesHow does Owen use structure and poetic devices to describe the scene as the soldiers board the trains and leave for the war? Use the sentence starters below to help you write a paragraph about it.12th June 11The Send-OffIn ‘The Send-Off’ Wilfred Owen uses a number of poetic devices…The simile…Personification such as……Alliteration is used to..

31 Writing about poetry using P.E.E

32 Writing about poetry and P.E.E
Objectives:To understand how to use P.E.E when writing about poetry

33 Writing about the poem P Point E Evidence E Explain
You should always, when writing about any text, use the P.E.E formula. Make a point, find some evidence and then explain the evidence in detail.PPointEEvidenceEExplain

34 Point, Evidence, Explain
Look at how Owen uses language in the poem. Make three good points about the poem, select three quotations to back up your points then explain the quotations in detail.PointEvidenceExplainThe poem begins with an ominous and foreboding mood.‘Down the close, darkening lanes they sang their way To the siding-shed, And lined the train with faces grimly gay.’Owen uses language here to create a feeling of fear and impending doom. The ‘close, darkening lanes’ are claustrophobic and frightening and the send-off is clouded in darkness as the men bid farewell to home and head into the unknown.

35 Don’t forget to explain yourself
Use the information from the table to write three points about how Owen uses language, structure and devices in the poem. Add a quote and explanation for each point.For exampleThe poem describes…In the first stanza the poet…This conveys...PointEvidenceExplain

36 PlenaryRead your paragraph about ‘The Send-Off’ to the rest of the group.Ask your peers how it could be improved.

37 Themes and Links

38 Themes and links Objectives: To explore the themes of the poem
Consolidate knowledge and understanding of the poet’s meaning and purpose

39 ThemesThis is an anti-war poem. The opening stanza reveals that this is not an occasion of celebration and happiness but one of fear and shame. By the time the train leaves for the front the cheering crowds have gone and only a porter and a tramp are there to watch the men go. The soldiers try to be cheerful by singing and smiling but their happiness seems forced and false hiding their fear. Owenpresents the soldiers asnaive and innocentvictims. Like lambs tothe slaughter they headoff to war unawarethat only a very few willever return.

40 Links

41 Links Annotated copy of the poem The Wilfred Owen Website
The War Poetry websiteAudio reading of the poem by Kenneth BranaghWorld War One resources

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