Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen
Due to a chain certain of events, both Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen ended up together at Craiglockhart. Siegfried Sassoon was admitted by the kindness of Robert Graves who convinced authority that his “treasonous” writings on anti-war (which were published to London Times) was since he had severe shellshock. This act saved Sassoon from court martial and execution. Wilfred Owen’s situation, unfortunately, was much more traumatizing. Owen was trapped in one of the trenches with heavy fire all while sitting next to the remains of another officer for several days. Both officers wound up at this same hospital at the same time sparking a new bond between them and there’s even evidence of Sassoon proofreading Owen’s works.
Siegfried Sassoon’s works before the war had the feeling of nostalgia and a feeling of sadness. In “Miracles”, the narrator tells of a dream he had to represent escaping to another reality. “O, but the beauty of their freedom made me shout.../And when I woke I wondered where on earth I’d been” (“Miracles”, Sassoon, 1913). A common occurrence in the poems is the fact that the world is much darker than what he used think it was. In “Memory”, Sassoon reiterates this idea once again. “For death has made me wise and bitter and strong;/And I am rich in all that I have lost” (“Memory”, Sassoon, 1913).
Similar to Sassoon, Wilfred Owen has some darker feelings conveyed in his poems. In “The Sleeping Beauty”, Owen portrays the narrator as a man completely smitten with a sleeping woman in her house. His first thoughts were “How lucky!” until he was faced with the rejection of his lips since he was not the one meant to kiss her. “Because it was too soon, and not my part,/To start voluptuous pulses in her heart,/And kiss her to the world of Consciousness” (“The Sleeping Beauty”, Owen, 1914). “A Palinode” was another work before his service. In this poem, he emphasized his worry for the war and retracting in his love for nature. “I fell seduced into a madness; for,/Forgetting in that night the life of days,/I said I had no need of fellows more,/I madly hated men and all their ways” (“A Palinode”, Owen, 1914).
After joining the war, Sassoon’s writing became much more gory and realistic to the conditions of war, just like Owen. He focused on showing an anti-war message by showing the true horrors of it, unlike what the public was used to. When Siegfried Sassoon was admitted to Craiglockhart, he wrote “Sick Leave”. It emphasized his guilt for being safe and warm in the confines of the hospital as a healthy man while his troops fought. “They whisper to my heart; their thoughts are mine./‘Why are you here with all your watches ended?/From Ypres to Frise we sought you in the Line’” (“Sick Leave”, Sassoon, 1917). In “‘They’”, Sassoon has boys question the effects of war against a pro-war bishop. This reflects the pacifists against the public and the military or even the case where Sassoon was almost court martialed...