April 21st, 2023

High School Resource: On the Beach: Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’


High School Resource

On the Beach: Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’

For this activity, read ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ by Wilfred Owen to the students.

Free write: Give students a couple of minutes to write down personal reaction to the poem’s content. Large group, volunteer sharing is recommended as a means to scaffolding and tapping into one’s schema.

The following questions can be used as a guided class discussion or copied and run on dittos for the purpose of using partners or part of a jigsaw activity.

  • Who is the narrator of this poem?
  • What is the physical condition of the man described in the first stanza? His mental condition?
  • Is he having a flashback or is he in the war at the moment? How did the soldier feel about the war?
  • What is his main concern?
  • To what is death by poisoned gas compared?
  • What do they do with the man poisoned by gas?
  • What horrors of life in war does the poem tell us of?
  • Where does the man continually see the sight of the gassed man?
  • How do dreams affect what we believe?
  • Who is the narrator speaking to? Is this a universal poem?
  • What does he tell us about the reality of war?
  • What is the glory in war?
  • Do you think we would be where we are today if there had never been a war?
  • Why/why not?
  • What is the meaning of the quotation that ends the poem?
  • What is its purpose?
  • How does it make you feel?

Related NY State Academic Standards: RL.9-10.11, RI.9-10.4, W.9-10.4, and W.9-10.10!

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