A New Heaven, Wilfred Owen

Links to the 10 commandments in ‘Thou shall not kill’
Media portrays war as heavenly via the propaganda
A New Heaven, Wilfred Owen
Mariam and Rae
• Seeing we never found gay fairyland
(Though still we crouched by bluebells moon by moon)
And missed the tide of Lethe; yet are soon
For that new bridge that leaves old Styx half-spanned;
Nor ever unto Mecca caravanned;
Nor bugled Asgard, skilled in magic rune;
Nor yearned for far Nirvana, the sweet swoon,
And from high Paradise are cursed and banned;
-Let's die home, ferry across the Channel! Thus
Shall we live gods there. Death shall be no sev'rance.
Weary cathedrals light new shrines for us.
To us, rough knees of boys shall ache with rev'rence.
Are not girls' breasts a clear, strong Acropole?
-There our own mothers' tears shall heal us whole.
• In ‘A New Heaven’, Owen presents an issue in the first 8 lines, something which the
thought he would achieve, the events that have taken place in order to get them into
this situation.
• In the first 8 lines of the poem, Owen talks about how he thought war would have
been different, how he thought it was a self realisation journey which he went though
in order to gain the full meaning of the war. However, Owen also shows that he
thought the war would have been something more than just self realisation. He
thought it would have been the gateway of happiness ( “ gay fairyland”) suggesting
that he thought fighting for the country would create happiness and free the country.
• The final 6 lines is the response to the first 8 lines. Owen states going home dead in
the name of the country so that the younger generation will be inspired to join the
war in the name of their country. Owen see’s this as a way of reaching the end of the
self realisation journey.
• The poem ‘A New Heaven’ was written in September of the year
1916, which is midway through the goings on of the war, despite how
it was thought to be finished by Christmas of the year 1914.
• 1916 was the year in which Owen was going through all of his
training for the army and realising that war was not what he thought
it would be, or how it was portrayed in the propaganda by officials
such as Lord Kitchener etc.
• He realised that going home injured or dead from fighting for the
country was the only war to receive the honour of being a soldier,
and gain a respectable reputation for himself that would make his
family proud.
Explorations of word choice
Demonstrates how
a higher power is
being used in order
to try defeat
Links to the idea of
heaven and
happiness and
peace contrasting
with the traumas
of war.
Suggesting war is
destruction can be
seen from above.
Links to the idea
of escapism,
Missing reality?
E.g. ‘Styx’ links to
Greek mythology.
Journey of self
discovery in order
to be one in god’s
Wants to be in
a higher state
of knowledge
knowledge is
Greek God: Religious
imagery because Owen is
doubting Christianity at
this time.
Links to the idea of
heaven and
happiness and
peace contrasting
with the traumas
of war.
how soldiers
think they are
equal to God.
Appealing to
equalityIronic because
involved in
Represents the fall of
soldiers despite how
much they developed.
Shows the flowing
nature of heaven
and how relaxing it
is in contrast with
the trauma’s of
These show how the war
isn’t just black and white,
and represents the growth
and development of the
The idea of light inks to the idea
of heaven and goodness and
gives the impression of hope for
the future.
Symbolises the
path to heaven
and how the
Channel current, which
could be
represented as
the authority, is
pushing them in
the direction they
should be going.
Techniques, evidence
• Petrachan Sonnet (14 lines) :
Octet; present issue
Sixtet; the response to the issue
• Rhyming couplets:
Shows unity and brings closure to the poem.
“Acropole, whole”
Devices, Quotations, Glossary
• Imagery “ crouched by bluebells”
This imagery was used because it shows a religious front between soldiers and is a symbol
of hope and growth in terms of the soldiers development over time
• Personification “ weary Cathedrals”
This technique was used to make religion seem more realistic and relatable to the audience.
• Metaphor “ Boys shall ache with rev’rence”
Owen incorporated this technique in order to exaggerate the consequences of their wrong
doings in the time of war.
• Punctuation “ Let’s die home, ferry across the channel!”
A variety of punctuation was used through out the poem in order to create a slower rhythm
and make some sentences have more of an impact than others.
• Rhyming couplets “ whole, acropole”
These are used in order to suggest unity, bring closure to poem and is typical of English
Poets from that era.
A river in the underworld, over which Charon ferried the
souls of the dead
Greek God
Buddhist state of enlightenment
Acropolis, citadel in Athens in which the Parthenon was built

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