Making Points: Connotations and Quotations



When you are making your points there are a number of things that you should remember to do in order to get a good grade:

·         Refer clearly back to the question

·         Use a linking phrase or connective, some examples are below

·         Use embedded quotations to support your point where possible

·         Use more than one quotation to support the points that you are making

·         Try to use quotations or references which are as short and precise as possible

·         Analyse the quotations from the poem by picking out the key words (or whatever the feature is) and discussing their connotations or their effect on the reader

·         Do not just list the connotations or meanings of something, try and say what impression it creates of war



Linking phrases and referring back to the question:

Here are some examples of linking phrases. Often these will come at the start of a paragraph or sentence to show how this paragraph or sentence links to or contrasts with what has gone before. There are also some examples of these linking phrases in use within sentences


Joining Phrases

Contrasting Phrases

Concluding Phrases

In addition, Additionally,

In contrast, Contrastingly



On the other hand,





This is emphasised / reinforced




Additionally, the suffering of the soldiers in the trenches is emphasised by …

Owen additionally uses the image of the soldier ‘gargling’ on his ‘froth-corrupted lungs’ to create the impression that …

Furthermore, the rhyme between ‘trudge’ and ‘sludge’ intensifies the idea that …

Owen  also makes use of … to create the intensify the feelings of exhaustion and pain that the soldiers are experiencing.

is another method that Owen uses to transmit his message that in contrast to the glorious war the soldiers were promised when they enlisted they are instead facing …

However, Owen’s most effective method of convincing readers that the warfare is unheroic and inglorious is …



Embedded quotations:

Below is an example of a paragraph that uses embedded quotations.


Owen emphasises the physical degradation of the soldiers as they ‘cursed through sludge’ on their way back home by vividly creating an image of men who have been transformed from ‘children ardent for some desperate glory’ into ‘beggars’ and ‘hags’ who are ‘knock-kneed’, ‘bent double’ and coughing’ ceaselessly. This degradation is accentuated by the triad of disabilities ascribed to the men who are ‘deaf’, ‘lame’ and ‘blind’. The sharp contrast between the gallant and brave soldierly image that readers had been used to in war poetry written at the start of World War One and the pathetic, wasted reality they are presented with here makes Owen’s point powerfully clear from the outset of the poem: the promise of glory and honour through battle is nothing but an ‘old lie.’



Below is an example of a paragraph that does not do this, both make good points but notice how the first one flows much more smoothly than the second.


Owen uses many examples of disease and physical suffering in his poem. The men are described in an inglorious manner, for example as ‘beggars’, and are additionally disabled in a number of ways, such as being ‘lame’. Furthermore, Owen emphasises these difficulties by saying: ‘they cursed through sludge.’ The word sludge has a heavy and dull sound which effectively suggests the thick, sucking mud that the soldiers had ro walk through.



Analyse the connotations of words in detail and try to look for more than one meaning:

Initially, Owen’s portrayal of the soldiers as they ‘cursed through sludge’ suggests that the men are complaining and swearing as they walk, creating a sharp contrast between the image the British public would expect of their soldiers, i.e. marching in an upright, dignified manner, and what they are presented with here. Beyond this, however, ‘cursed’ more subtly implies that the soldiers are not simply ‘cursing’ but are in fact themselves ‘cursed’ insinuating that the mud, which in some ways may symbolise the whole war, is something which they cannot escape from: their lives are hopeless and their deaths inevitable. If the soldiers are indeed ‘cursed’ then Owen makes it clear in the third stanza that those responsible for damning them in this way are the people like Jessie Pope (‘my friend’) in England who have deceived ‘children ardent for some desperate glory’ into signing up for a war which can bring them nothing other than inhuman suffering. Finally the mystical, witch-like connotations of ‘cursed’ help create an unreal, otherworldly, nightmarish setting at the start of the poem which not only heightens the soldiers sense of exhaustion but also indicates how unimaginably hellish their suffering must have been.