chapter
Introduction
Pages 17

By 'pity', Owen meant not compassion but rather the pity which is invoked in the reading and comprehending of tragedy in poetry and other literature. Owen's main concern in his poetry and indeed in his epistolary prose about the war was therefore to reveal its tragic quality, while simultaneously subverting the ideologies of militarism and patriarchy by being truthful about these sets of assumptions which underlie European society. Thus, despite his desire to measure himself as an officer against the values of a militaristic and patriarchal environment, he grappled in both his poetry and his prose with the problems inherent in militarism and patriarchalism, problems which are still with us today.