Wilfred Owen's powerful war poem 'Mental Cases' has recently been taken off the HSC reading list for Standard English, and I couldn’t be happier. This is one of my favourite of Wilfred Owen’s poems. It is extremely powerful and I don’t know of a single person who remained unaffected by a good reading of it. I recite this poem with my year 9 classes each year when we cover WWI and it is regularly met with silent awe. Coming from large groups of hard-to-please fifteen year olds, that should tell you something of its enduring power.
The reason I’m so happy about this is that it means we can now use it as a related text for discovery. It covers unexpected discovery, provocative and challenging discoveries, transformative discoveries, and it leads us as the audience to share vicariously in the narrator’ discovery about the negative and ongoing consequences of wartime experiences on individuals.
This resource analyses the poem in depth from a discovery view point. It includes sample analytical paragraph responses that can help students to learn how to present their analyses effectively in an English essay. If you would like a similar resource to be created from the lens of a different concept please contact our team.
Our primary contributor is Elissa, who is a qualified high school teacher and Irlen Screener.