Anthem For Doomed Youth By Wilfred Owen: The Analysis

1148 words - 5 pages

Anthem for Doomed YouthWhat passing-bells for these who die as cattle?Only the monstrous anger of the guns.Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattleCan patter out their hasty orisons.No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells, 5Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs -The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;And bugles calling for them from sad shires.What candles may be held to speed them all?Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes 10Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)"Anthem for Doomed Youth" was set in World War I. This poem concentrates mainly on the horror of war, and especially the death of young men on the front line. The main subject of the poem is of a funeral. The poem asks if there will be a funeral for them. It is saying that all of these boys are dying and not even getting a respectable funeral. What real funeral will the boys have? No passing bells will ring for the dead; just machine gun and rifle fire. No mourning voice - except for "choirs of wailing shells and bugles calling." Their families are not even there; they are still at home, waiting and worrying. In the end of the poem, the family gets the news of their son's death. The blinds are drawn as a sign of mourning (it was the custom during World War I to draw down the blinds in homes where a son had been lost).The title "Anthem for Doomed Youth" is ironic. 'Anthem' is a song that is sung in churches by choirs or could mean a celebration. It usually being associated with love and passion, The word 'Doomed' is used to suggest that the soldiers are alive but have an inevitable death. It symbolizes death and invokes the image that the soldiers are on their journey to hell. The word 'Youth' is used to remind the reader that these soldiers were only young men, with their whole lives ahead of them, but this has now been ruined pointlessly. It also creates the image of lively young people that are full of energy and enthusiasm.This poem is a sonnet. Sonnets traditionally were happy and about love or an epic tale. In contrast, the poem, from the title, immediately informs the reader that this sonnet isn't a fairy tale or a happy tale of love but is a sad poem about the boys who went to war and 'doomed' never to return. It has fourteen lines, divided up into two parts, octave and sestet. The first stanza is mainly about the battlefield, whereas the second stanza is more about the reactions of friends and family back at home. This poem starts off at a quick speed, and then continues to slow down throughout the poem, drawing to a slow, solemn and gloomy close.Comparison is used a lot in this poem. Owen explores the horror of war in various examples of comparison. In the first line he compares soldiers to cattle. This instantly creates the image of innocent, wandering creatures, destined for slaughter. The...

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