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Anthem for Doomed Youth- Wilfred Owen

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Hailee Roe

on 16 October 2014

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Transcript of Anthem for Doomed Youth- Wilfred Owen

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor 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
Shall 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.

Anthem for Doomed Youth
Poetic Devices
Rhetorical Question
: The rhetorical question, line 1, asks what can be done for those dead boys who were killed in war, just like cattle. Owen asks this question not only to prove a point, but to make sure the audience contemplates what do we actually do for these young men. Owen then further answers his question in lines 2-8. On line 9, Owen states another questions "What candles may be lit to speed them all?". He does this to further elaborate on the already known answer in lines 10-14 to prove a powerful point that nothing is done for those who mourn.
Owen compares young boys to cattle because of the gruesome way they were slaughtered (line 1). He does this to show that in war human life is expendable and that a mans life is the same as an animal.
Owen compares a female's sad pale face to that of a pall, a piece of cloth that covers ones coffin (line12). He does this to answer his rhetorical question in how are these men honored, and what funeral do they receive, which for their pall is the sad faces of women. Also Owen compares the ringing of funeral bells to gun (line 1-2), stating that these men who die never get to hear the toweling of bells, but only the "monstrous anger of guns". Owen does this to further his point in saying that these men who die in war never get the proper ceremonies they deserve.
Wilfred Owen
The Life of Wilfred Owen
Wilfred Owen was born on March 18, 1893 in Owestry, United Kingdom. Owen studied at Wakeman School and the University of Reading. Wilfred was interested in the military at a young age and so he enlisted into the military and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Soon after he was deployed to serve in World War I. In 1917 he was wounded in combat and was sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital where he met Siegfried Sassoon, who served as a poetic mentor to Wilfred. He then returned to war in June 1918 and was killed on November 4 trying to lead his men across the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors.
Hailee Roe
Kiefer Tarbert
Morgan Fraser
Emma McGinty
Anthem for Doomed Youth- Wilfred Owen
Scanned Poem
What does it mean?
AP Question
Poetic Devices
Poetic Devices
: Owen, in lines 2-4, gives human qualities to guns by using words and phrases such as "monstrous anger", "stuttering", "patter", and "hasty orisons". The author does this personification to answer his rhetorical question (line 1), for the purpose of saying that these dead boys don't receive church bells at the time of their death, but the angry sound of guns.
: Owen, in line 12, refers to a girls emotion as "girls' brow". He employs this rhetorical device to be able to fit his tempo for his poem. Owen also uses metonymy to help the audience better understand how a girls emotion is like a pall for a coffin.
: Owen employs imagery (lines 2-4), by employing noisy words such as "stuttering" and "patter" to get the audience to imagine the sounds one would hear in a battle field, especially dying boys. Owen creates this sad atmosphere to get his point across that war offers no sweet send off. Owen also employs this rhetorical device in lines 9-10. He describes a haunting image of how when someone dies you light candles as goodbyes, but there are no candles held by these young boys but only the "glimmering lights in their eyes that say goodbye". Owen uses this imagery by using visual words and phrases such as "not in the hands of boys", "glimmering lights". and "eyes." Lastly Owen states " And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds" (line 14). He employs this finally image to leave the audience with a finally note about how death is mourned private and is done when no one is watching. He tells this through a painted image of watching blinds draw shut at night.

Related to the structure of the poem, the poem is a variation of the Elizabethan sonnet. Owen has divided the fourteen lines of this sonnet into two stanzas, the break coming at the end of the line 8. As is the case with the Elizabethan sonnets, this poem has ten syllables of iambic pentameters, because there are five feet, and each foot contains a short syllable followed by a long one.
The rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFFE /GG, which differs slightly from the classical Elizabethan sonnets, whose rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF / GG.

By using a sonnet for the structure of his poem, Wilfred Owen introduces a touch of irony, because the conventional function of the sonnet is love, and this poem is sort of anti-love.
When in times of war, we are unable to provide rituals that alleviate the death and suffering war brings among the world.
War has a price.
Deaths that occur in war are insignificant.
In times of war men are expendable, and their lives are valued like those of cattle.
Anthem of Doomed Youth Poet
Wilfred Owen in the poem "Anthem of Doomed Youth," expresses how much horror war can bring, and how unfortunate it is to die in war. Owen fought in World World 1, and while injured was sent to a hospital. This is where he wrote the poem and was greatly influenced by Siegfried Sassoon. His poem discusses war in concern to death, and how expendable men truly are, "who die as cattle." Owen also discusses the main theme that there are no just ceremonies for those who die in war "What passing bells for these who die as cattle?". Thus leaving families and friends of the victims unable to grieve for their lost love ones, and to only grieve in private "And each slow dusk a drawing of the blinds." This poem brings to light some of the many dark sides to war and heavily criticizes it, when in a time period where war was praised.
Read the following poem carefully. Then write an essay explaining how the poet uses literary techniques to describe his feelings towards war.
Syntax and Tone
“No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, –
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.”

These 4 lines are used to emphasize the fact that there is no ceremony for these dead soldiers, they have punctuation throughout but the period comes at the end, immediately followed by a line with another thought as the basis. The overall tone of “Anthem for Doomed Youth” serious and depressed, the seriousness of the poem is shown through the use of Iambic feet, but the depression can be seen through the use of words like mockeries (which is a ceremony that is insulting) and phrases like “shrill, demented choirs” which detail the deaths of these men.

Owen is using the semi-colons to make a dramatic pause that emphasizes his point of is war worth the cost over a man's life. Owen is using the repetition of "no" and "nor" to stress the importance of honoring the fallen.
Syntax and Tone
Line 1 - The phrase "die as cattle" suggests a massacre. He's pointing out that these deaths are especially terrible—it's inhuman, it's treating soldiers like animals.

Line 3-4 - Our speaker says that rifle fire is the only kind of prayer for the dying soldiers, hasty makes it seem as though the deaths are quick loud and messy.
Line 5 - They glorify the deaths by pretending that the fighting is purposeful and noble, when really it's akin to slaughtering cattle

Line 6-7 – “shrill, Demented” these are not the sounds of a choir that should be at a funeral, this might be the author trying to say “look there are no ceremonies out here it’s war, don’t pretend everything is fine at home

Line 9 – candles are used in religious ceremonies to represent/ help the passing of a spirit, the author is most likely asking what type of candle could make these soldiers pass peacefully?

Line 10-11 – an answer to the question in line 9, there are no candles that could help with the passing, but there are tears coming from both the soldiers and the soldier’s sons and families.
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