Anthem for Doomed Youth Essay, How Does Owen Capture the Experience of War

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How effectively and in what ways does “Anthem for Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen capture the experience of war?

Aside from his famous quotation about the pity of war, Owen also said “I find purer philosophy in a Poem than in a Conclusion of Geometry, a chemical analysis, or a physical law.”. However, was this philosophy and depth present in his own poetic creations? In the poem “Anthem for Doomed Youth” Owen has caught, held and retold his experience of war. His liberal use of varying literary tools weaves a complex mirage of war which appeals to senses that are more complex than just seeing and hearing. In addition to that, the strange rhythm and structure of the sonnet is also one that makes reading aloud quite different from stereotypical poems. Finally is the contrast he creates within the poem, by utilizing the stereotypes we have for certain objects and flipping them around Owen conveys to us his experience of war in all its beauty, and its horror.

In “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, Owen’s liberal use of simple literary devices helps to put forth more complex ideas and scenes. In the very first line he asks “ What passing-bells for these who die as cattle” the connotation implies that in a war, millions die with the same significance of cattle which justifies the lack of sounding from the passing-bells. It may also be a form of symbolism for cowbells; which farmers put on cows to make finding them easier. In this case it may be symbolic for soldiers missing in action because cowbells are redundant on cows which are not alive. Straying away from the idea of death and sadness at the hands of war, Owen also writes about “candles” that are not in the boys “hands, but in their eyes”. Candles are often symbols for inner peace or illumination from the dark. In this case he has used a form of reverse personification in which he uses a humans eyes to describe the glow of a candle. He then follows up with “The holy glimmer of goodbyes”. The purpose of this reverse...
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