Purpose of Anthem for a Doomed Youth

Topics: Trench warfare, World War I, Poetry Pages: 2 (654 words) Published: January 21, 2013
Owen’s purpose in writing Anthem for a Doomed Youth is to reveal the cruel reality of war which was always hidden from the public in World War One and to show anger to the people who sent him to the trenches. He says in his preface "All a poet can do today is warn....” this shows he aims to prevent war from happening in later generations.

One way that Owen conveys rage is through the men not getting the recognition that they deserved. He does this by dehumanizing the soldiers and comparing them to “cattle” which shows that they were only seen as instruments of war by the government. Throughout the poem the men not recognized as individuals, but are referred to as “they”, “these” or “them”, by referring to them as a collective he gives a tone that people other than family did not care about the men’s well being at war. If and when the men do die, the prayers to remember them are ‘hasty’ and careless, this is because too many people die in a day to give the true amount of respect they needed showing the futility of war.

In the last line of the poem “a drawing down of blinds”, this metaphor infers death but in different ways. Firstly, in Owen’s time if a funeral car drove past people would pull their blinds down to show respect to the deceased this shows that everyday someone in a town will die and did not come home, so the ‘blinds’ are drawn for funerals that did not take place as men were lost in battle. At the end of everyday blinds are drawn down this can symbolize the sun also going down at the end of a day or finality when someone dies, the blinds of their life are drawn. Finally it infers that people might have drawn their blinds down, or turned their back, to the truth about the war, because maybe it was too brutal to think of their loved ones in the middle of it.

Owen also proves in this poem that people, on the battle field and back in Britain, lost their faith in God during the war. Even the title of the piece is ironic in a way. An “anthem” is...
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