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Poetry Anthem for Doomed Youth

By RihAmFarAly1 May 06, 2013 1614 Words
 
This poem talks about the lack of spiritual rituals that didn’t take place during the deaths that occurred during World War I. The title refers to a song that condemns the deaths of innocent people during that war. The poem is a sonnet, so it is divided into two stanzas with eight verses the first one (two quatrains), and the second one has six verses. The first quatrain has an abab rhyme, the second quatrain rhymes cdcd, and the six final verses have an eff rhyme. We can also find some rethorical figures, which emphasise the action and the description of the setting, as in the first verse:“these who die as cattle” (l. 1), here Owen makes a comparison between the people who die at war and are like cattle, because people die because of the animal thinking that some persons have. In the second verse there is a personification of the guns: “the monstrous anger of the guns” (l. 2). In the third verse there is an alliteration: “stuttering rifles' rapid rattle”, where the repeated sound of the letter ‘t’ and then the letter ‘r’ reminds us of the real sound of the rifles. Throughout this quatrain we can also deduce that Owen is using a sound and a vocabulary that immerses us in a place where the action is occurring rapidly. Sound is present in both quatrains, while in the first we imagine the sounds of the war, in the second there is an absence of sound. During the second quatrain the author remarks the meaning of the whole poem: the loss of rituals when a soldier dies and the need for it within the soldiers’ families. There was a whole generation in which women couldn’t be married to someone. Throughout the sextet Owen, in a way, laments the unnecessary deaths that took place during that dark period of our history. He also uses some vocabulary that makes us think about death (candles, pallor…). In the final verse we find the word ‘dusk’, and we can establish a relationship of meaning between this word and death. Wilfred Owen is seen as the leading World War I poet (Wikipedia, Wilfred_Owen). Owen based all his war poetry on his four-month war experience, and after living all the horrours of the war, he went to Craiglockhart War Hospital near Edinburgh (Wilfred Owen: War Poet, eric.laermans@intec.rug.ac.be). It was in this Hospital where Owen wrote Anthem for Doomed Youth, and in this moment of his life was when he had his close relationship with Siegfried Sassoon, who colaborated in some aspects of the poem, as for example the title (salempress.com). Although Owen’s poetry is usually seen as parallel to Sassoons’ poems (one of the reasons is because Sassoons promotedOwen's poetry, both before and after Owen's death), they are very different, and Owen’s poetry has been seen during the past century with much more acclaim (Wikipedia, Wilfred Owen Biography). According to some critics, Wilfred Owen wanted to be a poet from the age of nineteen, and his influences were based on Keats and Shelley’s poetry (David Roberts, Introduction to Wilfred Owen). To sum up, my personal opinion is that through his poetry (and of course through all the other war poets’ poetry), we can understand, at the same time, the thinking about this matter of the people who were inside the world of culture, and also the way of criticising (through poetry) a so peculiar issue as the First World War of our history.  The first eight line stanza (octet) describes how the guns and rifles, bursting bombs and the bugles will take the place of church bells, choirs of religious hymns, prayers, voices of people mourning and wailing, and the calling from the sad countryside. In the second six lines stanza (sestet), he replaces more conventional objects and activities in mourning and funeral by more abstract and symbolic things back at home. The first stanza is full of images of war that will do the mourning, so that no human sympathy and ritual is necessary, because this is not natural and meaningful death. The second stanza is more devastating in its irony.

ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ'Anthem for Doomed Youth', as the title suggests, is a poem about the waste of many young men in the First World War. The word ‘anthem’ in the title, unlike a national anthem that glorifies a country, is ironical, for there is just the opposite of glory in the absurd death of the young people shooting each other for noting. The youth in the poem is doomed less by other (which the poem doesn’t mention) than by his own decision to join the battle. The poem reminds us of the sonnet that Mr. Brooke wrote to glorify war and England in that jingoistic manner; Owen has used the same sonnet form (that was originally used to express love) to demystify the conventional glorification of war, by exposing the meanness and absurdity of dying in the battle. The poem is written in the form of a sonnet. The poem

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