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Anthem to Doomed Youth

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This is the analysis of the poem Anthem to Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen

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Anthem to Doomed Youth

  1. 1. Anthem to Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen Belen Brito Peret, Luz Esteban, Olivia Obligado and Sol Santayana
  2. 2. Poem: What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? — Only the monstrous anger of the 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 goodbyes. 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
  3. 3. Author and Context ● Wilfred Edward Salter Owen is the author of the poem and he was born on 18 March 1893 in Oswestry, Shropshire. ● He began writing poetry as a teenager. It was during this time that he lost faith in the church to support people in need. This is a theme running through Anthem for Doomed Youth as he shows his disillusionment at religion and the associated ceremonies. ● Owen experienced the horrors of war and life in the trenches. After surviving heavy fighting, he was diagnosed with shellshock that is a post-traumatic stress disorder. ● Anthem for Doomed Youth was written in 1917. A handwritten draft of the poem survives, , “With Sassoon’s amendments”. ● Owen returned to France in August 1918 and in October was awarded the Military Cross for bravery. ● He was killed on 4 November 1918 during war.. The news of his death reached his parents on 11 November, Armistice Day, when the world was celebrating the end of the war.
  4. 4. The poem describes memorial tributes to dead soldiers, ironically comparing the sounds of war to the choirs and bells which usually sound at funerals.
  5. 5. Themes: 1. Appreciation of soldier’s sacrifice: ○ Celebrates the death of men who sacrificed their lives during the war ○ Celebrates their losses with genuine, solemn anthems. ○ “My subject is War, and the pity of war” 2. War: ○ He witnessed the brutality and horrors of war. ○ In this poem Owen shows that the glory portrayed by those writers is an illusion. He does this by comparing the soldiers to “cattle” dying in their herds, with no ceremony and little comfort in their final moments.
  6. 6. 4) Religion: ● Loss of faith as he shows how inadequate religion and faith are when faced with the reality of the trenches. ● The poem refers to aspects of religious ceremony, ● Funeral practices, 3) Death : ● The deaths of the young soldiers who died in the war. ● Owen shows such a death to be bleak and harsh. ● Imagery and sound effects emphasises noises such as guns lamenting the loss of the soldiers back home.
  7. 7. Tones: Sad and lonely ● Negative poem ● save the choirs,— The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
  8. 8. Literary devices: - Alliteration: “rifles’ rapid rattle” - Personification: “Only the monstrous anger of the guns” The author cleverly chooses to personify the guns so as to express that while the soldiers were becoming dehumanized, the weapons were becoming more human. This is a representation of both how empty their souls were as a consequence of war and the way in which weapons took control over their lives, considering that they did not have other choice but to make use of them. - Simile: “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” This simile conveys the inhumanity and savagery of these soldier’s deaths, proving once more that these young men were doomed to die at war. It is important to mention that they might be dying without really understanding why.
  9. 9. - Metaphor: “Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds” The author implies this metaphor so as to compare the ritual of putting flowers on a grave with the patience of those waiting at home. Therefore, it might suggest that the sympathy and compassion of others towards the dying soldier is as important as to honour them by putting flowers on their grave. - Imagery and symbol: “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds” This last line is both an image and a symbol. First, the setting of dusk reminds us of death. The “drawing down of blinds” might also express people's denial towards the darkness of death. By using this symbol, the author wants the readers to understand the terrible cruelties of war and so as to start acknowledging both what really happened and the soldier’s struggle. Furthermore, this is suggestive of how the human ignorance towards reality influences on our comfortable perspective about war.
  10. 10. Title: The word "doomed" predicts the theme of the poem, foreshadowing this way the fact that it is going into a heavy and dark territory. The word “youth” is also quite direct as it criticizes and highlights that young soldiers are the ones who are doomed and dying. This also points out an immature and innocent reaction towards war, considering that they are youngsters. The weird part is that the first word, "Anthem” refers to gladness. Therefore, we can identify the title as a bit contradictory because it is not possible to be glad while young men are dying in war. This way, it points out the perspective people have about war versus the terrible doom the soldiers really face. This is because before reading the poem, we may assume that it expresses a general perception of war, however, then we realise that it actually shows the soldier’s cruel reality.
  11. 11. Quotes: 1- “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” This quote, is the one which opens the poem, Owen uses a rhetorical question representing the soldiers death at war. He also questions the amount of respect given to the soldiers. 2- “No prayers nor bells; choirs” By this quote, owen uses religion words as “bells” and “choirs” to show the lack of attention a soldier receives when he die. 3- “My subject is War, and the pity of war” By using the world “pity” he shows the appreciation he have towards them.
  12. 12. Comparison to real life: ● This stills happens ● War still exists. ● They give their all for the cause ● The mass slaughter of animals ● The poem throughout compares the deaths of the soldiers with traditional funeral rites and ceremonies. ● Why should so many die in such a hideous way? How come we are blind to the inhumanity of war? ● The poem's success lies in the stark contrast between the furious, explosive reality of the battle and the calm holiness of the church ritual.
  13. 13. Personal opinion and perception: From this poem we can rescue the notorious rejection and great disappointment of Owen towards the church and its ceremonies, reflected in the deaths in vain due to the war. This shows us his point of view of these terrible battles, lived in the flesh. It makes us understand that there is not a single good factor about the war, everything is terrible, all the lives lost, all the pain it causes, the chaos, the crisis, the traumas, are because of this, and there is nothing that can heal those memories or wounds.
  14. 14. What does the poem teach us? What really the poem teach and shows us is that in reality war is something terrible and that the churches make it show as something honorary when in reality it is not. Because they send millions of poor innocent men to war knowing that they are going to die and then after all the church and the estate would say that it was for a good cause. When in reality they are full of "blood" of innocent people who were sentenced to death.
  15. 15. Sean Bean Reads Wilfred Owen’s Anthem to Doomed Youth https://youtu.be/ZlDoon91vZk
  16. 16. Hope you Like It!

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