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"Choose any two poems by Wilfred Owen and compare his treatment of war, his use of language, form and structure".

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Introduction

"Choose any two poems by Wilfred Owen and compare his treatment of war, his use of language, form and structure". Wilfred Owen is a prominent war poet who has a distinct first hand experience of the horrific conditions which young soldiers were put through when they joined the army to fight in the world war. His experience has been illustrated in the form of poetry where he expresses his opinion on what effect war had on him. I have decided to analyse and compare two poems by Owen and these poems are "Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth". Firstly I will begin by analyzing "Anthem for Doomed Youth" which is in the form of a sonnet. This is uncharacteristic of a sonnet to be of a depressing tone and is usually found to be based on subject of love and the celebration of happiness in life rather than of a dull exhibition of the lack of hope in the lives of the youthful soldiers. The title of the poem it self gives the audience an initial impression that hope is no where to be seen in the trenches packed full of troops. The fact that Owen has used the phrase "Doomed Youth" demonstrates to us that death or fatality was inevitable for the combatants. ...read more.

Middle

Instead the soldiers are only commemorated by the weapons that were used to fight and this is indicated by the personification of the "wailing shells". Whilst the first stanza concentrates on the sounds of the battlefield, stanza two goes into more detail about the expected, normal reactions to the frequent deaths and focuses on people's reactions at home rather than death in the trenches. The tension of the first stanza has been replaced by a calmer more reflective mood. Instead of turning to sounds Owen uses imagery in the last stanza to get across his views for example in the first line he uses a rhetorical question to the reader to suggest that there will be no one to light candles and say prayers for them. Further references to funerals are used such as the terms of flowers or palls. "The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall" This indicates that the dead soldiers do not have a cloth over there coffin apart from the depressed faces of their loved ones back home. The concluding verse focuses on the suffering and grief which will be with the families for a long time as they get over the so called expected death of there loved ones. The word dusk in the last couplet symbolizes an image of respect for when a soldier was killed at war as the families of the soldier would draw there blinds as a mark of respect. ...read more.

Conclusion

"He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning." This description of the young soldier dying in Owens hands awakens the reader into believing Wilfred Owen in that reality of war is a terrifying way for young people to die and that the idea of nationalism and privilege is the cause of such dreadful circumstances. Wilfred Owen thoroughly criticizes the idea of war being a sweet and glorious way to die for one's country. It is presented through a series of images which are intended to defeat the idea of war being patriotic. His graphic details reveal war as the hideous thing it is. "Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer," Just by reading this stanza I myself feel physically sick and this is what Owen has intended for the audience to suggest that war is not about pretty flowers and clear skies but rather more concerning the harsh conditions and the burdens of war faced by the innocent young soldiers who have arrived in the trenches with the attention of making there loved ones proud. This poem is extremely effective as an anti-war poem, making war seem absolutely absurd and disturbing just as Wilfred Owen wanted it to. Owen uses the idea of irony in war in both of these poems as he saw suffering, devastation and wanted people to be more aware of the cruelty of war and the consequences of going to war. Ahsan Ahmed - 1 - ...read more.

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