• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically examine Wilfred Owen's 'Disabled' and 'Anthem for the Doomed Youth' as testimonies of the horror and futility of war.

Extracts from this document...


Critically examine Wilfred Owen's 'Disabled' and 'Anthem for the Doomed Youth' as testimonies of the horror and futility of war. Owen wrote the poems 'Anthem for the Doomed Youth' and 'Disabled" in the year 1917. He thought of these poems when he was in the hospital recovering from 'shell shock'. Both poems show his personal revulsion for war and crystallize the popular views of the intellectuals and sociologists of that time, all of whom were anti-war. There is no doubt that both poems bring home the horror and futility of armed conflict. The only difference is that where one is more specific, the other is general. 'Disabled' focuses on the life of one soldier who lost both his legs in the war and is confined for the rest of his life to a wheelchair. The poem brings out the pathos of his condition. He sits in the dark "legless" listening to the boys "voices of play and pleasure after day" he reflects on how his life has been destroyed. 'Anthem for the Doomed Youth' describes the fate suffered by young men in the war in general. How they are slaughtered like cattle and how no one sings their "orisons" for them. ...read more.


Young human life is wasted, families are devastated and people are robbed of their right to live. In Anthem for the Doomed Youth the lost of family and friends is shown in the second stanza where the friends of dead soldiers hold back their tears and the faces of the girls turn pale at the great loss though there is no loud mourning but the pain is intense and what has been gained by all this. Nothing, no problems are solved. Again in Disabled the life of the soldier is wasted in vain as there is no evidence that the sacrifice that he gave was effective in any way. In fact no one even knows where he is, no one bothers about him. In the war he was only a statistic not a name. Young men are always lured by the propaganda of their respected governments which leads them on to join the army or air force. Though in Anthem for the Doomed Youth Owen does not touch on this sensitive issue, Disabled does show that a soldier's uniform, rules of leave and salary did attract him to join the army. Also the "smart salutes" "the care of arms" and daggers with jeweled hilts" attracted him. ...read more.


None of these sacrifices can be justified; the loss or maiming of human life can never be forgiven. The mood of the poems is somber and dark, and there is a suppressed rage at the insecurity of the world. Owen has made his point very efficiently. After reading the poems I was instantly shocked into realization of how horrible war can be. It is not that I was not aware of this but these poems seemed to give a peg to my awareness. I was forced to think and after thinking reject war entirely. It did not solve problems in fact it multiplied them. I was reminded of the II World War that had come after the first which is when these poems were written. The II World War was horrifying because it was the first time that a nuclear bomb was used and look at the destruction it cause. I was reminded of the photograph of that little girl running away from the flame of the napalm in the Reader Digests. She was naked as her clothes had been burnt, her skin was peeling off and her mouth was wide open in an unheard scream. I thought of the incapitated soldier in Disabled. I have for life become a person who will hate war and maybe someday I will do something to stop the conflicts in the world. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    The World of words in Wilfred Owens Anthem For Doomed Youth and Dulce Et ...

    5 star(s)

    He is sharing with us what he has seen, and is trying to convey the message that it is truly awful. In the first line of the stanza Owen says, I QUOTE 'If in some smothering dreams you too' I UN-QUOTE implying, see the horrors I have seen.

  2. Peer reviewed

    "With Specific focus on Wilfred Owen poems Disabled, Mental cases, Dulce et Decorum est, ...

    4 star(s)

    for the alarm of war and that he has wasted part of his life on a pointless war. "He's lost his colour very far from here, Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry," Wilfred Owen implies that this man has lost part of himself, his emotions and characteristics

  1. Peer reviewed

    Compare: 'The Soldier' by Rupert Brooke, 'Futility' by Wilfred Owen, and 'Anthem For Doomed ...

    4 star(s)

    Was I for this the clay grew tall?" The mention of clay represents the development of the human race from Adam, who, according to the Bible, was created from clay. Owen is wondering why, as it appears to him, the human race grew only to see its members perish?

  2. Compare and contrast how Wilfred Owen and Isobel Thrilling portray the horror, suffering and ...

    "No fears of fears came yet" show us how he was na�ve. He even had to lie about his age to get in; this emphasises how young and susceptible he was. All he thought about was the pride, honour and to be carried back "With drums and cheers".

  1. A comparison of 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'and 'Anthem ...

    forgotten; living on in the recurring nightmares of the poet and in the fear-provoking tales of the survivors. These comparisons demonstrate the point so vividly that they augment the effectiveness of the poem. But the most vital means of developing the effectiveness of the poem is the graphic imagery, which

  2. Exposure and Disabled are two poems written by Wilfred Owen during the First World ...

    The poem consists of five verses, the first is six lines long, three are seven lines long and there is a large verse consisting of 16 lines. This structure of similar line lengths and number of syllables corresponds to the fact that everyday is the same for the man and once again, he is simply waiting for his end.

  1. Discussing Disabled by Wilfred Owen.

    In the following phrase 'Voices of play and pleasure after day' alliteration is used to emphasise the happiness and joyfulness the changed young soldier will never feel. In the phrase 'Till gathering sleep had mothered them from him' imagery is used not for the disabled boy but is used to describe the other children.

  2. The theme of war and destruction is presented through the poems Anthem for Doomed ...

    Cheng suggests a cyclic motion, and the reservists likened to a child?s carnival ride which they have the inability to control. ?We will play the game till the monotony sends his lordship to sleep? this metaphor means that the men will not give up, for they will continue to obey the government until they are not needed anymore.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work