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Discuss Anthem For Doomed Youth By Wilfred Owen, Exploring the Poems Language and Form.

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Introduction

Robin Spacie 10N Anthem For Doomed Youth Discuss Anthem For Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen, exploring the poems language and form. Also explore the previous three drafts of the poem, comparing and contrasting them with the final copy. ------------------- Anthem For Doomed Youth was written by Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart, a military hospital in Scotland to which he was sent deeply shellshocked from his experiences on the front line in France during the First World War. In his poem Disabled he draws on this experience: a few sick years in institutes. Anthem For Doomed Youth explores his past experience in battle and the suffering of his comrades. He draws on his growing knowledge of the atrocities of war. Wilfred Owen 1893 -1918 is considered to be a major war poet. He served in, amongst others, the Manchester regiment despite his delicate health and was invalided home from France after five months with his nerves shattered. He was coincidently sent to the same hospital as Siegfried Sassoon upon whom he came to rely. Returning to battle at the Front, his letters to his mother reveal his inner struggle, I came out in order to help these boys; directly, by leading them as well as an officer can: indirectly, by watching their sufferings that I may speak of them as well as a pleader can. Towards the end he wrote, my senses are charred: I don't take the cigarette out of my mouth when I write Deceased over their letters. ...read more.

Middle

It is also quite ironic that Owen is linking guns and weapons of destruction with religious ideas. The next line, Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. is very emotive because it sounds like the only prayer that is said is the few seconds of gunfire that kills them. It is also a stark contrast to a peacetime death where mourners and choir boys sing long, meaningful prayers for their dead. Stuttering rifles rapid rattle is onomatopoeic and rattle may also be a comparison to the 'death rattle' which is the last sound a throat makes when a person dies. Lines 2 and 3 use repetition of the word only to emphasise the fact that what the soldiers receive is not enough. Also, lines 2 and 3 do not make it clear whether it is enemy guns or friendly fire, which is just as it would be in the trenches because their would be confusion and no-one would know who is firing at who. Line 7, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells, uses the words shrill and demented specifically to make the guns insane. The last line in the first stanza, And bugles calling them from sad shires. is particularly emotive because it is saying that the only loss felt for the dead is that they cannot fight any more; the military reveille is not answered. ...read more.

Conclusion

For you could be interpreted that Owen is talking about the living whilst the third draft is talking about the dead. Several changes in the poem have condensed an awkward phrase into a few words which flow much better. Having fewer words is also good because it is the mark of a good writer. The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells sounds much better than Nor any voice of mourning save the wail The long drawn wail of high far-sailing shells. The adjectives shrill and demented are good because they are associated with insanity. Choirs is used because it conjures the image of a demonic choir where there should be an angelic chorus for the dead. Line 12 changes throughout the four versions, and improves the form of the poem. The first draft, And pallor of girl's cheeks shall be their palls sounds awkward whilst the finished poem reads The pallor of girl's brows shall be their pall; This flows much better and the alliterative pallor-pall fits more harmoniously than pallor-palls. John Wain has written Is there a finer war poem in world literature than Anthem For Doomed Youth? and whilst I feel that Dulce Et Decorum Est is Wilfred Owen's better poem, Anthem For Doomed Youth evokes powerful emotions in the present day reader. It recreates the horrors of over eighty years ago and makes them immediate. Acknowledgements Oxford Companion To English Literature by Sir Paul Harvey Up The Line To Death: An Anthology selected by Brian Gardner ...read more.

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