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Doomed Youth

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Introduction

Anthem for doomed youth is a poem by Wilfred Owen in which there is a sinister atmosphere evoked by the poet's use of imagery, rhythm, alliteration, symbolism and structure. This sinister atmosphere add to my appreciation of the poem by the effectiveness of these techniques at bringing me closer to the emotions and allowing me to consider the impact of such event on real people. The poem has an ironic title, an anthem being a celebratory song whilst doomed has negative connotations of death and sadness. It is set in the trenches of World War One and compares the realities of death on the battlefield with the traditional, religious funeral service. The poem is split into two parts, first part, an eight line octet evokes the noises of battle, whilst the second part, a six line sestet, deal with the settled grief left behind after a death. ...read more.

Middle

He emphasis the cruel noise of gunfire by using the alliteration "rifles' rapid rattle", and further compares the sounds of battle to a service by using the metaphor "The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells". The impression of these sounds of war, add to the ominous and sinister atmosphere by the clever use of alliteration to bring the sounds to life and transport the reader to the battlefield and get a sense of the horror, fear and death that lies there. The metaphor of the choir again reminds the reader of death and the atmosphere at a funeral. Owen then link this initial octet to the sestet by the symbol of a bugle, which is played both on the battlefield and at a military funeral. The focus is shifted front the battlefield to the "sad shires", symbolising the homes of the soldiers where their loved ones wait. ...read more.

Conclusion

This sinister atmosphere allows the reader to imaging the horrors and sounds of the battlefield, and the reality of death brought home by the analogy of a funeral. This combined with the sympathy for those left behind evoked by the second half of the poem put me in a much better position to contemplate Owen's theme of the futility of the deaths of the first world war, which many believe was unnecessary. In summary I found this poem very effective in conveying Wilfred Owen's message of the futility of war. The skilful use of imagery and rhythm at creating the impression of a funeral added a sinister atmosphere, which was enhanced by the use of alliteration and symbolism to evoke the noises and sights of a battle. This sinister atmosphere aroused my emotions and allowed me to identify with those who needlessly suffered, and those left to mourn. This resulted in the poem having a strong impact on my and my grasp of Owen's themes. ...read more.

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Response to the question

This candidate responds well to the proposed question; an analysis of Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is evident but it is not always explored to the depths that higher level GCSE grades require. The candidate identifies a number of ...

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Response to the question

This candidate responds well to the proposed question; an analysis of Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' is evident but it is not always explored to the depths that higher level GCSE grades require. The candidate identifies a number of poetic devices used by Owen to create the sinister tone of the poem (use of irony, imagery, language techniques, etc.), and although each of these devices receive individual analysis, it often feels as if the candidate has spent too long concentrating on vague feature-spotting for the first two paragraphs, not specifically or explicitly identifying or analysing much of the poem in detail. However, the candidate presents a sound analysis of some of the techniques Owen uses, including symbolism, imagery, and alliteration (though this last term is used too specifically; alliteration, assonance and sibilance should be identified as 'repetition of sound').

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is fairly unbalanced and does not always cover what the candidate says they will cover. It is a misconception of GCSE and A-Level candidates that they will score highly if they mention as much as is identifiable about the poem and then comment on a few in detail. Ity is in fact, much better if the candidate instead identifies only what they will comment on, and some things they do not identify in the introductory paragraph can always be included as surplus.
Where the real analysis is is very good, and shows a candidate with the ability to achieve a low B grade for GCSE. I would personally ask the candidate to work on their expression as a lot of what they say hangs around the idea of Owen "developing" the feelings, as opposed to the reader becoming aware due to his poetic skill. I would also, as a last note, ask the candidate that, when writing an anlytical essay, they should avoid mentioning themselves even when talking directly about effect - the should instead cite "the reader" as the recipient of the poem.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication (QWC) is fair, though a clumsy syntactic style often leads the answer feeling slightly clunky when it is read. This whole section: "The poem is split into two parts, first part, an eight line octet evokes the noises of battle, whilst the second part, a six line sestet, deal with the settled grief left behind after a death (sic)." is slightly skewed in it's grammatical clarity, but it is not beyond all redemption and can easily be rectified if the candidate dedicates a certain amount of time towards the end of an exam to re-read their answer and correct any mistakes made. it seems trivial, and many candidates are confident in the QWC, but a lot of people make subliminal errors that they are unaware of and these are very easily picked up by the examiner and so re-reading and spell-checking is greatly encouraged.


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Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 16/04/2012

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