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

With specific focus on Wilfred Owen's Futility, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce et Decorum est, and Mental Cases evaluate the methods the poet uses to bring across his convictions, feelings and ideas.

Extracts from this document...


With specific focus on Wilfred Owen's Futility, Anthem for Doomed Youth, Dulce et Decorum est, and Mental Cases evaluate the methods the poet uses to bring across his convictions, feelings and ideas. "Who longs to charge and shoot, Do you my laddie." This jingoistic wartime poem by Jessie Pope ignites Owen's anger at these false impressions of war. This is evident in such poems as Dulce et Decorum est, originally penned towards Pope, hence the initial title, To a Certain Poetess. Owen's "senses were charred" at the sight of the "suffering of the troops", such accusations about the nature of warfare fuelling the malice of his work. Owen never openly retaliates, instead opting to include his resentment towards writers like Pope in his poems. Owen frequently conveys his convictions of lost youth in Anthem For Doomed Youth by referring to "the hands of boys", evidently refusing to acknowledge the maturity of the men. Owen's numerous references to religious symbols heightens the effects of his poems. In Anthem, we hear the "demented choirs of wailing shells." Angelic choirs are ironically reversed as Owen negates Christian ritual as being unfitting for those who die amid screaming shells. In Mental Cases, we also bear witness to Biblical images, asking if we are: "Sleeping, and walk hell But who these hellish?" Owen often compares war to Hell, comparing soldiers to creatures undergoing eternal torment, "Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows". This adds to the created impression of those driven mad by war, as he asks if the "multitudinous murders" these men have committed has doomed them to Hell. ...read more.


Owen's passion displays the real effects of such a grim and "monstrous" war, trying desperately to erase the false screen created by such jingoistic writers as Pope. One of Owen's tendencies is to incorporate intense sounds to support the potent imagery: "We were caught in a tornado of shells" This extract, from one of Owen's letters, provides insight into his writing of Anthem: "The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells" Owen uses his "submerged memories of warfare" to great effect, frequently applying onomatopoeia to his poems - the "stuttering rifle's rapid rattle" in Anthem, and the "batter of guns" in Mental Cases. The powerful resonance of the weapons intensifies the empathy the reader has for the "sacrificed men", as the hellish scene recreates the "rattling" in our own ears, as if we, the reader, were there. In Futility, a direct contrast is apparent, as the "whispering of fields at home" signifies the sharp difference between the frontline action, and the calmness of Blighty. This is a stark reminder from Owen that, whilst everything's fine and calm in Britain, there are "full-nerved" men dying in France. The continuation of Anthem's onomatopoeic clatters is mirrored most notably by Mental Cases' "batter of guns and shatter of flying muscles". The rhyming extends Owen's vivid ideas by suggesting that, as well as fighting and seeing the misery of comrades falling, the sounds of the "multitudinous murders they once witnessed" replay constantly in their minds, reminding them of the torment they met. ...read more.


Dulce also details how the men "marched...drunk with fatigue", explaining the exhausted state of the men. These three quotes are shocking, as these men are young, energetic men, but they're being reduced to quivering wrecks - suggesting men age quicker in the trenches, due to the horrors they see, and what they have to experience. This is a direct juxtaposition, where the young are dying before the old (A role reversal), but are seen as being 'old' themselves. Owen's visual ideas on death are nothing short of morbid, describing: "at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs" In Dulce and Mental Cases, Owen adopts a macabre approach to extend the demons of these men. In Dulce, the "white eyes" of the "hanging face" suggest death is upon the man, and that he is looking at the men to choose his next victim. This idea is carried into Mental Cases, where there are men "whose minds the Dead have ravished". Owen suggests, through a conviction of anxiety, that death is omnipresent, and that the worst fear is to become a "purgatorial shadow". Owen writes to display one main conviction: that the false pretences of war are just that - false. By writing about such shocking and disturbing issues, Owen breaks the fabricated lies and makes his feelings known by adding ambiguous sentences to his poems, "marching asleep" - fatigue of war, or asleep to the glorious propaganda that recruited them? Owen's poems are full of truths, however controversial they seem, and he projects his convictions and feelings any way he can, regardless of consequences. Hemant Sahi English Literature Coursework: World War 1 Poetry ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Wilfred Owen section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

5 star(s)

Response to the question

This is an extended essay directed to answer a question about the poetic devices Wilfred Owen uses to convey his convictions, feelings and ideas in 'Futility', 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Mental Cases'. The answer demonstrates ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This is an extended essay directed to answer a question about the poetic devices Wilfred Owen uses to convey his convictions, feelings and ideas in 'Futility', 'Anthem for Doomed Youth', 'Dulce et Decorum est' and 'Mental Cases'. The answer demonstrates an exceptional level of focus on the four poems and how each one tells us a lot about Owen's passion to convey the falseness of War. The candidate concentrates on poetic devices such as irony, rhyme, Second Person address, and more, as well as discussing the literal and connotative messages and themes present in all four. An exemplary answer.

Level of analysis

The Level of Analysis is simply outstanding. A very extensive essay, it covers each of the question ideas without once feeling systematic or like the analysis shown is regurgitated from a classroom. This shows the candidate has undertaken external independent research by which they fortify their answer with not only an understanding of the poems, but an understanding of Owen. This level of enthusiasm and drive really comes out in their essay, as they delve to a profound level of appreciation of the four poems. Examiners looks for evidence of independent research, and this can range to something extensive to anything a simple as realising that 'Dulce et Decorum est' was directed at jingoist Jessie Pope and was originally titled 'To A Certain Poetess'. The candidate, if wishing to improve their answer, may have commented briefly on the changes to titles 'Anthem For Dead Youth' (changed to 'Anthem for Doomed Youth') and 'Purgatory Passions' (changed to 'Mental Cases') and how these changes affect the poems' effect e.g. - "Doomed" holds greater resonance than "Dead", suggesting that from the minute they are in France, the soldiers may as well be dead as they are marching to their graves.
There is an excellent use of quotes. I don't thinks there's a sentence without one and every single one of them is nicely embedded in the text. This shows an adeptness with language and also a close attention to detail in how to incorporate as much of the four poems as possible. The answer flows nicely and the use of these quotes create direct links to the poems being analysed, instating a further level of focus some candidates forget to even think about.

Quality of writing

The Quality of Written Communication is very high as well. There is a plethora of appropriate terminology used and every word is spelt and used accurately. There is also a very good handling of grammar and a wide range of a variety of complex punctuation. This shows confidence and adeptness in language and is something often overlooked by some candidates however, this candidate demonstrates that their knowledge of English is of very high quality. I, and some examiners, may argue that it would not be a proper use of language though, to abbreviate the titles of published works from 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' to something like 'Anthem', and likewise with to other poems. This is entirely subjective though and some exam boards may allow this.

Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by sydneyhopcroft 24/03/2012

Read less
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 GCSE Wilfred Owen essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Wilfred Owen Poetry Comparison.

    4 star(s)

    effects in the poem, but the personification of the dead soldiers as cattle, (as opposed to the cripples in 'Dulce et Decorum Est') as well as the alliterative and also onomatopoeic "stuttering rifles rapid rattle," seem somewhat inappropriate. A lot of the religious aspects in all of his war poems,

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Compare 'The Soldier' written by Rupert Brooke and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' written by ...

    The final line of this poem depicts the morning of the soldier's relatives: "And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds." When a death occurred during this period the families who had lost people they loved, closed the blinds to show their sadness and to keep the rest of the world out.

  1. Marked by a teacher

    A comparison of poems by Wilfred Owen: 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for ...

    Whereas 'Dulce' has the quality of a speech, it starts strongly with imagery and similes. It is a direct address as it mentions 'you' in it. Owen uses repetition of the word 'gas' driving home the idea of panic, the 'fumbling' before you could be safe.

  2. Peer reviewed

    Analysis of Anthem for doomed Youth

    4 star(s)

    It creates the impression that the deceased are moving on to their next life, possibly showing Wilfred Owens's religious views on life. 'The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall,' suggests that the girls back at home have pale, grief stricken faces.

  1. Peer reviewed

    Summarise and explain the key elements of Futility by Wilfred Owen

    4 star(s)

    (What a contrast with the body "flung" into the wagon in DULCE ET DECORUM EST.) Of course, we may have been influenced by "gently" in line 2 which reinforces the previous impression, while "touch" again not quite an exact word, is surely light, reverent even.

  2. A comparison between 'Dulce et Decorum Est' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' by Wilfred ...

    probably one of the most effective part in the whole poem and makes the reader feel several emotions such as sadness, helpless and stunned at what one can do for others. It also makes the reader feel extremely angry, full of rage and hatred towards the war.


    I feel Wilfred Owen showed people that war was not at all glamorous. I actually preferred The Charge of The Light Brigade to this poem. This poem really made me sad and brought to me how terrible things must have been for these young men.

  2. "Anthem For Doomed Youth" By Wilfred Owen

    The final stanza of this poem really had a lot of images that discussed death. At first it was hard for me to understand this final stanza of the poem because of some of the words that were used in it, but once I looked them up in the dictionary

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