21st February 2018

Anthem of doomed – Wilfred Owen

The role of the author

What can you determine/understand about writer of this text? What does he want the reader to experience or understand?

Wilfred owen wants the reader to experience the effect that young boys going to war had on there familys. And the emotional effect for families when there son past away. He is putting us into a first person image and wants us to know what it feel like throughout the community when they find out someone had sadly been killed in war. We believe he is trying to get the message across that the leaders are just considering the soldiers who die just to be another number, but in fact he is highlighting the fact of the chain of events when a someone you know who dies and the chain of impact it follows. “What passing bells for these who die as cattle?”

What has been include?

Why have specific words been chosen?

A specific word that may have been chosen is from the line “Their flowers the tenderness of patients minds,” the word “their,” is significant has it convey a special event and the author has been able to paint the image of what it was like during the time the soldiers set off for war. It presents that Wilfred Owen is trying to represent a special message, and give the impact of the way it felt for the people who stayed home watching there family or friend leave. The term ‘Their’ is a seen to be a certain group in possession of something, Wilfred Owen describing their to own the feeling own sorrow, anxiousness, and ‘own’ a young boy of family or a friend setting of to war, only to die as “cattle.” This relates to the reader for example a group that has set off for a trip somewhere like a sporting trip, the people who stay behind generally have little to no thought on what will happen when the group leaves. The “theirs” staying behind to only find when they are back.  Most people have been in the “their” position and generally the thought of people slips past here mind, so they can connect and relate to what a tragedy it was

Another specific use of vocabulary would be the use of ‘them’ in the line “No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;” The use of ‘them’ is portraying the image of foe and opposition, the reason Mr Owen may have placed this in here is to recognise that the leaders sending all these innocent soldiers to war, have no emotion cross relating as calling them “cattle,” which is seen to have a short life and small purpose to only be slaughtered. A reason Wilfred may call the leaders ‘them’ as them is seen to be opposites or people who ‘we’ do not associate with, hence showing different beliefs. He is highlighting the idea that the leaders do not care, and this is a feeling of anger for the citizens as the leaders know what these soldiers are in for. This is ironic and ‘them’ is supposed to be the opposition but the war is effecting so many families and people known as the ‘ripple effect’ that there is dispute between people in the same country, fighting for the same side. This effects the reader as we believe that war was supposed be all united fighting against the opposition, but people on the same side were opposition showing the war was disjointed, and may have effected the certain sides war fighting as more people found out about the “old Lie,” cross referenced from Dulce et decorum est, by Wilfred Owen

What has been included?

Why have specific language techniques been chosen in this poem?

The use of repetition is used on the words “only” is used in the lines “Only the monstrous anger of the guns, Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle.” The use of repetition is used to highlight what is most important for the reader, and put emphasise into the ideas Wilfred Owen was using. This technique conveys, that there was little hope in the soldiers minds in general. Their only way of answering their prayers was to keep fighting. This shows that had little freedom on their choices and they were in a bad mindset believing only guns could save their freedom and hope. This is ironic because guns before they set off to war would not of set them up for freedom. This use of only sounds like it has become part of the soldier and the countless days of frontline fighting, makes them feel like their gun is sowed to their hip, each gun shot rapidly making another prayer, that this war will be over. The reader feels as though they are in the time during the event, using only repetitively and puts the reader in a mindset of fatigue as guns require a lot less effort than fighting, which they cannot longer do, the reader can connect, and think of something they are doing and think I can ‘only’ do this.

The use of allusion potentially could be seen in the last line “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds,” is a historical reference, which is seen as a way to pay respect to the death of the soldiers at war, which was done throughout neighbourhoods, almost like a moments silence. The use of allusion shows that the drawing of the blinds was regular occurrence. This is because the use of each, hence meaning every morning. The use of allusion could be have been placed in the poem to raise the idea of the ripple effect and show how each morning thousands of neighbourhoods did this, he is showing that this is effecting people significantly throughout communities, almost hinting the idea that this should be stopped. How Wilfred also says blinds shows that the allusion is representing multiple peoples death day by day, as generally two neighbours may not know someone that the other does, but both blinds are drawn. This means these deaths were of large scale. Wilfred Owen is using this illusion to make the reader picture the idea of what it would be like walking through a neighbourhood and its spookiness. He may have put this in to raise awareness that it is becoming to repetitive and again this war should be stopped.

What has been included?

How have the positive and negative ideas been represented throughout the poem, the language choice and images.

Firstly there is irony in the fact that there are no positive ideas represented throughout this poem. This is ironic in the fact that the leaders, using propoganda to say war is great and a positive place. Wilfred Owen is highlighting the effect on the soldiers and family etc at home, showing only negative ideas with no positive outcomes. For example a use of vocabulary that is cleverly crossed linked and brings up a negative idea is “The pallors of girls’ brows shall be their pall;” The word pallor is someone who is very white from grief this clever cross links saying the pall, a cloth that is placed over a coffin could be used, saying that there faces were so white it could be seen as the same colour of pall, which is a pure white. Readers can relate to this vocabulary if they know the meaning of the words and think of times when maybe they have had feeling of grief or close to that like nausea, and how terrible it feels. The use of girls’ shows that their is more than just one girl who is in a feeling of grief, he is resenting images of thousands of girls across the country effected, and is showing hoe emotionally scarring it was to so meany people for just on individuals death. This gives a negative feeling towards the reader seeing war as just a dark time, generally these feelings of grief last for a month, but this grief was continuous for years to come and brings and idea of a stereotypical community and the amount of grief and sorrow for the  time period of the war, Andean have an understanding of how little enthusiasm and hope there was emotionally.

Another way a negative idea has been presented is in the line “what passing bells for these who die as cattle?” The is trying to send a message that innocent men who had little say it what they were able to do or not do were being slaughtered like cattle. The image cattle, presents and idea of how generally the owner of the cattle do not care if they are going to slaughtered only being used for a certain thing for example food, or money in the case of cattle. This relates to the soldiers as the “owners” or the leaders have complete control of them only using them to gain land etc not caring about there deaths, just to bring in more to “die as cattle.” This ironic as leaders used propaganda to say that war is great and they will protect them as much as possible. Cattle raised for beef have a very short life span, hence meaning Wilfred Owen maybe trying to show that these men are being used, dying at young ages, and have little hope of surviving, in the same case of a bull only surviving if they are lucky. Wilfred Owen could be potentially challenging the soldiers human rights, referring to them as cattle as they have little control and freedom of choice, when deciding to go to war, pretty much calling these men puppets. This effects me personally because if I was sent to war I would want my government to be looking after me in the best way possible and I am personally risking my life to save others. This would give you hatred towards the government and it shows how disconnected It is between civilians and the government, which is seen throughout todays society except the problem not being as large of a scale.


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Well done, Jesse for including the “role of the reader” in these responses. You have analysed the language choices with evidence and have also included what ideas, messages (and even responses) that the reader might have from this combination of techniques. Great work!

  2. Jesse, I have been re-reading this response and wanted to highlight a few things:
    1) Be direct and succinct when expressing your ideas. There are a number of very insightful connections made here. Begin with the connection and then validate it (prove it) by supporting it with evidence.

    2) This reflection: “but people on the same side were opposition showing the war was disjointed, and may have effected the certain sides war fighting as more people found out about the “old Lie,” cross referenced from Dulce et decorum est, by Wilfred Owen” is good because you specifically explain the point you are making about “Anthem for Doomed Youth”. Include specific evidence for your cross-reference or wider world examples. Also in: “It is between civilians and the government, which is seen throughout todays society except the problem not being as large of a scale.” Is there is a relevant wider-world example/modern-day example that you could use to support this point?


Respond now!