‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ - Lornshill...

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‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ What is the poem’s purpose? Who is the poem’s audience? What is the poem about? What are the key themes?
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Transcript of ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ - Lornshill...

  • Anthem for Doomed Youth

    What is the poems purpose?

    Who is the poems audience?

    What is the poem about?

    What are the key themes?

  • Anthem for Doomed Youth

    This is one of Owens best known poems. Its plan is

    simple. With bitter irony, the first stanza translates

    the pandemonium of battle into funeral rites for the

    fallen. The second stanza continues the metaphor in

    the quiet of a stricken English Village.

  • Anthem for Doomed Youth

    An anthem is usually a hymn to praise

    or celebrate but in this bitterly ironic

    title, Owen is criticising the praising of


    You wouldnt usually associate the youth with being doomed,

    but these men were being sent to their deaths. Owen uses the

    association of death and youth to show the inhumanity of


  • What passing-bells for these who

    die as cattle?

    When a person died, their body would be

    taken to a church for the funeral. These

    rights were not given to the those who died

    in the war. These men died for their country,

    yet what funeral right were they given?

    passing bells

    are the bells

    used to

    announce a


    What image is Owen creating here? The savagery and brutality of

    war is reflected on in this image of death. Using the word cattle is a

    graphic way of showing how the men had no control over their lives.

    Like cattle, they were there to be slaughtered.

  • Only the monstrous anger of the


    Owen asks a rhetorical question before providing

    the answer. He allows the reader to reflect on the

    reality of how young men die at war and what

    sounds after their death is not bells , but..

    Instead of an honourable death, with a funeral and

    people mourning them, they will just die on the

    battlefield. No one will come and no one will try and

    find them.

  • Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle

    Can patter out their hasty orisons.

    The imagery Owen uses here appeals to our

    hearing and sight. Owen recreates the sounds

    of the battlefield , showing the anger of war

    with constant stuttering of guns killing

    innocent lives.

    Their funeral prayers need to be

    completed quickly as there are so

    many to be said. This

    empathises the vast number of

    men killed in battle.

    Owen uses both alliteration and

    onomatopoeia to further

    empathise the firing of the

    guns. The alliteration mimics

    the sound of the gun fire. The

    gun is also personified by using

    the word patter.

  • No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;

    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,

    There is no dignity or pleasantries in dying at war. No one mourns

    for our men who have been sent to be slaughtered. There are simply

    too many for them to be accounted for individuality and for them to

    all receive the burial they deserve for making the ultimate sacrifice.

    Despite Owens orthodox Christian

    upbringing, how his faith actually developed

    during the last years is far from clear, and it is

    hard not to think that he was not remembering

    in this poem those members of the clergy, and

    they were many, who were preaching not the

    gospel of peace but of war.

    The glorious dead will

    have nothing. No

    voices mourning them.

    There will however be

    choirs. But will these

    be choirs in the

    traditional sense?

  • The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;

    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

    The only choirs that will be present at these mens

    funerals will be the horrific sounds of shells and warfare.

    Owen is emphasising the tragedy and pity of war.

    Raving mad- this highlights

    the sense that the shells and

    bombs are completely out

    of control. Perhaps there is

    no controlling the madness

    of war.

    Many men came from the English counties

    and countryside. Bugles were sounded,

    calling them and encouraging them to go to

    war, to their deaths. There is solemn tone

    here heightening the sense of sadness.

  • The juxtaposition of "choirs" and

    "wailing shells" is a startling metaphor,

    Gods world and the Devils both as

    one; after which line 8 leads into the

    sestet with the contrasted, muted sound

    of the Last Post.

  • What candles may be held to speed them all?

  • Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes

    Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.

    Why does

    Owen use

    the word


    The last sights these men would ever see would

    be the horrors and pity of war. The image here

    is of the tearful eyes of the soldiers, glittering

    like candles as they go towards their doom.


  • The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;

    Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,

    Flowers suggest

    beauty and sadness.

    paleness Coffin cloth

    They patiently wait

    for their men to


  • And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

    Aptly, dusk is falling in the last line and speaks of finality. The dusk

    is slow, for that is how time passes for those who mourn, and with

    the drawing down of blinds and the attendant sadness.

    We may think of a house in Shrewsbury where at the eleventh hour

    of the eleventh day of the eleventh month a telegram was delivered

    that informed Wilfred Owens parents of his death just a week earlier.

  • In Anthem for Doomed Youth we see the main image is the funeral

    service that was not given to soldiers for their bravery and help to the

    country, instead Owen compares a burial to what happened out on

    the battlefield. The first verse was lively with gunfire; the imagery

    appeals to hearing and sight.

    The second verse we see that there are no aural images. It is a much

    more silent and quiet verse, trying to show the sadness of war. Owen

    was trying to show the sadness of war.

    Anthem for Doomed Youth is mainly about young, brave soldiers not

    getting a proper funeral service. There are images of death, sounds

    of gunfire and bells. Owen felt sorrow for those killed out on the

    battlefield for their country, not getting the treatment/funeral they

    deserve for their ultimate sacrifice.

  • Form: Sonnet

    A sonnet is a poetic form

    It has 14 lines

    rhyme scheme divides the poem's 14 lines into

    two parts, an octet (first eight lines) and a sestet

    (last six lines)

    The 'volta', or 'turn' of meaning or focus in the

    poem occurs before the sextet, as is traditional:

    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.