2.4 Wilfred Owen essay

“My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity.”


“Anthem For Doomed Youth” written by Wilfred Owen. Analyses one of the main issues Wilfred strongly holds as a belief is the disapproval of the war because of the number of traumatic experiences and horrific realities of the war he Experienced.  Wilfred Owen represents this through the many language techniques he uses to convey his issues and to help the reader understand the “pity” of war; such as similes, imagery and emotive language.

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born on 18 March 1893  He was the eldest of Thomas and Harriet Susan’s four children; his siblings were Harold, Colin, and Mary Millard Owen. Wilfred was an English poet and soldier. He was one of the leading poets of the First World War. His war poetry focused on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare.  Wilfred’s work was heavily influenced by his mentor Siegfried Sassoon and stood in sharp dissimilarity both to the public cognizance of war at the time and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Among his best-known works – most of which were published after his death – are “Dulce et Decorum est“, “Insensibility”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, “Futility”, “Spring Offensive”,  “Strange Meeting” and “Exposure”

I believe as the reader that Wilfred Owen is trying to illustrate the younger generation is doomed as they think war is glorious, this is shown by the title. “Anthem for doomed youth”   The war portrays that it’s exciting to fight for your country but he’s proclaiming it’s not through the words in his poem such as “The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.”  The images he portrays through his words are graphics and detailed. They make the reader unconsciously imagine the true action of the war. Wilfred Owen details, explains and makes you picture that many soldiers died as in the first sentence of his poem of a simile;  “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” Wilfred uses emotive language throughout his poem to show the grip of the poem and the realization of the reality of the war.

I believe the emotive language Wilfred uses In the poem affect our understanding of what is taking place as he uses intricate words to describe the war and what is taking place such as “demented” and “drawing down of blinds” as well as “orisons” Wilfred portrays the feeling of sorrowful and despair through the descriptive words of actions that played out in the war; “anger of guns” “wailing shires” “sad shires” “goodbyes” “drawing down of blinds” 

The simile Wilfred uses “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” is used to show that Wilfred questioned this as cattle die off in large quantities he relates this to the war through the multitudes of soldiers dying in front of him. The bells are used to represent\tell the town or community the passing\death of someone. Wilfred questions the “passing-bells” as there were no bells fo his fellow soldier’s deaths. wilfred states  ” only monstrous angry of the guns”  and “only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle” showing that the bells were only used for awareness of the enemy of the war and not the enemy of death. 


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