2.9 reading responce 2: Wilfred Owen

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

“Anthem For Doomed Youth” written by Wilfred Owen. Analyses one of the main issues Wilfred strongly holds as a belief; the disapproval of the war. this is because of the number of traumatic experiences and horrific realities of the war, he had and was experiencing.  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, emotive language and comparisons.

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” as anthem is defined as an uplifting song, doomed is defined as unfortunate and inescapable outcome where youth is defined as the leaders of the future. Three very different words coming together to show that the leaders of the future are “doomed” as war is not all that glorious. The war portrays that it’s exciting to fight for your country but wilfred is 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. Wilfred make the reader unconsciously imagine the true action and feelings of the war. Wilfred Owen details, explains and makes you picture that many soldiers died he describes this through 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 as well as comparisons to show the difference between war and life

The simile Wilfred uses “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” is used to show that Wilfred questioned the war 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 for his fellow soldier 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.

I believe the emotive language Wilfred uses In the poem affect our understanding of what is taking place. It also gives us imagery of what is happening at the time, wilfred  uses intricate words to describe the war, the feelings he has of the war and his experience such as “monstrous”; “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” and “drawing down of blinds”  The poem can be read in two parts that in the first octet wilfred owen makes a catalogue of the sound of war, the weapons of destruction such as “guns”; “rifles” and “shells” which are links to religious imagery such as “orisons”; “bells” and “prayers” , in the second stanza wilfred owen explains a different point of view of the war; the families of those who died in the war such as “candles”; “holy glimmers”; “goodbyes” and “drawing down of blinds” The emotive language used helps us imagine the war and what was happening through wilfred owen’s point of view.

Wilfred owen uses a lot of comparisons throughout the poem, one of these is a simile between what would happen to a soldier killed in battle and a typical funeral in a church. For example he compares the noise of gunfire and church bells. The rapid rifle fire and the prayers. The wailing of shells and the choirs, Additionally wilfred owen compares the events of war burial rituals. Wilfred describes how those in war do not receive proper funerals. In the first stanza owen references the “monstrous anger of the guns” to “passing bells”  and “rapid rattle” to “hasty orisons” usually at funerals or ceremonies for the dead there are bells ringing and prayers being said. But wilfred explains the concept that at war there are only the sounds of guns being fired and at war instead of honoring those who have fallen, more are being killed by the same weapons

After reading “Anthem for doomed youth” the readers entire perspective on war can be changed, wilfred owen paints the horror of war in sensational manner that gets his message across to the audience well, through his poem owen gently influences the readers thoughts on war and those who fight in it.

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