ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH BY WILFRED OWEN
ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTHBY WILFRED OWENLECTURE WEEK 2
ENGLISH 1: WEEK 2Introduction to poetry.Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen.Poem analysisWhat is the poem about? A brief summaryAnalysis of the 1st & 2nd stanza Language points: type of poem, wordplay, imagery, symbols. RelateRelating the poem to other materials and current situations.
INTRODUCTION TO POETRYPoetry is a sense of the beautiful; characterized by a love of beauty and expressing this through words. It is ART.It is an expression of what the poet thinks and feels and may take any form the poet chooses for this expression.Poetry is a creative use of words which, like all art, is intended to stir an emotion in the audience.Poetry generally has some structure that separates it from prose.
INTRODUCTION TO POETRYA LINE is the basic structure of a poem.Each line contains a set amount of syllables; this is called METER. Lines are grouped into STANZAS. Often the lines in a stanza will have a specific RHYME scheme. Not all poems have a rhyme scheme. Point to ponder: you hear poetry everyday sometimes without even realizing it. Take a moment to think of several examples.
POEM ANALYSISA BRIEF SUMMARYThe poem was written by Wilfred Owen when he was serving for the British Army in World War 1. Anthem for Doomed Youth was inspired by the war and the men who fought in it. The poet questions his readers on what ceremonies can be held for soldiers slaughtered in battle? Owen seeks to highlight in "Anthem for Doomed Youth that no matter how much we memorialize, tribute, or honour the fallen, we can't ever really know what it was like for them in those horrible moments before death.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 1LINE 1:What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?The poem begins with a question. passing-bells refer to the sounds of church bells at a funeral. Were there any for the dead soldiers?these was used instead of those to create a closeness between the reader and the scene. The boys who died in battle was referred to as cattle (simile). Cattle usually move in herds, so imagine how many people died at once. The word cattle also depicts how the boys seem to have been slaughtered which is inhuman. They were treated like animals.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 1LINE 2: Only the monstrous anger of the guns.The poet answers his own question in Line 1. instead of church bells, the only sounds they hear when they die are sounds of guns. LINES 3-4: Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattleCan patter out their hasty orisons.orisons mean prayer. The only prayer the boys had were the ones they made with their rifles. The word hasty suggests that things happen very fast in battle. So death in war was quick, loud and messy.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 1LINE 5: No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;The poet implies that prayers and bells are pointless in battle by the use of the word mockeries. He suggests that these are an insult for the soldiers who did not die like heroes (as people imagine) but died like animals.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 1LINES 6-7: Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;The only sounds were the sound of bombs. Owen is saying that if there isn't any fancy memorial going on on the battlefield, then we shouldn't pretend by having them at home. It just seems fake. LINE 8: And bugles calling for them from sad shires.Bugles are military instruments played at a soldiers funeral. This sound can be heard from nearby towns (shires mean English countryside).
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 2LINE 9: What candles may be held to speed them all?The poet begins stanza 2 with another question. What processions can be held to ease the soldiers into the after life? (like lighting candles) LINES 10-11: Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyesShall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.The soldiers had no candles. All they had were tears that lights the death of their peers.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 2LINE 12: The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;pallor means paleness & pall refers to the cloth that covers the coffins. This is a use of metaphor to show the suffering of loved ones left behind. LINES13: Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,this line could be telling us that the only positive tribute to the dead soldiers comes from the thoughts and concerns of their loved ones; those who are really concerned about their safety and the danger they're in, and mourn their lossesLINE 14: And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
POEM ANALYSISSTANZA 2LINE 14: And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.There are several ways to understand this line. It could mean:An image of death. The families that have lost young men are the ones closing the blinds, as a sort of matching image to the closing and ending of a life.The drawing down of blinds also act as asymbolfor the way they're keeping out the realities of the war. Or we might read this line as a simple, tender, private moment of grief.
POEM ANALYSISTYPE OF POEMThis type of a poem is called a SONNET.It consists of 14 lines.The rhyme scheme is ABABCDCD EFFEGG. Check out the last words of each line again to see this pattern more clearly.
POEM ANALYSISWORDPLAYThe title Anthem for Doomed Youth plays with contrasting ideas.An anthem is supposed to be a formal song of loyalty, praise, or happiness. The word doomed on the other hand, paints a terrible picture for the youths. Owen's title is hinting at the contrast between the popular, patriotic perceptions of war, and the terrible doom the soldiers really face. In calling itself an anthem, it's actually questioning the very anthems that are meant to cheer and support our troops. An anthem for a doomed youth is no anthem at all.
POEM ANALYSISWORDPLAYWORDPLAYMEANINGEXAMPLESSIMILEcomparing something/someone with something/someone similarthese who die like cattlePERSONIFICATIONGiving human characteristics to animals or non living objects.Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattleALLITERATIONthe use of words that begin with the same sound near one anotherrifles' rapid rattleCONSONANTSrepetition of consonants especially at the end of stressed syllables without the similar correspondence of vowelsThe pallor of girls' brows shall be their pallMETAPHORSa word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similarThe shrill demented choirs of wailing shells;
POEM ANALYSISIMAGERY & SYMBOLSMEANINGEXAMPLESIMAGERYFigurative language that causes people to imagine pictures in their mindWar imagery can be found throughout Stanza 1. SYMBOLSSomething that stands for something else by reason of relationship, association, convention, or accidental resemblancePassing-bells a symbol of death.Blinds a symbol of mourning.
RELATING TO THE POEMDISCUSSION &QUESTIONSWhat current events can be related to this poem?How has the concept of war changed from the time the poet wrote Anthem for Doomed YouthWhat remains the same when it comes to war? Watch THIS video and answer this: What are the similar themes behind the poem & the song. Do you know any other songs or movies that deals with the horrors of war?