Presentation on theme: "Anthem For Doomed Youth Wilfred Owen. What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’"— Presentation transcript:
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -- The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
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 good-byes. The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Background on Owen Wilfred Edward Salter Owen (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. He has shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare, which was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time. Among his best-known works are "Dulce et Decorum Est", "Insensibility", "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility" and "Strange Meeting".
What it is about? This is about war. Much of the second half of the poem is dedicated to funeral rituals suffered by those families deeply affected by World War I. This is about the devastations of the war, and especially how it affected the young generation – a lament for young soldiers whose lives were unnecessarily lost in the First World War. Owen is emphasising how the young youth have been simply killed without any thought for their or our future – simply, ‘what a waste’ and a mockery of the human race/kind.
Structure The poem is a sonnet. The traditional/conventional mood of sonnets are happy and joyful. However, this structure has added to the irony of the poem – this poem is about death and how young lives will be and are being lost, and the structure makes ‘fun’ of this. Also, the sonnet structure has restricted the writing. Therefore, Owen’s ideas, thoughts and motions have been compacted and compressed, creating an intense piece of writing. It employs the traditional form of a petrarchan sonnet, but it uses the rhyme scheme of an English sonnet.
Themes Devastation The war severely devastated her Loss of Identity In war, young men with distinct personalities and unique talents become nameless pawns – only abiding by the commands of their superiors. When they fall on the battlefield, no one stops to mourn them or pay them homage. The bombs keep falling. The guns keep firing. (This specific concept also ties in with the ideas of the lack of respect and ceremony for the dead). Other ideas include death and the mockeries of human life.
Language Techniques (Helps with Annotations) Title – ‘Anthem’ is a song of praise, not usually one associated with death. Line 1 – “what passing bells…” – simile, indicates how young lives were lost as easily as cattle (something which more regularly dies). Line 2 and 3 – “only the monstrous anger…only the stuttering rifles…” – anaphora and personification, which dramatises the effect/role of the gun, especially.
Annotations Line 3 – alliteration of ‘r’, creates an aural image in the reader’s mind of the ceaseless gunfire. The short sharp words “rapid rattle” indicate danger and almost sounds like a gun shot. Line 6 – personification of “choirs…” make it human-like – makes it even more distressing and vivid. The painful sound also indicates the pain is inflicted on the exposed soldiers.
Annotations Line 1 (second stanza) – rhetorical question, asks us to consider the manner of the soldiers’ death and the farewell they received. Line 2 and 3 – answers the previous rhetorical question, showing that there are no candles on the battlefield, only the tears in the living soldiers eyes. The sad irony is that their eyes are lit by the gunfire that caused their comrade’s death.
Annotations Line 3 – “glimmers of goodbyes” alliteration and assonance – makes the line more memorable and makes us sympathise and think about death and the war. Final line – alliteration – reinforces finality of war. End of poem = end of soldiers life. Conveys the universality of death.