Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen.

Essay by guitargirl211College, UndergraduateA-, March 2008

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Wilfred Own uses powerful imagery and sound to get his views of war and death across to readers. "Anthem for Doomed Youth" was written and meant to be about the First World War, but it can easily be related to any war, including the present.

The first stanza of the sonnet goes on to mix together imagery of being on a battlefield and religious funeral rites. It starts out with the line "what passing bells for these who die as cattle?" Not only does this line contain a vivid image of humans lining up like cows at a slaughterhouse waiting to die but also mixes it with the sound of church bells.

Weapons are personified throughout this stanza to show how powerful and cruel they are. They are described to have "monstrous anger" and they make the sounds of "stuttering rifles' rapid rattle". The personification and sound of these guns set the scene of the battlefield as a chaotic place of death.

The stanza goes on to describe death on the battlefield and the ceremonial process of it. In the field there are no prayers or bells just "bugles calling for them from sad shires". He describes the sound of shells as "shrill demented choirs of wailing shells". All of these words are examples of cacophony because they all have very rough and harsh sounds. The word choir in that line, which would usually be related to a pleasant church sound is ironically used to describe a sound on the battlefield.

In the second stanza it speaks of death 'back home'. It speaks of how the candles "shine the holy glimmers of good-byes." The words shine and glimmer are examples of phonetic intensives and are used to strengthen the image of the flickering candle. The ceremonies are for...