Owen Poem Notes

‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’: Owen savagely challenges the word ‘anthem’ with stark antithesis to present a shocking cry against the barbarity of war, instead of a Christian song of praise.

-Central subjects: death, violence, and sacrifice of youth
-Men become beasts- slaughtered on the battlefield & robbed of dignity & ceremony

Uses many techniques to shatter the illusion that war is glorious:
 Intertwines repetition, alliteration, personification- “only the monstrous anger of the guns, only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle”- to emphasize the boys vulnerability.
 Alliteration- “sad shires”- softens the tone
 Personification- “the shrill demented choirs of wailing shells”- describes the horrific sounds of war
 Juxtaposition- to show the contrast between the funeral rights held for those who die at home in peach with the abrupt & uncelebrated deaths of those on the battlefield
 Symbolism- “mockeries” of a Christian funeral (bells, choirs, prayers) to represent the church’s denial of death

‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’- Ironically translates to “it is sweet & honorable to die for ones country”

The poem is very graphic & recounts in shocking detail the horrific sights, sounds & feelings of a group of exhausted soldiers who are caught in the open during a gas attack.

Owen uses techniques to expose the truth about war:
 Imagery- “knock kneed, bent-double, coughing like hags”- to create a picture in the audience’s mind of the effects of war
 Hyperbole- “all went lame, all blind” to create a sense that everyone experiences the impact of war
 Visual imagery- to describe the man’s ‘stumbling’ & ‘floundering’ movements. This coupled with “come gargling from froth-corrupted longs”- further details the disgusting experience of a man desperately trying to breathe while gas burns his lungs.
 Simile- “his hanging face like a devil’s sick of sin” &
 Assonance- “watch his white eyes wreathing” used to shock & disgust the reader
 Repetition- “if”-...