Anthem For A Doomed Youth Essay

Anthem For A Doomed Youth Essay

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Wilfred Owen’s poem “Anthem for a Doomed Youth” is a 14 lined sonnet written in a deviated form of iambic pentameter. This poem has a rhyme scheme of ABABCDCD EFFEGG with the first stanza being an octet and the second stanza being a sestet. Owen uses the Petrarchan sonnet form with a Shakespearean style rhyme scheme. Owen does, however, deviate from the typical iambic pentameter style by using extra syllables and a different number of stressed and unstressed syllables in each line. Generally, in a sonnet where there is a separation in stanzas, there will be a shift in the poet’s ideas, a change of course, or a problem and a solution, in “Anthem for a Doomed Youth” the shift is from the battlefield to the citizens back home. Throughout the poem Owen shows themes of death, religion, and warfare through the use of literary devices such as repetition, alliteration, comparisons, and similes.
Owen uses literary devices in the title itself. Within the title, “Anthem for a Doomed Youth”, Owen applies assonance with the words “doomed” and “youth”. The title conveys a strong and gloomy feeling; anthems are generally sung during celebration at joyous times, or to pledge allegiance to ones country, although once coupled with “doomed youth” it conveys a darker, more sorrowful outcome with young people having no hope.
Owen starts the poem off with a question which he then goes on to answer for himself. The poem was written by Owen while he was in the hospital recovering from shell shock during the First World War and it is one of the most famous anti-war poems of its time. This first line in the poem uses a simile: “…for these who die as cattle” which suggests that the soldiers are being killed like animals at a slaughter house; Owen also ap...


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...thers, the wives, the daughters; all of them have lost someone who is important to them. Owen writes in line 13 “Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,” this is a representation of flowers left on soldiers graves, and how those flowers will wither and die, the patient minds of soldiers still at war as well as the families back home are growing more and more impatient and they want to be reunited.
Finally in line 14 Owen stresses perfect iambic pentameter. The final line of the poem is slower and calming compared to the rest of the piece. “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.” The poem finishes with an end of life metaphor; both “dusk” and the “drawing-down of blinds” suggest death, or nearing the end of life. This could also be read as symbolism of the people back home shutting their blinds and turning their backs away from the reality that is war.

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