Analysis Of Anthem For Doomed Youth

Decent Essays

In Anthem for Doomed Youth, Wilfred Owen tells a harrowing story of a small town shellshocked by nearby warfare. In this brief, but vivid, tale, Owne uses harsh imagery and powerfully emotional tones to paint a picture for the reader. In this story men, women, and children have gathered in the streets of their shellshocked town to usher off their slain loved ones in hasty prayer to the hymn of artillery fire and bloodshed. The imagery the speaker implants into the reader's mind provokes an emotional response that few will have trouble relating to.

From the very first line, which states, “What passing-bells for those that die as cattle (Owen, 1)?” the speaker is setting the stage for the rest of the poem. This stage is one that is blanketed with resentment and pain, shadowed in bitterness. Here, in the very first line, the speaker is comparing soldiers going to battle to cattle. The speaker seems to be implying that those sent off to war are viewed as nothing more than livestock, expendable. The way the speaker frames this line, when taken into context with the rest of the piece, is almost saying that those sent off to war were bred for the task. It is almost as if their entire purpose, and ultimate destiny, was this untimely demise, being sent to slaughter.

Lines two through four not only use visual imagery to set the tone, but also auditory sensations.
“ --Only the monstrous anger of the guns Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty

Get Access