Analysis Of Owen 's Poem ' Anthem For Doomed Youth '

Decent Essays

In Owen’s poem, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, the speaker meditates on both the brevity and value of life. From the very beginning of the poem, it is evident that Owen (the author and speaker) has a negative view of the war, believing that the political powers that are using the soldiers do not value them either as people or as soldiers, either when they are living or as they die. As he reflects on how little effort is put forth to honor the death of the soldiers with funeral rites, he also ponders the question of whether the political powers value the soldiers simply as a means to an end instead of as human beings. He believes the government is disingenuous when they claim that he and his fellow soldiers have any value. Several of Owen’s images are of a religious nature, alluding to specific Christian burial traditions, indicating that he values those beliefs. By drawing to mind those images, which in the era he was writing, would have brought with them a reminder of a God who values all life, Owens creates a contrast between the reality of war and the expectations of a civil society, and bolsters his case that disrespectful treatment of the soldiers bodies demonstrates they also had no value in life.
This tension between the expectations of society and the reality of war is demonstrated immediately in the title. The first word, “Anthem” suggests a hymn or song of praise. Instead the youth receive nothing but the sounds of war. The anthem for these doomed youth is the

Get Access