Wilfred Owen

1727 Words Sep 26th, 2013 7 Pages
Wilfred Owen Essay
Theme: The way weaponry has been portrayed.

Throughout literature poets have used various literary devices in order to convey their message to the audience. Wilfred Owen has cleverly personified weaponry in the context of war and has woven it in his poems. This in turn accentuates the message he is trying to convey-- the paradox of War. The use of this tool is most prominent in three of his poems, The Last Laugh, Arms and The Boy and Anthem for Doomed Youth. In these poems he depicts weapons as sinister, flesh-hungry savages whose only purpose is to kill. In Anthem for Doomed Youth Wilfred Owen writes and elegiac sonnet moaning the loss of innocent life. Like his other poems to one too is
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The title itself seems like an oxymoron because children are usually not associated with weapons. The poem begins with a calm suggestion of letting the boy try the bayonet blade and see how ‘cold the steel is’ The bayonet itself is personified as a creature with a predatory nature, ‘it’s keen with hunger of blood’ its appetite is further described as ‘famishing for flesh’ this use of alliteration of fricative sounds embellishes the rapacious nature of the weapon, it is described as being ‘blue with all malice, like a madman’s flash’ this simile conveys the cruelty and evil that is associated with this weapon. By using explosive sounds and the use of adjectives such as cold increase the sinister effect of the weapon. The second stanza similarly begins with a tender gesture asking the young boy to ‘stroke these blind blunt bullet leads’ the use of consonance adds to making the bullets seem less deadly than they are words such as ‘ long to nuzzle’ portray warmth but ironically the euphuism, ‘in the hearts of lads’ stands for the death of young children. Cartridges are described as having fine zinc teeth, their sharpness is compared to ‘the sharpness of grief and death’ in saying ‘give him’ these weapons of destruction the poet is juxtaposing innocence with experience and death. Owen does so in a manner that seems innocuous asking the boy to play with these objects of death and destruction. The third stanza ‘his

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