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“Anthem for Doomed Youth”
“Anthem for Doomed Youth”
By Wilfred Owen
• Fought in the Battle of the Somme• a battle that where many
died, but no one won.
• In 1916, he was evacuated with shell shock & sent to a mental institution in Edinburgh for treatment
• In 1918, sent back to war and was killed in action on the banks of the Sambre-Oise canal.
RecitationBy Sean Bean
• Does this poem have a rhyme scheme? • If so, what is it?
• Does the poem adhere to any stanza formats we are already familiar with?• What is the form of this poem?
• HYBRID• Petrarchan stanza format• Shakespearian rhyme scheme
• ELEGY• A poem with a mournful or melancholic quality,
especially a funeral song or lament for the dead
• This type of poem mirrors the stages of grief• Lament• Speaker expresses sorrow & grief• Praise & admiration of idealized dead• Finally, consolation and solace
Anthem for Doomed Youth
•What does the title suggest?•What do we know about anthems?•National Anthems•Religious, expressing joy•Is that the way ‘anthem’ is used in this poem?
• First two stanzas form the Octet• The octet is where the speaker develops his theme• The last six lines is the SESTET, where the speaker
changes perspective to think of those at home, who are affected by the war.
THE OCTAVE•Who is the speaker?• In the octave, the soldier asks and answers a
question •What is the tense of the octave?
• PRESENT. How do we know?
•Onomatopoeia adds to our sense that it is happening now
THE OCTAVE - Text
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
THE OCTAVE - Summary•What sort of notice or rituals mark the deaths
of soldiers who are slaughtered in battle?
•There are no special occasions or pleasant ceremonies on the front lines – only the sounds of gunfire mark the passing of soldiers into death.
• In the sestet, the soldier asks and answers what affects this war has had on those who were left behind.•What is the tense of the sestet?•FUTURE TENSE – how do we know?
•Focuses on sights of mourning period and the agonizing slowness of its pace
THE SESTET - text
What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
THE SESTET - Summary
•What ritual can be done to make those deaths a little easier to sallow?• Look into the eyes of those who are left behind to
see the true effect of what we’ve allowed to be done to us.•Only tears and pale, drained faces of loved ones
will send these deceased boys off to the afterlife.• There will be no graves to leave flowers, but only
the memories we have of them in our minds.
DICTION & TONE
• Owen uses two registers of diction in this poem• War terminology• Religious/burial terminology• The religious imagery brought up in this poem suggests the
inadequacy and meaninglessness of organized religion measured against such a cataclysm as war.
• Repetitive use of negatives emphasize loss or absence• What is the tone of this poem? Does it remain the
same through the entire poem?• It progresses from bitter passion (octet) to rueful contemplation
• What is Owen criticizing and examining in this poem?• War & Conflict• Sorrow & Grief• A social commentary on the hypocrisy of English
involvement in the war and also the hypocrisy of religion in light of mass tragedy.• The ways in which soldiers are treated during the war and
their ultimate loss of identity in death. • DEHUMANIZATION OF THE SOLDIER