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Anthem for Doomed

This is one of Owens best known poems. Its plan is
simple. With bitter irony, the first stanza translates
the pandemonium of battle into funeral rites for the
fallen. The second stanza continues the metaphor in
the quiet of a stricken English Village.

An anthem is usually a hymn

to praise or celebrate but in
this bitterly ironic title,
Owen is criticising the
praising of War.

Anthem for
Doomed Youth
You wouldnt usually associate the youth with
being doomed, but these men were being sent
to their deaths. Owen uses the association of

When a person died, their body

would be taken to a church for
the funeral. These rights were
not given to the those who died in
the war. These men died for their
country, yet what funeral right
were they given?

bells are
the bells
used to
announce a

What passing-bells for

these who die as cattle?
What image is Owen creating here? The savagery
and brutality of war is reflected on in this image of
death. Using the word cattle is a graphic way of
showing how the men had no control over their

Owen asks a rhetorical question

before providing the answer. He
allows the reader to reflect on the
reality of how young men die at war
and what sounds after their death is
Only the monstrous anger

Only the monstrous anger

of the guns.

Instead of an honourable death, with a

funeral and people mourning them,
they will just die on the battlefield. No
one will come and no one will try and
find them.

The imagery Owen uses here

appeals to our hearing and sight.
Owen recreates the sounds of the
battlefield , showing the anger of
war with constant stuttering of
guns killing innocent lives.

Only the stuttering rifles'

rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty
Owen uses both orisons.

alliteration and
onomatopoeia to further
empathise the firing of
the guns. The
alliteration mimics the
sound of the gun fire.

Their funeral prayers

need to be completed
quickly as there are so
many to be said. This
empathises the vast

There is no dignity or pleasantries in dying at war.

No one mourns for our men who have been sent to
be slaughtered. There are simply too many for
them to be accounted for individuality and for them
to all receive the burial they deserve for making the
ultimate sacrifice.

No mockeries now for them; no

prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the
Despite Owens orthodox

The glorious

upbringing, how his faith actually

developed during the last years is
far from clear, and it is hard not to
think that he was not
remembering in this poem those
members of the clergy, and they

dead will have

nothing. No
voices mourning
them. There will
however be
choirs. But will

The only choirs that will be present at

these mens funerals will be the horrific
sounds of shells and warfare. Owen is
emphasising the tragedy and pity of war.

The shrill, demented choirs of

wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from
sad shires.
Raving mad- this
highlights the sense
that the shells and
bombs are
completely out of
control. Perhaps

Many men came from the English

counties and countryside. Bugles
were sounded, calling them and
encouraging them to go to war, to
their deaths. There is solemn
tone here heightening the sense

The juxtaposition of "choirs"

and "wailing shells" is a
startling metaphor, Gods
world and the Devils both as
one; after which line 8 leads
into the sestet with the
contrasted, muted sound of
the Last Post.

What candles may be held to speed

them all?

use the
Not in the hands of boys but

their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of
The last sights these men would ever
see would be the horrors and pity of
war. The image here is of the tearful
eyes of the soldiers, glittering like
candles as they go towards their


Coffin cloth

The pallor of girls' brows shall be their

Their flowers the tenderness of patient
Flowers suggest
beauty and

They patiently
wait for their
men to return.

Aptly, dusk is falling in the last line and speaks of

finality. The dusk is slow, for that is how time
passes for those who mourn, and with the drawing
down of blinds and the attendant sadness.

And each slow dusk a drawingdown of blinds.

We may think of a house in Shrewsbury where at

the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the
eleventh month a telegram was delivered that
informed Wilfred Owens parents of his death just a

In Anthem for Doomed Youth we see the main

image is the funeral service that was not given to
soldiers for their bravery and help to the country,
instead Owen compares a burial to what happened
out on the battlefield. The first verse was lively with
gunfire; the imagery appeals to hearing and sight.
The second verse we see that there are no aural
images. It is a much more silent and quiet verse,
trying to show the sadness of war. Owen was trying
to show the sadness of war.
Anthem for Doomed Youth is mainly about young,
brave soldiers not getting a proper funeral service.
There are images of death, sounds of gunfire and