Criticism In Anthem For Doomed Youth By Wifred Owen

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The sonnet “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, by Wifred Owen, is a poem that criticizes the war. An “anthem”, defined as a jolly song of celebration or perhaps glorification. From its definition, readers would first get the impression which the poem might be about something that is related to religious or joyous. However, as the title suggests, the anthem is for “Doomed Youth”, which implies an obvious negative/sorrow meaning. The title basically summarizes what this poem is about; a mixture of thoughts related to religion and death, irony, and cynicism. Throughout the poem, Owen draws the comparison of traditional/religious/funeral rituals and ceremonies with the actuality of death for a soldier on the battlefield. Owen illustrates his thoughts …show more content…
The speaker starts the Sestet by asking what ritual can be done to lessen the sorrow of those deaths. To answer this question, Owen applies three metaphors that focus on the poignant of the mourners at home. First, in line ten and eleven he compares the candles to the “holy glimmers” in the eye of boys. Instead of candles being held to send them on their way into the afterlife, the soldiers simply have the last flicker of light in each other’s eyes before they die. The image of this is that the candles are being compared to small “glimmers” of light in the eyes of the soldiers. Even though they bare a tiny, but they are holy light as well. The second metaphor comes in line twelve. The “pallor of the girls’ brows” is being compare to the pall that covers the casket. This line exposes the unjust ceremony that soldiers have or the idea of irony. The soldiers will not have pall/flag placed over their coffin and they might never have a proper burial because they will not be transported home for their own funeral. The absent pall is metaphorically replaced with the grief of girls at home. This line brings readers’ attention to the suffering caused by the death of the soldiers, not only to themselves but also to their families. Last but not least, in line fourteen “the tenderness of patient minds” becomes the flowers that adorn the soldiers’ graves. The flowers that are absent from the funeral [because there is no funeral] represent the memories that the families have. Instead of the flowers [material], the remembrance is shown in an abstract fashion [their

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