War Poem Comparison Essay

1735 Words May 24th, 2011 7 Pages
Gavin Ross

Pre-Entry Access Class – English Module

Tutors – Aimee McNair and Kevin Wilson

Q. In an essay of not more than 1,500 words compare and contrast ONE PAIR of the two pairs of poems printed below. Your answer should exhibiy a clear understanding of each poem’s meaning and tone, and you should consider the effect and importance of formal features, such as rhyme scheme, sound patterning, word choice, figurative language and punctuation.

Date handed in : 31st January 2011

This essay will compare the poems “On Passing the New Menin Gate” by Siegfried Sassoon (1927) and “Anthem For Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen (1917) and decipher whether there are any contrasts of worthwhile note. It will explore the meanings of
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This oxymoron is effective in making the reader think about how experienced soldiers and the media alike, fed propoganda to these naive young men, glorifying the war to them during times of conscription, essentially brainwashing them and signing these soldiers up for death. The underlying themes of betrayal and injustice are used by Sassoon and Owen with the aim of stirring up emotion within the reader and underpin their anti-war message. Another comparable technique of the two poems is the style of language and tone which Sassoon and Owen use to convey their disparaging views on the war. They both adopt a sombre yet agrieved, resentful tone using numerous rhetorical questions aimed at drawing the reader in and provoking them to make their own conclusions about the war. Sassoon opens his poem “On Passing the New Menin Gate” with the question, “Who will remember, passing through this Gate, The unheroic Dead who fed the guns?” (lines 1-2). This is effective as it instantly grabs the reader’s attention and makes them question the validity of the Menin Gate as a memorial monument. The implication from Sassoon is that is a pointless gesture. Likewise, Owen also uses a rhetorical style to directly question and draw the reader in, when he asks in his opening line of “Anthem For Doomed Youth” , “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” (line 1). Straight away this question highlights the inhumanity and indignation involved in war. “What passing-bells

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