ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH
· nature of war (emotion – lack of commemoration/acknowledgement)
· impact of war (death – depicted through the aural devices)
Aural imagery in the octet depicts death and lament for the lack of commemoration the dead receive in Anthem for Doomed Youth. The soldier's youthful vulnerability is emphasised through the lines 'Only the monstrous anger of the guns' and 'only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle.' which answers Owen's own question (first line). The repetition of 'only' stresses their insignificant deaths and the combination of personification ('monstrous'), onomatopoeia ('stuttering') and alliteration ('rifles rapid rattle') in the two syntaxes delivers a true insight to the reality of war where the sounds of deathly weapons are aurally imitated. Despite the horrific deaths generated by war the syntax 'demented choirs of wailing shells' emphasises the lack of acknowledgement for the dead prompting pity and reminds the hideous reality of war where only the 'wailing shells' will metaphorically sing at their funeral, hence the battlefield as their funerals are non-existent. The poem evokes reflection as the lack of a proper ceremony and horrific imagery of death are recognised.
· Nature and impact of war
The tonal shift is evident in the sestet by displaying the impacts of war to the civilians. The anaphoric use of rhetorical question in the opening syntax “what candles may be held to speed them all?” invites the readers back to the home-front to convey the dead soldiers are brought back home. The extended metaphor of “candles…shine…glimmers” reiterates the absence of formal ceremony, but their legacy and sacrifice remain forever. A sombre tone is employed throughout the stanza which evokes pity of the inevitable deaths from the repercussions of war. The indignities (shame) of death are highlighted in “The hands of boys...The pallor of girls’”. The diction of “boys” and “girls” repeats the idea of the “doomed” young. The diction connotation of youth signifies the loss of pride and failed glory of heroism (one of the unreal beauties that were expected from the young men and ignorant outsiders). Therefore, the death of the youth contradicts the heroism as perpetuated through the general public.
· Impact of war (inhumanity, desensitisation)
The entire sentiment of Insensibility refers to the lack of senses, displaying the process of desensitisation as a by-product of war. The introductory syntax, “Happy are men who yet before they are killed.”, promotes the ironic welcoming of death rather than sensing their violent surroundings. Paradoxically, the anaphoric use of “Happy” emphasises the men are more “Happy” to be inhumane rather to sense their violent surroundings. It also ironically contrasts with the negative sentiment of the title “Insensibility” and accentuates the lack of motivation to survive. Sensing too many horrors that the soldiers “having seen all things red, Their eyes ...