“Anthem For Doomed Youth” by Wilfred Owen.


orisons – prayers

shires – counties

pallor – paleness

pall – a cover for a coffin

1. What does the simile, “who die as cattle” suggest about the death of the young soldiers?

The comparison of the soldiers to dying cattle suggest the number of casualties, as well as a tinge of anger, at how their lives are being disposed of without much thought in the name of war.

2. What literary device is used to create images rather than simply offer descriptions of the weapons of war in the first octet of the poem?

The first stanza is filled with uses of onomatopoeia: stuttering, puttering, patter, shrill, and wailing.

3. Why do you think the speaker employs religious terminology in the first stanza of the poem? What does it say about his view of organized religion and war?

The use of religious terminology and imagery remain consistent with the undertone of irony and sarcasm found throughout the poem. In the first stanza, the use refers to the lack of hope and grace on the battlefield.

4. How does Owen link the two stanzas of his poem? Why does it break?

The two stanzas of the poem are linked by the idea of a calling. The first stanza concludes with the calling of bugles to war, while the second stanza begins with the calling of candles from war. The poem breaks to show the transition from the action of the first stanza to the inaction (through death) of the second.

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5. What do the soldiers receive in lieu of a funeral?

Rather than proper burials, the soldiers receive the thoughts of those they left behind.

6. What is the term for the repetition of the ‘r’ sound in “rifles’ rapid rattle”?

The above phrase exemplifies alliteration. The repetition of the ‘a’ sound in rapid and rattle is also an example of assonance.

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