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Analysis of the Language Devices in Wilfred Owens Anthem for Doomed Youth

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells, Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires. What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds.

Sonnet This poem is a Sonnet, which creates some irony as

Sonnets are usually about love, which this poem is not, entirely. I think that this irony has been used to show how ironic it is that the bravest, most loyal men who are fighting for their country are the ones that do not receive the proper funerals. Images There are many images of death used, such as the passing bells, the rattle of guns, funeral prayers. These images help us to imagine the situation that the soldiers find themselves in. Personification Many of the images are personified as well, such as the anger of the guns and the wailing shells. This personification adds to the harshness of the images and further develops our sense of the scene. Similes Owen uses many similes in this poem. For example, these who die as cattle. These similes help to emphasize the meaning of the poem.


- Like the similes, Owen has included many metaphors, such as stuttering rifles and wailing shells. These assist the similes in creating the scene. Juxtaposition Throughout the whole poem, Owen mixes the ideas of war and church together. The phrase demented choirs is a clear example of this. This helps the reader understand the contrast between the soldiers life and death, and the life and death of an individual nowadays. Repetition Owen uses repetition to reinforce many of the ideas he brings across in this poem. For example, he said No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells, nor any voice of mourning. In that example, Owen is emphasizing how much the soldiers are being deprived of. Oxymorons Owen uses some oxymorons to provoke thought and shock in the readers mind, which causes them to think about the situation and dwell on what is being said. For example demented choirs and maybe even hasty orisons. In this poem specifically, he has used these to bring together the idea of church and war.