Anthem for Doomed Youth

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In “no more Hiroshimas”, the poet describes the Japanese town as “drab, cheerfully shallow permanence: peeling concrete, litter, ‘Atomic Lotion, for hair fall-out”. This shows the damage nuclear weapons have done to this town. “flimsy department store, flashy waves”, “Oranges and dark red apples” “squid and octopus, shellfish, oyster, ice”, the poet uses some very vibrant colour to describe this little town and just how normal it looks. However there seems to be a mask that’s covering everything up and it is all existing on the surface; nothing really has any depth in it.

The pace slows down by using more commas in the next stanza as it talks about the river which is the only natural created thing in this whole town. It is “unchanged, sad, refusing rehabilitation” This shows that it is polluted and will never be able to change. In the third stanza, the poet is back into the city centre, here, there are all sort of new technologies going on such as “cinemas and hi-fi coffee bars”. And the memorial hall is “tricked with glitter frost and artificial pearls. ” This shows that the people are making money out of the tragedy.

It is a mockery and it is also deriding what had happened. Everything is fake. The fourth stanza is about is artificial and uncomfortable hotel the poet is living in. It is in an awful “emptiness”. This shows the fact that how vacant the place seems to be. It is “trimmed”, “with jaded Christmas frippery, flatulent balloons”, the alliteration of the “f” suggests that the balloon is losing air and all these decorations are pointless. The stairs “treacherous” and his room “overheated morgue”, the electric chimes ring across the “tidy waste”.

This shows that he is uncomfortable there and he also uses the oxymoron to show this piece of pointless and useless land. The “doleful hymn” and the unrecognisable tune suggest that nothing there is cheering him up and no one want to be there at Christmas. In the next stanza the poet uses the ironic term ” Atomic peace”, this is an oxymoron. It is “geared” to “meet the tourist trade”. The poet here is mocking and summing up the situation. He is in fact beyond indignation because he thinks that this tragic place should not be built like a tourist area.

The state of this town is so tacky. It is without “nobility or loveliness”, and “dogged with shame”. This suggests that the way they geared up to meet the tourist trade is shameful. In the last two stanzas, the poet is being serious and describes what he sees in the museum: “burnt clothing, torn shirts, polka-dotted with atomic rain, blasted boy to bleed and slowly die” and so on. These are all the damages that have been done of the people, the words used are all very violent and this makes them stand out from the poem.

The power of this poem is generated through the poet’s journey through the town which is empty and tragic which alternatively focus on the human element of disaster. The overall message is to highlight the need to learn from this kind of tragedy so it is never repeated again. The opening rhetorical question in “anthem” “what passing bell for these who die as cattle” immediately hints at the pointlessness of war and we realise this is not a patriotic war poem as the title “Anthem” indicates, instead highlights the ghastly inhumane nature of war and the poets anger and despair.

In the first stanza the poet concentrates on describing the noises of war that replace the noises of a funeral, “the stuttering rifles rapid rattle” the onomatopoeia of “stuttering” aids the reader in imaging this noise instead of the funeral bells and the alliteration of the “r” and “t” sounds speeds up and shows how quickly it all happens. The replacement of gentle choir boys are the “shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells” This contrast helps to show Wilfred Owen’s disappointment of war and emphasizes how terrible the death is.

The use of the words “demented” indicates the idea that no one knows what they are doing and why they are doing it, further hinting at the pointlessness of war. When answering the opening question the poet writes “no mockeries for them from prayers or bells” this is saying that it would be a mockery to bury those who have been killed as cattle in mass slaughter as men, therefore describing the hideous funeral the poet views as appropriate he further highlights the horribleness of war and how terrible the effects are.

The second stanza describes more what is left behind and therefore showing the extreme loss caused by war. There is again an opening rhetorical question “what candles may be held to speed up them all”, this is answered in the image of the.. eyes showing with the “holy glimmers of good byes” this much quieter and gentler image emphasises the sadness of the death. We read that the “pallor of girls brows shall be their pall” this shows that war causes despair to everyone connected and so contributes to the poets message that war causes huge loss.

In the last line the word “each” shows how this terrible war and slaughter keeps happening and the idea that everyone is a “drawing down of blinds” hint that people are blocking out the war and …… to recognise how hideous it is. The sonnet form also helps to show the emotion of anger and despair at the effects of war. Both poets are very successful in getting across their opinion of war and teaching the reader to learn from it through talking about the effects of war.

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