The text to be commented upon is a poem written by Wilfred Owen in 1917 entitled Anthem for doomed youth. It is a petrarchan sonnet, a sort of diptych with two different parts which hinges upon lines 9 and 10. The title is a key for the interpretation of the sonnet which is an ideological poem, a denunciation which echoes as an anthem. It connotes a sort of solemnity, a sort of duty to be returned to the youth. In fact, the title contains the reading protocol. The first part of this poem is composed of two quatrains which deal with the violence and the realms of war. We can note that Owen uses a sonnet which is the lyrical form par excellence to evoke a violent reality, an event which is opposed to the feeling of love.
[...] We can understand that it is a mimetic device to represent in the first quatrains war and the sufferings of war and to represent in the two tercets death through the absence of light and the presence of peace after death. This impression of a mimetic device is reinforced by the changing of time, from present to future (shall be). We can speak of a diptych in which each part reinforces the other as an opposed vision of death. Furthermore this new lexical field creates the impression of a more intimate suffering, a more genuine suffering since what is important is not the concrete symbol of funerals such as bells or candles but the abstract value of the funerals, that is to say the presence of loved beings and the presence of the notion of respect. [...]
[...] The binary rhythm of “prayers or bells” shows a gradation: the prayers are the human beings and the bells are higher, as a better link between the human beings and God. War also corrupts these symbols since the bells are the sounds of bugles. At line six, the verb “mourning” refers to the “prayers” whereas the may be nearer from the What is disturbing is the double meaning of choirs since we expect them to be a religious symbol, a sacred word whereas they are the sounds of artillery, the shadows of death. [...]
[...] The end of the sentence on line four shows that the only issue for the soldiers is death and that their funeral bells are the sounds of the weapon. The structure of the sentence Only, can reinforces this impression of a lack of hope even if the sentence ends with the word “orisons” which is almost an oxymoron in the context. The second quatrain of this first part of the poem uses religious symbols which are opposed to the reality of war. [...]
[...] The poem is a kind of tribute to these young soldiers. The last tercet evokes the girls and gives a new tenderness, a new guiltlessness in the funeral procession. At line twelve, we can quote the paronomasia between at the beginning of the line and at the end of the same line: the pallor which evokes purity becomes a religious symbol through the The words finds an echo at line ten since, in the middle of the line, we can note the word The two last lines of the tercet elide the verbal locution “shall which establishes an implicit comparison between the “flowers” and tenderness and between the “slow dusks” and a “drawing-down This opening on “tenderness” reinforces the monstrosity of the evocation of war in the first stanza. [...]
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