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Comparison Of Anthem For Doomed Youth By Wilfred Owen And Suicide In The Trenches By Siegfried Sassoon

2443 words - 10 pages

Changing attitudes to war presented in the poetry selected.

World War One. The Great War to end all wars. This ‘Great War’ mainly started in 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, and ended four years later with the Treaty of Versailles, 1918. Propaganda played an important role in the recruitment of men, with posters plastered on every possible surface saying ‘Your King and Country needs you.’ With persuasive poems displayed in newspapers for all to see, urging men to go to battle, this war which was compared to a simple ruby game. With each local neighbor jeering “33,000 men are enlisting each day are you one of them?” With all these schemes to persuade men to join the war, ...view middle of the document...

Sassoon’s poem shows us how life can be worse than death; this can be seen through the eye-catching title “Suicide in the Trenches.” The use of the word trenches further emphasized that not only the horrible conditions that one young soldier boy suffered, but also by many others in war.

The theme running through “Anthem For Doomed Youth” is the meaningless and absolute horror of the war, and the meaningless insufficiency of religion in response to the awfulness they occurs during the war. Where as in “Suicide In The Trenches” it also paints the harsh reality of death, suicide and depression that comes with war.

The story behind Suicide in the Trenches is about a young soldier boys transformation from a happy and innocent person into a depressed soldier who desires to kill himself, because life is really worse than death. The poet deliberately uses the small boy as a subject of example to gain the readers sympathy. Were as Anthem For Doomed Youth is a expression of grief for young soldiers whose lives were unnecessarily lost.

The structure of Suicide In The Trenches is three stanzas with four lines in each. The rhyme scheme is A-A-B-B in each stanza. This seems to be a rigid structure, but it really does bring out how someone’s initial carefree innocence and freedom is being lost once he enters the cruel and depressing battlefield. The structure of Anthem For Doomed Youth is a lyric poem, in the form of a hybrid sonnet. This hybrid sonnet is a combination of a Petrarchan sonnet with a Shakespearean sonnet, with a rhyme scheme of A-B-B-A-C-D-E. This sonnet structure restricts Owens ideas, so they have to be compressed and compacted into a more intense piece of work.

The language that Sassoon uses is clever in conveying the theme. He uses a balance of symbolism; alliteration is put to effective use in this poem. Something that can’t be missed is the alliteration in the first stanza “slept soundly”. The repetition of the letter‘s’ produces a harsh hissing sound, this then sets the tone for the rest of the poem. It also shows that people who sleep soundly don’t have a worry in the world, reflecting the innocence of the boy at the start of his experience in war. This is repeated by the whistling, the carefree state that person has to be in.

In Anthem For Doomed Youth, Owen uses a hyphen to create a pause which can symbolize an abrupt change in thought, a shift in focus. He also uses personification when talking about the guns, “Only the monstrous anger of the guns.” The truth is the guns are not angry; it’s the men behind the guns, firing them, that are angry. The use of alliteration in line 3, “stuttering rifle’s rapid rattle” uses the sounds of the letters ‘t’ and ‘r’, to create an image in the readers mind of the quick fire of the guns on the battlefield. This is just one of the many usages of sound and visual imagery that Owen uses in his work.

In the first line of Anthem For Doomed Youth, Owen uses a rhetorical question to...

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