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Anthem for Doomed Youth

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Describe at least one important technique used in EACH test. Explain why this technique was important in each text.

In the poem Anthem for Doomed Youth, by Wilfred Owen, various language techniques are used, these are important because they help portray the writers key themes. The poem is in the form of a sonnet, it is split between two parts. In both stanzas, Owen focuses on two key themes. The first theme is the horror of war and the terrible conditions facing the soldiers, in contrast, the second theme is the meaningless and lack of religion in response to such horror as seen during the war.

Owen uses extremely strong and powerful imagery throughout his poem. In the very first line he asks, ‘What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?’, the connotation implies that in war, millions die with the same significance as cattle which justifies the lack of sounding from the bells. The manner of their deaths is being compared to the mass slaughter of the animals. Owen in appalled by the inhumane deaths these young men experienced. He feels as if they are nameless and faceless - losing their identities in the chaos of war. The use of this simile is important because it helps Owen to create a sense of what is recognized as the helplessness and inhumane treatment the soldiers received.

In the second line of his poem he uses personification. Owen describes the ‘monstrous anger of the guns’, giving the guns a powerful, negative connotation. By doing so, the anger is misplaced and transferred into the weapons which spit their hatred at the soldiers. By using the adjective ‘monstrous’, Owen compares the guns to monsters who are daunting creatures that people are afraid of. To be ‘monstrous’ also suggests that the sound is loud, as if a huge monster is roaring angrily. The use of this personification is important because they cause the reader to feel frightened...

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