What has been included? What can you determine/understand about the writer of this text/ What are his experiences, beliefs and values? What does he want the reader to experience or understand?

In this poem, I can feel an anger that is expressed by Wilfred Owens. Wilfred states in the first line, “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?”, the bells would usually ring in a church for celebration or for the mourning of a death. Wilfred is disgusted by the fact that men, young and old are just left in a country they don’t know and are surrounded by other men who aren’t in close relation. As the “bells” are sounded of their death, they are a continuous sound of repetitive horror.

The word “cattle” express the feeling that Wilfred believes each man is just another number. They are treated as expendable.  The leaders in charge just thought as one died they could throw another into the mix.  As Wilfred Owen was a soldier and saw some horrific things during the war such as watching his friend die which was spoken about in another poem, “He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.”-Dulce et Decorum Est, he is angry that more and more young men are being lead astray. Told war is good, fight like a man but the leaders forget about the families, the friends and just everything that has been left behind. Wilfred is tired and wants to make sure that these youth know what the possible outcomes are. 

Wilfred Owens obviously has a value of religion. The language in this poem has many words/sentences that are heavily related to religious themes. For example “can patter out their hasty orisons”. Orisons means prayer, Wilfred is putting a message through that taking the war lightly is wrong, prayers must be said and properly done because what other things should people turn to; praying seems to be like the only hope that the men will be safe.

“And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds”, is another saying that is closely related to the time and religion. Drawing blinds as done out of respect when a funeral procession was in course. When Wilfred says this, it puts the idea in my head that he believes if the leaders continue to count men like cattle eventually every dusk the families at home will draw their blinds each night for every man won’t be forgotten by them.  

What has been included? consider the selection of words/vocabulary in this poem. Why have specific words been chosen? How do the words affect our understanding of what is taking place? 

An anthem is a song that is supposed to uplift a group of people and identifies closely to them or is a religious joyful song. The poem is said to be for “doomed youth”, so therefore we can see how this will uplift their senses to understand the war is not great and noble but a killing spree for the young blokes sent away.  This is also the first example of a word that is linked closely with a religious culture. Wilfred Owens seems to have had an influence on religion as a young boy and that idea has interlaced itself within in his writing. Many words or phrases that he has chosen convey this idea of religion, almost as though this poem is a testament to its time to warm the youth who are excited about a horrid journey. 

More words that relate to this idea of religion being conveyed in the poem are orisons, candles, and pall.  A second example of this is, orisons is another word for prayers, he uses the word in “can patter out their hasty orisons”, the time is not for short prayers it is time to take it slowly as the only chance they have of survival is everyone praying for safety.


What has been included? consider the selection of language techniques in this poem. Why have specific language techniques been chosen? How do the techniques affect our understanding of what is taking place?

Wilfred Owens has used many different language techniques in this poem for many different reasons, such as enforcing his feelings about the war during its current place. The simile “these who die as cattle” refers to the idea that the men are being treated like cows. One dies, just get another one is the notion. It is so unfair to the men and their families. These army men are not expendable, all of the men are equal and just because some of them are leaders they should all realise that no one person in the world is replaceable once they are gone. 

The personification “choir of wailing shells” I feel is a bit ironic. Choirs are usually a beautiful harmony of sound and song, and shells of bombs or shrapnel could be loud and terrifying. It is such a continuous ramble like singing, that it has been personified to be like a choir. If choirs should be joyous it really does make you question the horrific noise the men fighting would have heard.

Emotive language is heavily used throughout many of Wilfred Owen poems, this is usually to enhance the feeling and understanding of what has happened in the war. Emotive language pushes the writer’s voice out and often we hear, see, feel or know what they have. “monstrous anger” is emotive language that I foresee as a true personal outlook from Wilfred Owen. He is angry at what is going on around him, he is angry that men have been armed and that a monster has taken over each and every one of them. Guns are no longer a weapon to hunt for food but now is a weapon of death to another man on the opposite side of the world. Guns are scary but the men are the real monsters which have been enforced by leaders.

What has been included? consider the contrasting vocabulary and images within the poem. How have positive and negative ideas been represented throughout the poem, the language choice and images? List examples and explain this contrast.

Much of the vocabulary used in the poem have religious roots and the images we get from this vocabulary relate to this. Yet as a reader we also receive images that are in the middle of the battlefield in the war. An example of this is Wilfred uses the words “rifles’ rapid rattle” which is heavily evoked by war and then uses orisons (prayers)  in the sentence which contrasts the idea that this poem is biblical. The ideas almost contradict each other as many religious people would follow what they praise, fall towards it for faith and hope whereas war often has no limits and it can be a brutal bloodbath. We receive negative images of war, men dying, grieving families/friends and positive images such as the respect of the fallen, prayers and the want for protection. These notions of ideas being positive or negative are effective on the reader’s thoughts and imply many of the feelings that Wilfred Owen was feeling during the war. It is a great reflection of how both sides of the parties in war, either the army men or the women, children and other people left behind at home.      



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