Wilfred Owen wanted to educate the general public about the sacrifices, ugliness and barbarity of war in order to arouse awareness. In the poem Anthem for Doomed Youth, Owen illustrates his idea of the devastating loss of youth. The title emphasises his theme through the words "Anthem", "Doomed" and "Youth" which are juxtaposed to highlight the brutality and reality of war. The word "Youth" normally brings to mind happiness and joy. Owen places "Youth" next to the word "Doomed" which illustrates to the audience the stress and hopelessness of the youth during war. The word "Anthem" usually associates with a patriotic song or song of praise, Owen draws to mind the fact that these boys have nothing to sing about during the chaos of war. Owen effects the thoughts and feelings of people that have not experienced war for what it is; the major loss of innocent lives. He shows the significance of his poetry through the title, giving the audience a sense of gruesome tone for the poem. The mental effects on the young soldiers as they are killed and thrown away to die are also present. Owen's main idea is the fact that the young soldiers do not get the proper funeral they deserve. The opening line "What passing bells for those who die as cattle?" uses a rhetorical question to illustrate numbers of soldiers massacred as if they were cattle, shredding the blood of youth, their pain, and death in large numbers. The poet uses onomatopoeia and personification in the bombs to represent the harshness of the battlefield, as the soldiers had to endure the sounds of "wailing shells". Owen compares the funeral at home compared to the funeral on the battlefield. The "holy glimmers" interpreted as tears, in the eyes of the soldiers, and funeral bells are replaced with the sounds of weapons firing. Owen shows that during war, soldiers' deaths are seen to be insignificant. Owen shows the insignificance of human life, the mental horrors as young men are brought to tears and the devastation of war and the savage mean to kill people. This horrid idea is also evident in the quote provided in the question.
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The poem Dulce et Decorum Est brings the realisation that war is not as it is portrayed to the public.Through the use of visual representations, Dulce et Decorum Est shows the mental and physical effects on the soldiers going through the punishment of war and how this changes the young soldiers' lives. The use of the simile "bent double like old beggars" illustrates how the soldiers look, showing them as discouraged and disheartened; "bent". This is not how soldiers are normally depicted; they should have their heads held high and marching tall. Owen shows how the young men of war have now become old beggars; they have aged and are begging for their lives, lives that may be taken away from them at any time. This, along with "an ecstasy of fumbling" shows the urgent need for the salvation of one's life. The "ecstasy of fumbling" to put on their gas masks shows the audience how the soldiers have been forced into the bent and begging state to save their lives. The soldiers are beyond exhaustion. They have to find the energy to put on their gas mask or they will face death. The innocence of youth has been lost. Some have lost their lives; others have lost their mental state. Visual imagery is used throughout, through words such as "guttering, choking, drowning" which emphasises the harshness of war. These words describe how a young soldier dies in war; there is nothing smooth and flowing about the death of a soldier. It tells of the death of a young soldier just because he wasn't quick enough to put on his gas mask. The harsh sound of "guttering, choking, drowning" are spoken to help set the idea of a pointless death in war. Owen used visual imagery to convey his message to the home front and to show the effects of war through the harshness of his language, depicted with the loss of innocent life within society.
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In the poem Futility, the harshness of war is portrayed differently than the other poems. Where Dulce et Decorum Est focused mainly on the experiences and horror of fighting on the frontline. Futility shows a mixture of emotions mainly that of grief and that the war is pointless. Owen conveys this range of feelings towards the war through various techniques. The use of present tense terms such as "Think how it wakes the seeds" and instructional language like "Move him into the sun" is used to open both stanza's, giving dramatic immediacy that engages the reader. This use of instructional language evokes emotion, which emphasizes the hopelessness that a person can feel. Rhetorical questions show the speaker's confusion as he tries to find some explanation for such a pointless death, "Was it for this the clay grew tall?" A poignant, ironic tone is used for readers to comprehend such loss. He stresses that such a youthful life has been totally wasted. The rhetorical questions used show the sense of futility and emptiness for both the man who dies and his friends who tried so fruitlessly to save him. Noticeably, the structure of the poem includes emphasis at the end of either stanza through rhyming words. "Snow, now, know" and "Tall, toil, all." This is effective in summing up Wilfred Owen's viewpoints and as a conclusion to express his feelings on how the war is a waste in terms of human life. Imagery along with metaphor, are integral in communicating meaning in Owens poems. "Fields unsown." Is an effective connotation in bringing to reality that death in war is permanent and that man's actions cannot be undone. Moreover, the tone the poet managed to maintain as well as the shift in tone during the middle of the poem highlighted the devastating feeling of losing a friend over something that could have not taken place from the start. Therefore, Wilfred Owen successfully managed to directly and effectively point out the "futility" of war within the poem being brutal.
In conclusion, Wilfred Owen uses many complex ides to show the world the significant horrors of WWII in particular, major losses of war and the disparity of the battlefield and the effects of war at home. Throughout Dulce et Decorum Est, Anthem for Doomed Youth and Futility Wilfred Owen provides a graphic and confronting reality of war and how lives of young men have been ruined because of propaganda.