In the persona speaks of in line 1 is

             In the poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth Owen uses
a number of different literary techniques to illustrate the barbarity of war. He
also uses these techniques to show that whatever we do cannot truly console the
deaths of our soldiers. In Line one, where Owen compares soldiers dying on a
battlefield to cattle being slaughtered. By writing this, Owen illuminates the
inhumanity of war and how little thought goes into ‘murdering’ these men fighting
for their countries. The ‘passing bells’ that the persona speaks of in line 1
is symbolising a tradition to mark one’s death. Owen says, ‘What passing bells’
which highlights the fact that these soldiers aren’t dying traditionally but
are just being marked off on enemy lists. The speaker makes the point that the
‘stuttering rifles’ can be seen as a cruel replacement for the ‘passing bells’ which
furthermore illustrates the ruthlessness of war. Owen replaces traditional
funeral procedures with sounds and sights of the war. To help him do this, he
uses personification, for example, the ‘demented choirs of wailing shells’
replace the ceremonial choral music played at a funeral. Owen constantly
compares what happens when individuals die to what we think is consoling for
soldiers dying on the front. He makes the point that our solaces do not mean
anything if our men are thoughtlessly slaughtered.

the second stanza, Owen uses different tone and settings do depict war and its
impacts. Rather than describing the intense brutality of the trenches he transports
the reader to the desolation in the families back home. In this stanza he no
longer talks about people coming together to commemorate death but in fact he
shows the raw solemnness of the people in their private settings. This is shown
here, when Owen asks, ‘What candles may be held to speed them all?’ to which he
answers himself, ‘Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes shall shine the
holy glimmers of good-byes’. This furthermore outlines the pure grief off these
people back home, praying that their loved ones are not dying out on the front.

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In line four of the second stanza, Owen demonstrates that not only is suffering
caused for the soldiers, but for the women back home; mothers, wives and
sisters too. The persona says in line 4 of stanza 2, ‘The pallor of girls’
brows shall be their pall’, pall meaning the cloth draped over a coffin. This
line is used as a metaphor to represent that the faces of these ‘girls’ will be
‘draped’ over the coffins of their men. This illustrates the girls’ objection
to giving up hope for their men, and also that they will stay beside their
loved ones right until the end. This line reveals the immense despair that war
is capable to cause showing that as loved ones are dying physically out on the
front, communities and families are dying emotionally back home.


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