Wilfred Owen Anthology Comparison Essay

Submitted By mollyfeltham
Words: 974
Pages: 4

“How far do you agree with the view that there is little variety in the subject, matter and style in the poem in this selection?”

The poems by Wilfred Owen (edited by Jon Stallworthy) are indeed on the subject of war. They are all categorised under this broad topic, and incorporate the idea of the pity of war and pity of those that have had loss due to the war. Then again, there is variety in the themes, as some speak about the consequence and aftermath of war, whereas many are about experiences at the front line of the war.

In agreement with this statement, I believe the poems Strange Meeting and Anthem For Doomed Youth have little variety incorporated. The style of these two poems have some similarities: Strange Meeting has two clear speakers and Anthem For Doomed Youth has two clear stanzas. These both represent two sides to the story being told within the poem, and the different viewpoints spoke about in each poem. Iambic pentameter is shown very clearly in both of these poems, representing heartbeats. Strange Meeting shows the heartbeat of the soldier, emphasising the fact that he is dead and after death the heart no longer is a prominent sound. Likewise, the heartbeat-representing iambic pentameter in Anthem For Doomed Youth highlights the lack of life in the youth during the war, as they are no longer fighting. Moreover, the iambic pentameter can signify marching of the soldiers in the war, as both of these poems speak about men in the war. It can also represent in both poems a clock-like sound, ticking, as if the subjects are waiting for death.
Also, the themes are quite similar, as they both discuss the bleak outcomes for the subjects, Strange Meeting representing the soldier’s unlikely story and Anthem For Doomed Youth mentioning the clear unlikely survival of the youth in the war. Religion is a theme included in both poems, which is significant as it shows how important religion was for the morale and strength of many people during the war time. Anthem For Doomed Youth mentions religion throughout the stanzas: “What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?” where passing-bells is referring to the bells that are rung at a church when somebody passes away. Owen is asking what holy ritual will be carried out to mark the death of all of the youth who die in battle. The nouns, “candles”, “choirs” and “bells” have been placed into it to reiterate the religious theme throughout the poem. Strange Meeting also comments on religion, with the fact that the subjects are “stood in Hell”. The blessing and forgiveness within this poem again is in referral to the religion, much alike Anthem For Doomed Youth. Similarly, these pieces of work both have a contrast from the religion to the reality of war. Strange Meeting has a descriptive account of darkness during war at the beginning, before religion is mentioned, additionally Anthem For Doomed Youth has the contrast directly after the religious first line. The contrast there is the vivid and expressive experience of the front line, directly after the mention of bells being rung for the dead.

On the other hand, in disagreement with the idea that Wilfred Owen’s poems have little variety, I believe the poems Disabled and Inspection are two quite different poems. The styles are varied, Inspection has three clear stanzas, to indulge the fact that the inspection is over quickly. Seven stanzas in Disabled however, lengthen the amount of time it takes the audience to read the poem, which signifies the fact that the soldier will always be disabled and the war has affected his life forever. The iambic pentameter in Disabled reflects the heartbeat of the