The Send Off + Anthem for Doomed Youth Comparison
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Owen does not experiment with language and structure in this poem. The poem is about the experience of men being moved from their training camp to the trenches in France. The men would have come from a variety of places in the country to the training camp, and the town would therefore have little connection to the men (hence there being a small turnout of support). The poem highlights this sense of anonymity and the very low-key way in which the men are transported out to the war (like a guilty secret). * The rhyming is full, not half, and the clusters of two and three line stanzas create four verses. * “The Send off” is written not from the soldiers point of view, but from the people of the town sending them off. It catches the moment just after the parade. The title is ironic because the send off is meant to be a big parade and celebration but the soldiers are not getting this as they are being quietly sent away (secrecy, conspiracy) * From the very start, it is clear that something sinister is going to happen, “Darkening”, “Close” showing no hope/danger/death and a sense of claustrophobia.
Also, “To the siding shed” reminds us of slaughter houses/ abattoir (where animals are slaughtered) as though they are walking to their death after being brainwashed/ left senseless after the manipulation of the propaganda. * Owen uses “They” and “Them” to take a backseat approach/ to distance himself as though he is a narrator (anonymity) * “Sang”, think they are going to win/ keep spirits up/ unification (team spirit) * In “The Send-Off,” Owens speaks of his feelings about the war and has a pessimistic attitude of “them” (the soldiers) returning the same as when they left, and even surviving the war (saying that most of them will die)Verse two, conveys this: “Their breasts were stuck all white with wreath and sprayed / As men’s are, dead.” * The soldiers know the consequences of what is going to happen when they are on the train “grimly gay,” but the soldiers put on their war faces and hide the fear that lurks within them, so perhaps the fear will not show be evident to their loved ones waiting with them at the train station.
Grimly gay is also an oxymoron. An alternative interpretation of this is that the soldiers do not want to think about what will happen to them; or they do not want to believe that they are afraid (proven on the first line “Sang”) Gritting their teeth to Put on a show to appear cheery, Grimly gay= alliteration * The rhyme scheme spreads over the stanza breaks so that each 3 and 2 line stanzas form a 5 line rhyme scheme. * “They were not ours” shows a lack of connection between the people of the town and the soldiers. * “Wrongs hushed up”, the truth is being hidden from the soldiers and the whole country. * In “The Send-Off”, Owen conveys his feelings about the war and the young soldiers going off to die. You can tell he has a very pessimistic attitude to the likelihood of the soldiers surviving. You can see this from his frequent references to death, for example “Their breasts were stuck all stuck with wreath and spray.” which could refer to how the dead are garlanded with wreaths of flowers before their burial.
Anthem for Doomed Youth:
* Uses enjambment( when the line doesn’t finish at the end of the line and goes onto the next) * The rhetorical questions engage the reader in the poem reflecting the change of mood in the author (from anger and aggression to being calm) * Owen also uses negative adjectives – descriptive phrases like “shrill, demented choirs” (juxtaposition). Choirs are normally beautiful – singing – but here, the falling bombs are the choir, and they are ‘demented’. The falling shells are the closest the soldiers hear to singing, and this is the backdrop to their day. * The rhyme scheme for the poem is ABAB CDCD EFFE GG
* PERSONIFICATION- “Monstrous anger of the guns”, showing how big and scary the battlefield was, “Stuttering Rifles” showing hesitation or onomatopoeia (de-de-de-de-de) sound of the gun, “The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells”, demented means possessed by the devil, which creates a direct link to hell (the battlefield was hell on earth). The shells are “wailing” linking to pain (Owen thinks that war is futile) not needed. * Similes and metaphors – “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?” – SIMILE this makes us think that the soldiers die as worthless as slabs of meat – like animals. It could connote that the soldiers are herded together in the trenches, like cows in a slaughterhouse. It could also mean that the soldiers are no longer thought of once they are dead.
“The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall” – METAPHOR the soldiers don’t get a funeral; they do not have a ‘pall’, or coffin-lining, as they don’t have a coffin. Instead, the only indication that they are dead at all is the pale face of their mother, sister, daughter or girlfriend. Therefore, the pale face becomes the significant item here, as there is no material item. * “Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds” – METAPHOR This is very much like the example above, only this time the flowers (which the soldiers don’t get due to no funeral) are the memories that the families have. Instead of the material (flowers), the remembrance is shown in an abstract fashion – their minds. * “Each slow dusk a drawing down of blinds” – METAPHOR
Normally a mark of respect for the dead; but in this case, it is a mark of ignorance (the people of the village do not want to be involved with what is going on so they shut down their blinds because they don’t care). Another interpretation could be that the pulling down of the blinds is to once again show darkness. Alternatively, the pulling down of the blinds could be to shut out all of your feelings, emotions, and memories of the people that have died. * Alliteration- “Sad Shires”, “Rapid Rifles Rattle” * Religious imagery- “prayers”, “bells”, “choirs”, “holy”, “pall”- linking to existentialism, the belief that God puts you on borrowed time on earth. God decides when you are born, god decides when you die. (The send off uses this too) “They were not ours”. * By using the word anthem, he calls to mind the glory and honour of a national anthem, however; he goes on to explain that there is no honour or glory in death. * Religion is powerless against the destructive force of war, the religious words are used with “mockeries”. * “Candles”- could mean church candles to suggest hope but also could be the candles that lie next to coffins * Owen juxtaposes images of war and church in order to emphasize the solemnity of the death these boys will face.
Comparison Between the two:
* In the 3 line stanzas, Owen draws our attention to what he sees at first, then what he notices and finally what he predicts as their future (as though he is telling a story-narrative). In the two line stanzas, he makes a darker inference, almost creating a shadow to what he has said, emphasising the doom awaiting the soldiers (his internal thoughts about what are happening- underlying meaning) whereas in “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, the first verse of the Sonnet is angry and aggressive and full of onomatopoeia (“rapid rattle” “wailing” “stuttering”) which follows the same theme as the send off, but in the second verse however, it is much calmer, and takes us back to the homes of the soldiers, and to the families, who are mourning their dead , an example of this is when Owen says, “what candles may be held to speed them all?” Other positive vocabulary in this stanza includes: “holy glimmers” “shine” “tenderness” which all show optimism. Finally, this part of the poem shows the juxtaposition between the battlefield and the “shires” the soldiers left behind. * In the send off, there is only one significant use of religious imagery whereas in anthem for doomed youth, there are multiple accounts of religious imagery.