Write a letter to Sassoon or Owen telling them that their vision, their ideas are still sorely needed in the world today.
Dear Wilfred Owen,
I strongly believe that your works are very powerful in meaning and that they are still needed now in the 21st century as wars continue to plague our world. Not so much a physical war but more so political wars between countries regarding materialistic ideologies. One of your works stood out to me in particular, this being “Anthem for Doomed Youth”. This work reflects the concept of war and is the effects of war truly what a nation wants.
Firstly, the poem “Anthem for Doomed Youth” produces an image of a battlefield where the concept of Nationalism and religion is brought up. With the line “No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells” indicates that regardless of someone’s religious beliefs and their love of country, these men were forced to fight in the war and that they will inevitably die for their government’s cause. This is why I feel that your poem is still needed in today’s society as countries Iraq use men to fight their own political wars, forcing their men to fight for a cause that they may not believe in. Now, I’m not too sure if this is what you were aiming for in your poem but this is the way that I have interpreted it.
Almost with your word choice of cattle being a metaphor for boys being taken to be slaughtered reminded me of the Charlie Chaplin’s 1940 film, The Great Dictator. Where Chaplin delivers one of the most recognizable speech that is still referenced today. The fifth paragraph of this speech too discusses the notion of men be destined to die in war.
“Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men!” Chaplin.
As well as this, you both use the sound and imagery of machinery to create an uneasy atmosphere. In my opinion, the machines in your work can also relate back to those in power, symbolizes that individuals in war are more a number than a person with an identity. The imagery of machine men and mind minds from Chaplin’s speech creates this idea of that governments have become more so a business rather than a group of leaders caring for their own society. As governments have become desensitized because they would rather sacrifice the lives of people than come to a conclusion that allow both parties to gain something. I’m not sure that your work does portray this but I believe that you do show that those in power have become cold-hearted. I feel that this is still extremely important in the present day as regardless of both works referencing this in war; as society needs to start recognizing individuals for who they are rather than judging them off age, gender and race.
The last line of your poem “And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds” has confused me. I am not sure if to how to view it. It can be interpreted as either the end of the day, the end of the day or as the end of a soldier’s life. Also with the word chose of “blinds” reminds me of the end of the show, so I am not confident in how I should I view it.
Transcript of the Great Dictator Speech http://www.charliechaplin.com/en/synopsis/articles/29-The-Great-Dictator-s-Speech