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Comparing poems - 'Exposure' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'

Both these poems are similar but also different in many ways. Although they both explain about the hardships of war, they do it in different contexts.

‘Exposure’ is about how the weather in a war situation can be like an enemy, with its sly winds and harsh ice which kills like the enemy ,the weather is as cold and bitter as war, acting like ‘…merciless iced east winds’. While ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ is more of a warning poem, showing how war really is behind all the propaganda and how war is not how it seems and how each life is worth less than the first, most soldier’s seem to ‘…die as cattle’.

Both poems also have different tones when compared. The tone and mood of ‘Exposure’ is very sombre, and dull almost melancholic due to the weariness of the soldier’s, how they stand defeated by Mother Nature. For example in the poem Owen uses the phrase ‘but nothing happens’ 4 times, showing the mood to be dull and weary.

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While the tone of ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ is very bitter and scornful, as it is about how underappreciated the soldiers are, and I think it reflects how he feels about war, and his warning for the future generation. The tone is showed, on lines 4-5 were it is written, ‘Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, -The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;’ especially on line 5, as it is almost sinister, and has a very scornful as he describes choirs which are normally very beautiful in sound, and he turns them into the sound of wailing shells fresh out if the guns, which is not a very nice comparison.

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However different, the poems are also quite similar, both poems use personification a lot. In ‘Exposure’ the poem personifies the weather in different ways, it explains how the ‘…winds knive us [them]’ and how pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling’, showing how the weather is as harsh as a gun bullet, it even says in the poem on lines 16-17, that the cold id more deathly than the bullets. Showing just how bad the weather conditions were during the war. In ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ there is also use of personification for example ‘ the monstrous anger of the guns’ showing how fast and deadly the guns are, as well as how horribly loud they have become and how lots of lives are being taken by these ‘angry guns’.

Another similarity would be that they also are similar in the fact that the message of both poems is that war result’s in death. For example in ‘Exposure’ though the poem talks about the effects the weather has at war, it also talks about how so many soldiers die and are forgotten like online 30 ‘we turn our backs to our dying’ showing the solider’s survival of the fittest ideal. ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’ also has a similar theme with the opening line ending of ‘die as cattle’ meaing that the solider’s die like animals are slaughterd for their meat. But these solider’s die for no reason, as cattle they are seemed worthless underneath the ordinary person, as their lives are taken so recklessly with no funeral or any type of remembrance, like cattle.

To conclude, when comparing the two poems: ‘Exposure’ and ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. Both poems were had differences in subjects, but also corresponded through themes. Through comparing the poems I have found there are more similarities than differences. Making the poems more similar to each other, in my opinion, due to the fact they have themes on war and death.

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Comparing poems - 'Exposure' and 'Anthem for Doomed Youth'. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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