Words and vocabulary:
Cattle: I believe the word cattle was chosen by the author to represent the millions of soldiers who died in the war as it shows how many were lost and how they were treated by their nations. The word “cattle” conveys a sense of mindlessness and sheep like behavior which is reflected in the soldiers as they are sent out to die, also referring to the soldiers as “cattle” suggests that their nation does not care about them and that they have no say on the matter. Like killing cows for food they are simply sacrificing themselves for the greater good.
Glimmers: The word “glimmer” can be associated with “fading” or something that has little left which describes the peoples hope and remembrance towards the war and all the dead boys. It shows that their hope is glimmering and vanishing and that they are forgetting the ones they lost to the war, and that now all these deaths has simply become a statistic. The word “glimmer” also shows there is still hope and that they may still be able to mourn their loved ones.
Drawing-down of blinds: The action of Drawing down of blinds during wartime is a sign of respect and recognition towards someone who has died. However i believe the words also convey the feeling that people will simply forget and carry on with their lives after the tragic death of a young man, and will turn a blind eye towards the thousands of premature deaths that are occurring which again compares soldiers to “cattle”. I believe the “drawing-down of blinds” is similar to the phrase “pulling wool over your eyes” and it shows the ignorance and acceptance of the idea that young men should be sent to die in the hellhole of war.
Personification: “demented choirs of wailing shells” this example of personification gives the reader a sense of hopelessness and shows that the young soldiers who died are not mourned by their families and friends and are lost amid the battlefield, their loved ones never knowing what happened to them. It also shows the cruelty and evil of the bombing by conveying the shells as “demented” and “wailing” people.
Rhetorical question: “What passing-bells for those who die as cattle?” The author uses Rhetorical questions in this text to show how little the soldiers are mourned by comparing them to cattle and lets the question sink into the readers mind so as it has a prolonged effect after the poem is read. “Passing bells” are bells that ring to mourn someones death, however in this text the author writes “what passing bells” which indicates that there was no Mourning or possibly no time for mourning the dead soldiers who were dying in their thousands each day.
Emotive language: in the first paragraph of the poem the author uses emotive language to describe the guns on the battlefield with words such as “monstrous” and “anger” which shows the reader the brutality of the weapons used and how destructive and evil they are. The emotive language uses the word “monstrous” to make the guns seem all powerful and indestructible which gives the reader the feeling that the author has little hope for victory or time for mourning as the guns or war have all but destroyed it.
Contrasting words and images:
In this text the author used contrasting words and images to convey a certain feel to the reader. For example in the first paragraph Owen writes; “No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells”. This sentence combines the positive “prayers” and the negative “mockeries” to create a sense that the society is not perfect and the dead soldiers may be shamed after death or prayed for and mourned, but instead they are lost and forgotten due to the confusion of war. Another example of contrast is seen in the previous sentence where the author writes; “patter out their hasty orisons” which contains a positive feeling word “orisons” (meaning prayer) and a somewhat negative word in this context; “hasty”. Usually prayers are not hasty but calm and slow and when the word is used it seems like the people praying were panicked and distracted, which gives a feeling of betrayal towards the soldiers.