Anthem for Doomed Youth Questions and Answers
by Wilfred Owen

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Why does Owen use rhetorical questions to open each stanza in his poem, "Anthem for Doomed Youth"?

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When people ask a rhetorical question, it is often because the question has an implied answer. When the speaker asks, "What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?" the implied answer is none. The question itself is jarring, comparing the soldiers who die to cattle, perhaps because of the sheer numbers of those who die, or perhaps because they die without fanfare—without even being noticed. When the speaker asks, "What candles may be held to speed them all?" the implied answer, again, is none. There are no funeral masses or proper good-byes for these soldiers who "die as cattle" because their bodies may not even be recovered or sent home....

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