The sentiment that Owen uses juxtapositions between certain elements and/or entities is certainly very true. The juxtapositions – defined as the act of placing two things together, especially for comparison – in Owen’s poem occur between images that are musical and the war images that Owen means for them. The first two lines of the poem read “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?/– Only the monstrous anger of the guns.” “Passing-bells,” the bells that ring for a funeral, are juxtaposed to the “anger of the guns.” Owen is mourning the loss of the young soldiers in this poem. The first line represents his feeling that there should be funeral bells for those soldiers who die in battle, “as cattle;” the second line brings the reader back to the realization that the solider can’t have the sound of bells that otherwise are a sign of respect for his death. Instead, the soldier receives “the anger of the guns,” or the loud, merciless sound of guns from both his enemies and fellow soldiers as his final “passing-bells.” In using this particular juxtaposition, the reader gets a sense of what Owen feels the soldiers deserve and should have, just to be taken aback by the immediate description of their last right as human beings being the sound of gunfire instead of the proper burial they deserve.
These musical juxtapositions, to me, occur in a few places in the poem; does anyone feel the same in a different place?