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FUNERAL BLUES BY W.H.

AUDEN ANALYSIS During Audens lifetime, Auden witnessed both World Wars and the deaths of many important people. Auden found himself writing many elegies and capturing the impact these figures had on the public and their century. Here, in Funeral Blues, Auden, through the voice of the speaker, seems to be writing an elegy for someone who meant a great deal to him personally. One can gather that speaker loved this person dearly. Auden is explaining that love does not always last. This poem incorporates a series of metaphors, personification, imagery and assonance to describe the writers feeling about losing his loved one. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come In the first stanza the speaker uses some of clocks, oceans and piano to indicate the importance of his love. With the death of this person in the speakers world, time has stopped To show the end of happiness and the start of mourning, the writer includes the silencing of the pianos and then low thudding drums used at funeral to describe the sadness that he feels now the relationship is over. He includes the metaphor coffin to either represent his own emotional death he feels now that he has lost something so valuable to him. The stanza presents the theme of death, which is relevant throughout the poem. The speaker processes his dread through commanding verbs such as stop and prevent that show the readers, the speakers brute authority Although Auden wants this world to come to a halt, the death must be announced, as the next stanza details: Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message: He is Dead. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves This stanza is about opening up this private grief for a public mourning. The stanza insists that everyone should share in this persons loss because not only has the speaker lost someone very special, essentially, so has the world. To symbolise the pain the writer uses the techniques of personification describe an aeroplane moaning. The personification suggests that the inanimate act and share the dread of the speaker. This line explores the lack of enthusiasm he feels now by using the word scribbling. The fact the aeroplanes circle could refer to the circle of the life. The fact that the message has been written on the sky shows the scale of the writers grief now the relationship has ended. To show the Godlike significance his partner was in his life, he uses He with a capital; there is also emphasis on the three heavy monosyllables that creates a depressed feel to the end of the line. The writer then expresses that all peace has now gone and is blemished and weighed down with death by referring to

Crpe bows around the white necks of the public doves. Auden continues to describe the insignificance of the rest of the world as he tries to avoid his life. There is an interesting imagery of light vs. dark. Often the dark imagery is used to suffocate the light. For example the white gloves on the policeman are replaced by the dark gloves. Anything relating to the past in this poem is considered as past whereas the present or the future is considers as dark. But then Auden seems to bring the loss back, emphasizing the loss of the speaker. The funeral messages get smaller, to the fine detail of the colour of the policemens gloves. The black gloves are yet, another symbols of death. Auden ten turns the poem, explaining the persons worth and value. The third stanza states: He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong With nine uses of my in three lines, the speaker takes possession of his subject. These markings are most often found on a compass, which gives direction. Having lost his map (lover) Auden's life loses direction also: he is lost without his partner. This brings about the theme of meaning of life as, the speakers through the stanza, shows a loss of the purpose of his existence. It also brings about the theme of love as the speaker loses his sense of direction with the loss of his loved one. The tone of the last line of the stanza is sarcastic to shows that the mistake that the speaker makes, when he realises that love cannot be eternal and infinite. With everything gone in the speakers world, he is very much ready to give up everything that he has. The last stanza states that The stars are not wanted now: put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good. The drastic actions suggested in this stanza signify on a larger scale what has happened in the speakers life. His first line shows how items of beauty are no longer necessary, it also demonstrates Audens vile mood. His second and third lines to the final stanza further illustrate the way nothing has any importance or significance to his life anymore; he uses metaphors of life-giving things being pushed away like litter. Dismantling the sun would be to remove the cycle of day and night and hence, go into a complete oblivion. This brings about the theme of order and disorder as the speaker feels a sense of disorder, due to losing his loved one resulting in his depressed attitude. The poem is hyperbolic, overdone and posturing. The poets exaggerations appear in the form of the poem as well as in its content. The ten-syllable line, that occurs is Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone .But many of the other lines extend to eleven or even twelve syllables, such as in Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves. These

extra syllables may represent the excess of feeling which cannot be expressed within the sentences, the speakers emotions spill out beyond ten syllables, requiring extra words to accommodate them. These longer lines may also symbolize how the speaker feels as his loss seems to go beyond his private life and into the public world. The poem uses the traditional pattern of rhythm i.e. AB, AB to further enhance its imagery.

In conclusion Funeral Blues could be considered as a true love with its usage of modernist techniques. The poem presents many themes about life and its creation .The magic of Auden, however, is that he is able to invoke his readers emotions and have them share and grieve for the loss of someone who is never even named. This is achieved with the usage of assonance, personification, metaphor, imagery, rhythm scheme and the poetic form.