audens poems , aqa LITB2

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: hafza
  • Created on: 13-02-13 17:41

First 370 words of the document:

As I Walked One Evening
Love, the effect on love caused by time, and most importantly the
inevitability of death could all be said to be the theme of this poem. The
latter of the three seem to be the obvious choice however, based on the
negative outlook on life displayed by Auden in the second portion of the
poem. In every aspect of life, we are continuously reminded of our
mortality, watching our surroundings grow older, our habits and hobbies
become obsolete and witnessing the death of friends and family, a death
often accompanied by complications.
This poem which is told from a 1st person pointofview makes use of
many poetic devices. The most obvious is imagery. Auden uses lines
like "The crowds upon the pavement were fields of harvest wheat" to
create the setting of the poem. His use of personification is what
makes the element of time an intriguing figure. The poem has an
"abcb" rhyme scheme in every stanza which flows with the meter of
the poem. There are a few acts of alliteration throughout and he uses
repetition at key points during the poem.
W.H. Auden's, As I Walked Out One Evening speaks to nature of time as it
relates to the human condition. The poem consists of three separate
speakers: the lovers, the clocks and the narrator. Each speaker represents
a different measure and attitude towards time. The lover's song paints
time to be conquerable and ignorable ­ no more than a passing annoyance
that they are outside of. The soliloquy of the clocks demonstrates time as
a product of society, there to keep its subjects in line, and ultimately a
ruling force. Finally, the narrator speaks of love as being outside of both of
these things. Time is a constant flow than brings change and opportunity,
and any claim to deny or control it is an illusion.

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

The song of the lover demonstrates romantic idealism. The lover insists
that their love exists outside of time, or rather in defiance of it:
I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street. (9-12)
This song declares the somewhat common and highly romanticized notion
that "love conquers all." It is a force unaffected by and stronger than the
traditional rules of the world like time or physical laws.…read more

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Here's a taster:

The clocks seem to speak for time, but in fact they represent the human
marking of time. Time exists as a continuum, but clocks take the concept
of time and force a structure on it. In this way, the clocks speak for time
far less than they speak for society's rules and conventions.The formatting
of the poem reinforces this notion.…read more

Page 4

Preview of page 4

Here's a taster:

U.S. citizenship in 1946. There he met a fellow poet,
Chester Kallman. Kallman became his companion, and, for all intents and
purposes, their relationship was more of a marriage than his relationship
with Erika Mann ever would be ("Historic Figures: WH Auden").
It would not be unreasonable to infer that Auden struggled with aligning
the public persona, where he was married to Mann and a close friend and
confidant with Kallman, with the reality which was the opposite.…read more

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Here's a taster:

These people will pass, leaving no evidence of their ever having been, but
the river remains the same as ever, just as time will run constantly well
before and after we are around to see it. But the river is "brimming" and
"deep," so rather than being nihilistic, it is hopeful.
The three speakers of the poem offer a complex look at the nature and
perception of time.…read more

Page 6

Preview of page 6

Here's a taster:

Midtown bar. Auden pictures himself in the dive when the first day of
World War II was ending in Europe, which is 6-8 hours ahead of New York.
I mention the time lag because he views that infamous day in global
perspective: "Waves of anger and fear/ Circulate over the bright / And
darkened lands of the earth." As he sits at the bar, Poland is literally dark
because night has fallen there; it is also figuratively blackened by the
Nazis' assault.…read more

Page 7

Preview of page 7

Here's a taster:

And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave ...
Thucydides was unjustly exiled from democratic Athens for a military
failure, at which he point he wrote his great history of the Peloponnesian
War that contains Pericles' paean to democracy (the strongest
pro-democratic statement of ancient times). Thucydides probably presents
Pericles' speech ironically. He implies that it is propaganda; in fact,
self-interest explains all politics. Thucydides, Auden thinks, "analyzed all
in his book ...…read more

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Here's a taster:

Each human beings wants the benefits of romance (sex, and the exclusive
concern of another person) without the ethical requirements of loving
back and loving everyone.
Stanza 7 depicts "dense commuters" coming out of the "conservative
dark" (the bedroom? the subway?) into the "ethical life" of public
behavior and speech, exhorting themselves to be better husbands and
workers.…read more

Page 9

Preview of page 9

Here's a taster:

Sept. 11, 2001, they demonstrated that Auden had come
close to sloganeering.
That is the critique­one that Auden himself made very strongly in later
years. But here is the defense: Auden wrote, "We must love one another
or die" not because it expressed the most accurate moral or social theory.
He said it because he wanted to grab the stranger who read his verse and
communicate a disinterested, ethical love as the world was engulfed by
hatred.…read more

Page 10

Preview of page 10

Here's a taster:

poem "Victor" (about a religious murderer) was originally
to be sung to the tune of "Frankie and Johnny",…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »See all resources »