james honeman intro
•james honeyman by wh auden is a story of a young man who grows up to reveal the wolrds most feared gas. in which the dark irony of the poem also punishes honeyman for his transgression through making him value what is love rather taan what he believed his love to be ie science. through out the poem the lyrical ''i seek for a new toxic gas'' takes all of honeymans time. time is a crucial tool in audens poem as seen in the other poems in this selction such as as i walked out evening and musee de beax arts. auden also changes the character of honeymans point of view at the end when he relaises his agnorisis. this can be seen in the last stanzas. the denouement in which the process of resentment takes place. ''o hide me in the mountains o drown me in the sea'' the repition of ''o'' presents the reader with a poetic justice in which auden serves a didactic purpose in educating us virtue is rewarded and vice is punished. this could also be presented as an allegory in which the reader is warned of the conscequences of overeeaching their state of power much like the renaisance man. the alliteration of o symbolises the close proximity of victors death.
•auden tells the poem with a bildungsroman style narrative, the narrative perspective is taught form a third person omniscient narrator as they tend to address the eponymous hero as ''victor''. and not i the narrator also speaks in the third person the narrator is detatched and seeems to be specator/recorder of events in which auden makes ithe description through the use of language more ominous and fearfull.the narrator uses many aspects of poetic terminology through the poem such as , pathetic fallacy in order to provide the portrayal of honeymans mood. ''the day was wet'' this foreshadows the sad elemnt of the poem in which honeyman wants to repent: ''o drown me in the sea''. •ther are other uses of narrators such as the people in the tragic heroes life who play the importance of foreshadowing the dark ironic death of honeyman :teacher said 'he doesnt play with others'. •there is also another perspective from james honeyman as we discover the fatal fall of the tragic hero whilst discovering the use of hubris: ''ill be famous before i die''.
form and structure
•Auden presents the form of this poem as simple it is stanzaic and is constructed of 39 stanzas. a long poem to symbolise the long struggle of james honeyman our anti hero. auden makes the poem also consist of rhyme and rythym, the ryhthym follows the imabic pentameter with alternately 3 or 4 iambs. auden also creates the rhyme of an ABCB structure in which it is considered as flowing like a nursery rhme mocking the great intellect of honeyman our protagonist. auden uses these technicalities to use the ballad along with the form of enjambment. in which auden portays the omniscient narrator as an effective story teller.
setting and time
•time is used most significantly by auden as to provide a proleptic approach to the dnouement of Honeyman. this can be seen through the use of bildungsroman which is also analeptic as it looks at the past influences of science. ''mother...saw him striking matches on the nursery floor'', the unusual setting of the nursery where a child is supposed to grow is usurped and used to show that the any one could be agreta evil to the world. this echoes that of 1st september 1939, as controversially he wants to explore ''what happened at linz'' hitlers birth place. this theme of isolation is portrayed through out the poem as we find ''he doesnt play with others'', this could also act as an allegorical message to convey his eternal isolation. the time in which the poem was written is also important as auden sets it in the year 1937, a clear build up to the war . the talk of the 'toxic gasses', makes auden seem prophetic in his speech as he works on the psychological mind of the person who worked on the nuclear gasses.
•the irony of the use of ''Imperial Alkali'' not areal company, but auden sugeests ther is ambiguity in the language for example : ''imperial'' may refer to the british empire, yet the irony is that the gas is accepted and brought to prominanace by a ''foreign power''this may also be alink to the alliance sysytem used during the war. •also the use of the setting very much fits in with the personality of honeyman. auden uses the ''great west road'' that fits in with the science them of the poem as it was known once for its rich industrial business also a use to suggest that science will never leave honeyman. •ther is also irony in the diction used by auden, it is easygoing and when used with the rythm clash with its profound content. the clashing fits in with the use of verbal irony. auden allows the reader to be aware of the dangers before the prtagonist honeyman. •auden scatters the poem with clues of the horrible ending, for example he only meets with his wife through an injury a foreshadowment of her ending. this is also the case of the son which appears to be superstitious but the son is merely an aacknowledgement :he hellped to push the pram... kissed his sleeping son''. •there is also an ironic punch orm the neighbours who although intend to be light heratened forshadow the death of those victims by N.P.C :''hes going to blow us up''.