What Technique Does Auden Use to Tell the Story in ‘1 September 1939’?

Topics: Want, World War II, W. H. Auden Pages: 2 (829 words) Published: March 8, 2013
What technique does Auden use to tell the story in ‘1 September 1939’? Auden’s poem, 1st September 1939 – influenced by W.B Yeats’ poem, ‘Easter 1916’ – is giving the reader an insight to how corrupted society is and how most of the public do not dig deep enough for the truth. The title itself echoes a diary date which implies that Auden is narrating the poem from his own point of view. The date of when the poem was written is a vital point in history, not just for one nation but for every nation that was even slightly involved. The first stanza is written about the present day and takes place in an American bar which would lead to reader to think that maybe Auden is out socialising and enjoying himself. However, it begins to develop quite a solemn and negative tone as he describes the time before the war as being “Of a low dishonest decade.” This creates strong imagery for the reader and could be implying that the betrayal and deceit of people that are in power has built up to this world war. Another use of imagery is when Auden mentions the “Faces along the bar cling to their average day.” This demonstrates how desperate society is to just carry on with their repetitive, dull lives without any complications. It also shows the reader how people went into denial about the war because they were scared of how it would affect them. Auden also uses factual aspects in the poem that give it a deeper meaning “Find out what occurred at Linz. What Huge imago made a psychopathic god.” This is Auden’s way of making the reader research into the poem and to find out for themselves the truth of what he is talking about. Coincidently, this is what he wants the public to do when they hear what is being ordered by the people in charge; instead of just doing what they are told, they should dig deeper for the truth. In this stanza, Auden is referring to how something must have happened to make Hitler, “A psychopathic god”, so powerful and make him a dictator rather than a leader...
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