W.H Auden Themes

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What are the dominant themes in Auden’s works? Discuss his poetry with reference to three poems. Without question Auden’s poetry moulds into a variety of forms and takes a stance on subjects that often affect our judgement on topics and issues that directly influence us or are merely ignored. His reasoning mainly centered on moral issues and showed strong political, social and psychological orientations. This assertion is clearly expressed through ‘September 1, 1939’, ‘Refugee Blues’ and ‘The Lesson’. Auden’s early poetry, influenced by his interest in the Anglo-Saxon language as well as in psychoanalysis, was sometimes riddle-like and clinical. Auden was clearly intrigued in discovering how the mind works and the impact it has on society as a whole. ‘The Lesson’ examines the prejudice, unacceptance and isolation that an individual may face when differing from normal social boundaries. Taking into account Auden’s homosexuality it is acceptable to to perceive the poem as a portrayal of Auden’s previous exclusion from social norms. This theory is supported by various statements that are produced through the language and imagery in the poem. Auden plays with double meanings “We were in flight, and fagged with running”, in the modern sense of the word “fag” can also mean homosexual in an derogatory and informal manner. Throughout the description of the three dreams incorporated in the poem, Auden is careful never to reveal the gender of neither the speaker or his partner. Although this interpretation is predominatly subjective, the whole poem is a depicition of a relationship that is looked down upon. The second part of the poem embeds nature as a major theme, all four elements are described. This reflects how necessary the speaker’s partner is to him, the partner is a necessity for survival and makes up the properties of the elementary world. The last part of the poem breaks the fantasy of the couple to be accepted by other and infroms the reader of the...
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