“A METEOR FROM the universe of Wystan Hugh Auden flashed into the atmosphere of American culture in 1994 when "Funeral Blues," a poem written in 1936, was recited in a eulogy scene in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral.” (Johnson) Many people have wondered what it is like to lose someone they love; if one does not know the feeling they are very fortunate. Some people think that without that certain someone, their life will cease to exist. In W. H. Auden’s poem “Funeral Blues,” a woman loses her lover and cannot even imagine how she is going to get on with her life; she puts her deceased companion on a God-like pedestal; and she loves him so much that she believes that he is her whole world.
In “Funeral Blues,” Auden makes the bitter attitude of the speaker toward the subject of death apparent to the readers through the use of symbols, imagery, and metaphor. In the first verse, the speaker states “stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone…” (Auden Line 1). The clock being stopped may signify the fact the man who died has run out of time, or possibly to ask those who knew him to stop what they are doing and grieve. With the idea of the telephone being cut off, she wants to show the deceased the respect he deserves by honoring him with a moment of silence. In the second verse the speaker states, “let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead” (Auden 5). She uses this metaphor to reveal the pointlessness of her life. What is the point of planes flying in circles? They do not get anywhere flying in a circle. She is comparing the pointlessness of flying in circles to her life without her partner.
The persona in the poem talks about her deceased partner as if he is on a God-like pedestal. The reader realizes just how important the deceased is to the speaker when reading the phrase “…He is Dead”. (Auden 6). The use of the capital letters displays the incredibly close relationship between the two lovers. She talks about the aeroplanes...
Cited: Auden, W. H. "Funeral Blues." Literature and the Writing Process. 9th Ed. McMahan, Elizabeth, et al. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2011. 614. Print.
Johnson, Jeffrey. Christian Century 4 September 2007: 47-48. Academic Search Premier. Web. 26 February 2013.
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