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Assess the strength of "Funeral Blues" by W.H.Auden.

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portiahealyoc... | eNoter

Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:47 AM via web

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Assess the strength of "Funeral Blues" by W.H.Auden.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM (Answer #1)

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There is a profound emptiness that death leaves behind for the survivors.  Auden brings this out beautifully in "Funeral Blues."  I tend to think that this is the strength of the poem.  Death can be seen as a portal for those who pass on.  Yet, for those who are left behind, there is an emptiness that is a part of death's legacy.  When Auden writes about the sense of loss and stunning stoppage that comes about with death, the poem captures a sense of despair that speaks volumes, as seen in the last stanza:

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

The immeasurable sense of loss and cavernous despair that comes about with death is where the poem is at its strongest.  I also think that the very idea that people in love base their life around another, to an extent that that other goes, there is little else in terms of direction and focus evident.  The idea of a sense of direction lost with the revelations of how the deceased was all directions conveys this.  At the same time, there is a social element to death's preparation that is a part of the mourning process, but seems to fade to the personal loss that is a part of what death involves.  Auden's poem brings this out to an intense degree, and is where its strength lies.

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