I need a thesis statement for an argumentative essay on the poem "Musée des Beaux Arts." I want to talk about suffering and the thought of not caring as it relates to the painting, but I just...

I need a thesis statement for an argumentative essay on the poem "Musée des Beaux Arts." I want to talk about suffering and the thought of not caring as it relates to the painting, but I just can't put together a clear enough thesis statement. Here is the question on my handout from class:

"Is Auden's point about the 'human position' of suffering supported by what the painting illustrates?"

Expert Answers
thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Auden wrote the poem "Musée des Beaux Arts" in 1938, after Hitler's rise to power in Germany and annexation of Austria. Hitler's campaign against Jews, homosexuals, and the Romani people may have been personally worrisome to Auden, who was himself gay.

Although the poem does not overtly talk about Hitler, there is a parallel theme in that, just as in the painting people go about their daily lives ignoring both momentous events and great suffering, so too were people in Europe and Britain ignoring the threat of Hitler. This theme is exemplified by the way the farmer is turned away from Icarus and focused on plowing. Auden describes the scene in Brueghel as follows:

... the ploughman may

Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,

But for him it was not an important failure;

Thus for a thesis, you could state, "Just as the farmer in the painting is so focused on his plowing that he does not pay attention to Icarus, so too were people in Europe so focused on their daily lives that they ignored the rise of Hitler."

chrisgiraldo90 | Student

Thanks you really helped.

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Musée des Beaux Arts

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