Musee Des Beaux Arts

Analyzing W. H. Auden’s Poem Musee Des Beaux

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Although suffering is not very severe in modern America, it is an eminent presence in most other places. W.H. Auden’s poem, “Musée des Beaux Arts,” acknowledges the suffering in the world and demonstrates what people do in order to avoid the suffering. The speaker makes several references to both modern life and historical examples. Although the esoteric meaning of the poem is difficult to decipher, the poem’s underlying message is that it is human nature to avoid things that are unpleasant, and humans find various ways to avoid and diminish suffering instead of facing it directly.

The speaker sufficiently proves that humans try to avoid suffering. In the first two lines of the poem, he immediately references the “Old Masters,” or the Renaissance painters, and how they fully understood suffering and portrayed suffering in their artworks: “The Old Masters: how well, they understood/ Its human position; how it takes place” (2). When the speaker says, “Its human position,” he means that the Renaissance painters knew how suffering impacted people; when the speaker says, “how it takes place,” he expresses that the Renaissance painters also knew the reasons for why suffering occurred. The speaker also alludes to Pieter Breughel’s painting, The Fall of Icarus. Breughel was a Renaissance painter, and The Fall of Icarus is one of Breughel’s paintings that depicts the suffering of humans: “In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away/ Quite leisurely from the disaster…” (16). In The Fall of Icarus, Breughel depicts the scene referencing the Greek myth of Daedalus’s escape from the island of Crete with his son, Icarus, on wings made of wax and bird feathers. In the myth, Icarus foolishly flies too close to the sun, and the wax melts. In the painting, Icarus falls from the sky and into the water below; however the surrounding people choose to ignore his suffering and instead continue with their routines. The nearby ploughman definitely heard the splash or cry of Icarus as he plunged into the water, “But for him it was not an important failure” (18). The ploughman ignores Icarus because the ploughman wants to distance himself from the suffering rather than face it, even if that suffering is someone else’s. Breughel’s painting also shows a ship that is close to Icarus, but the crew members of the ship choose to ignore Icarus because they “Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on” (22). Like the ploughman, the crew members of the ship choose to ignore Icarus because they too want to evade the suffering. In The Fall of Icarus, the main focus of the artwork is Icarus, but he is not even fully shown: Breughel only painted Icarus’s legs disappearing into the water. He only paints Icarus’s legs to portray a message similar to the poem’s message: people try to diminish suffering. By painting Icarus as small, Breughel shows that humans would rather downsize suffering than face it.

The speaker not only references a historical example, but also uses modern examples, metaphors, and other poetic devices to portray the human race as intent on ignoring suffering. For example, the speaker says, “While someone else is eating or opening a window or just/walking dully along” (4). The speaker means that suffering takes place all the time, but humans who are not directly affected by the suffering stay ignorant although suffering takes place around them. The speaker also gives the example of a child who does not want a sibling: “…there always must be/ Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating/ On a pond at the edge of the wood” (7). When the speaker says “On a pond at the edge of the wood,” he expresses that the child wants to stay as far away as possible from the suffering, or the birth of the sibling. The speaker also compares humans to dogs and a torturer’s horse: “Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s/ horse/ Scratches its innocent behind on a tree” (13). This metaphor compares humans to dogs, and dogs do not bother with pain and suffering. Instead, humans, just like dogs, go about playing and do not acknowledge the suffering of people around them. When the speaker compares humans to a torturer’s horse, he means that humans ignore suffering, and because they choose to let it happen instead of preventing it, they are partially responsible for the suffering. Although the horse takes the torturer to his victim and is not directly responsible for the suffering, the horse still enables the suffering to occur by not acting, just as humans allow suffering to take place and not do anything about it. The speaker also compares humans to a torturer’s horse when he says, “Scratches its innocent behind on a tree,” because humans, just like the torturer’s horse, think that they are innocent because they are not the direct cause of the suffering. The speaker also uses rhyme as a poetic device in order to make suffering appear lighter and less bleak. By diminishing suffering, the speaker demonstrates that even when speaking about suffering, humans avoid acknowledging the harsh reality of suffering, choosing to remain ignorant.

Auden wrote this poem in 1938, a period when he observed the Sino-Japanese War. He most likely bases his poem on the suffering of soldiers in the war while other people choose to ignore the suffering of the soldiers (“While someone else is eating or opening a window or just/ Walking dully along”). However, he then extends this attitude of people towards suffering and applies it to everyday life and how people ignore the suffering that is not only in war but also in their everyday lives. Through his poem, Auden indirectly urges humans to become more caring towards the suffering of others. He advocates that humans should choose to act upon suffering that they see instead of ignoring it because performing such beneficial actions make the world better for everyone. When Auden compares humans to the torturer’s horse, he implies that instead of continuing to ignore the suffering of others and absolving themselves of guilt because they are not the direct cause of the suffering, humans should take action and be the change. Auden addresses the selfish quality of humans, but he does not criticize humans just for the sake of it; instead, while criticizing them, he implies that they should become unselfish and, in the words of Mahatma Ghandi, be the change they wish to see in the world.

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Analyzing of a Beautiful Literature Piece in Katherine’s Short Story Miss Brill and Wh Auden’s Poem Musee Des Beaux Arts

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Both a short story by Katherine Mansfield and a poem by WH Auden present beautiful pieces of literature, filled with fine, captivating descriptions and high sensibility. They both make us look at some things, that we have already seen or observed before in a different way, through the eyes of the authors. Both of the writers transform their perception to the readers in a picturesque, delicate way , leaving no doubt that the perception is in the eye of the beholder we are told.

A short story ” Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield tells the readers about one afternoon from the life of Miss Brill. The readers do not have much information about Miss Brill: it is only known that she is already not young, she gives some English lessons, and that she enjoys observing people. But even before this short information about this lady is provided, the readers are already familiar with the world of Miss Brill’s senses: they already know how she perceives a nice Sunday afternoon, what colors has the sky that she looks at, and the air that Miss Brill breathes smells and tastes : for her it is “…like a chill from a glass of iced water before you sip, and now and again a leaf came drifting”.The readers also know how nice it feels to take an old fur out of box and to touch it again…From the very beginning of the story the author creates a sense of presence; the pictures described are so vivid that the readers receive a feeling of being the eye-witnesses of that Sunday afternoon.

Later on the readers get acquainted with some other people, listening to the band along with Miss Brill. But once again, no actual information is provided about those people, the “acquaintance” occurs through the perception of Miss Brill. Old people, sitting on the bench, couples, little children, a beautiful lady, throwing a bunch of violets away-all those people appear to the readers in a way Miss Brill sees them, her attitude towards them is passed on to the readers, and the readers take the Miss Brill’s perception as their own.The sounds of the Sunday band are described in a very fine and enchanting way as well. The readers experience how Miss Brill’s music perception changes as her emotions change: “for although the band played all the year round onSundays, out of season it was never the same” .Maybe to some other person all the sounds played by the band would seem the same, or they would change in some other way, but the readers perceive it the way Miss Brill feels about it. The feeling that Miss Brill has after hearing the conversation of a young couple is also described with the help of images: the way it is illustrated how Miss Brill refuses from her traditional piece of honey-cake and put her beloved fur back into the box makes the readers see how she was feeling.

The poem “Musee des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden gives the readers the author’s perception of some masterpieces. In a delicate way it is described how important is every detail of those paintings, how much meaning is included in every movement of the brush. The author persuades the readers, that the ancient painters really “understood

its human position”. W.H. Auden has a great gift to see the whole story behind the parts of the paintings, and the readers learn to understand the sense of the details of works of art as well. While reading the poem the readers see (maybe even for the first time, although they may have seen the painting before) that the water, the sun, the sky, and the ship in the masterpiece of Brueghel all are combined in a special, a well-though way, in order to contribute to the general message the painter wanted to express. By looking at this painting W.H. Auden can even hear “splash, the forsaken cry”, and his vision is so convincing, that after reading the poem it is hard to imagine that someone may not hear those sounds…W.H. Auden does not simply tell the readers about the paintings or about their meanings, he makes them see the images so vividly, as if the mentioned paintings were right behind their eyes. Like Katherine Mansfield, W.H. Auden creates in readers a feeling of presence, making them to perceive things through his eyes.

Thus, it is seen that both of the writers have a great talent for creating wonderful bright images without going into many words. They make their pictures talk, they share their senses with readers, and their works leave a pleasant aftertaste, proving that the perception is in the eye of the beholder we are told.

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A Comparative Analysis of Robert Browning’s Poem My Last Duchess and W. H. Auden Musee Des Beaux Arts

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

World Without Love

The Poems My Last Duchess by Robert Browning and Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden describes how people dont care about each other and that world is cruel. In My Last Duchess the guy is talking the messenger from the duchess about how he killed his wife and was happy about it, whereas in Musee des Beaux Arts the kid is dying in water but his father or not even the people in the ship care about him, they just let him drown in the water and lastly the poem The Sick Rose by William Blake has perfect metaphor reflecting the behavior and feeling of a human being by comparing love to an invisible worm, which destroys people lives. This three poem reflects people just dont care about each other and people have lost the meaning of love.

In My Last Duchess the guy is describing to his how he killed his ex-wife and that he was happy about it. He liked a girl and girl was beautiful and young. She liked to flirt around and liked everything in this world. She liked all men and women. She smiles at everyone and like everyone around her. She smiled at the guy too but he is not happy about it because he thinks that she is his woman and she should not look at anyone else except him. Even the guy said to the messenger that, Willt Please you sit and look at her? (Browning 550), which shows she was beautiful and ones eyes would just stare at her for a long time. He also said, Her mantle laps Over my Ladys wrist too much, or Paint Must never hope to reproduce the faint Half-flush that dies along her throat which shows she was courteous, disciplined and beautiful. She had a good heart, which loved everyone and made everyone glad but the author did not like the fact she considers everyone same as him and that she does not pay more attention to him than others.

The author also gave her a gift but she considered all the gifts as the same and did not differentiate between a bad and a good gift. In other she did not care about authors feeling and the love that author had for her. The author says, Just this Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss, Or there you exceed the mark (Browning 550) which represents that she treats everyone equal and did not give more importance to author. She considers author as one of nine hundred men that she likes. And after a while she passed the author without a smile, and that offended author because he really liked her and she did not cared about him. The guy was angry with the lady and he commanded his men to kill her to show his power over the lady. The guy says, I gave commands; Then all the smiles stopped together. (Browning 550) this shows that the author proved his power over the lady by killing her. The guy wants her command over the lady so he killed her and now he is regretting for his deeds. And now he asks the lady in the picture to come back to him.

He says, Willt please your rise?(Browning 550) this shows the guy cares from her now, after she is dead. This whole scenario reflects that people dont care about each other. The duchess loved everyone but the guy wanted her but did not achieve her so he killed her. This is a selfish and cruel world we live in. People just dont understand the feeling and the type of relationship that the other person is trying to follow.

On the other hand the poem Musee des Beaux Arts shows that people around the world dont care about each other even if the person is dying. The kids father made him a like wings out wax so he could fly but he warned him by saying not to fly near sun or near water, but the kid flew near the ocean water and the wax melted and the kid fell into the ocean and was drowning. Although the kid was drowning nobody was even trying to help him save. His father was busy ploughing the field he did not care either. The sheep were grazing; the dog was scratching himself on a tree; the sailor was sailing his ship he did not want himself to get wet and did not want water on his expensive ship. Everyone around there was selfish and nobody cared about the kids drowning. The author says, and, the delicate ship that must have seen Something amazing, a boy falling out off the sky, Had somewhere to go to and sailed calmly on. (Auden 592) this shows nobody cares about the boy in the water.

The author also says, Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry, But for him it was not an important failure. (Auden 592) this reflect the ploughman did care about the boy just because it was not important to him; it was not a great failure or loss to the ploughman. Nobody understands the meaning of humanity or mankind towards his or her fellow beings. This poem reflects that people love and talk to each other only for their own interest and not for being generous or helpful. The most amazing thing about this poem is people are following their daily routine and a boy is drowning in the ocean and nobody cares about it. This is utmost disturbing situation. People have lost the meaning of humanity and mankind. The people in the whole scenario as described by Auden reflects that people are just dully walking away doing their daily business and they assume that nothing is happening around them as if it is just a normal day and its normal for a kid to drown in water. This is the most dreadful scene.

And lastly the poem The Sick Rose by William Blake describes people have lost the meaning of love making them selfish and cold-hearted people. Blake says, And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy(Blake, 539), which show love is an evil thing and could destroy ones life. He also says, O, Rose, thou art sick! The invisible worm That flies in the night (Blake, 539), which reflects that people have lost he meaning of love and have become cold hearted. Love is compared to a sick rose and our love for others have become sick and weak. And in terms of feeling, we absolutely have no love and even if we do, it is for some selfish purpose thats why Blake calls love a sick rose. Love is like an evil spirit that in a howling storm destroying everything that comes in its way. Thus Blake reflects through this poem that everyone in the world is cold-hearted and nobody cares about each other.

According to me, all of these three poems reflect as to how people have become selfish and cold hearted for their own interests. In My Last Duchess the guy is crazy and kills the duchess just prove his power but fails to reflect care, compassion and love for human being; also in Musee des Beaux Arts the kids father, the sailor and even the people around him do not care about he kids drowning. Everyone is doing their work as if nothing is happening there and lastly The Sick Rose which reflects how love has lost its meaning and people have destroyed their lives without love and compassion.

Thus according to me all the people in the world are selfish and dont care about other peoples feeling and dont have affection toward them

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Ekphrasis and the Layers of Auden’s Politics (musée Des Beaux Arts)

May 5, 2021 by Essay Writer

‘What kind of guy inhabits this poem? What is his notion of the good life or the good place? What does he conceal from the reader? What does he conceal even from himself?’; these are the questions W.H. Auden would ask himself when reading poetry. I intend to pursue a similar analytical approach when considering the relationship between Auden’s political commitments and ekphrasis, being the logocentric description of a work of art, in Musée des Beaux Arts. Written in Brussels in 1938, the year before Auden moves from a peripatetic and isolated life to self imposed exile in the United States, the poem explicitly outlines a critique of society’s ineffectual response to human suffering. However, I contend that the inherent dualism of ekphrasis as well as Auden’s obscured disenchantment with the socialist movement, bids that we have ‘second thoughts’.I argue that Auden’s convoluted relationship with the socialist movement as well as his decision to turn towards individualism is reflected through the poet’s juxtaposition of explicit and implicit meaning within the inherent mise en abyme of ekphrasis. Auden strays away from the ‘veil’ of transparent ekphrastic imagery to ultimately reveal his motion towards an individualist philosophy.</p><p>Auden’s transparent use of descriptive iconography in Musée des Beaux-Arts imbues the poem with familiar pastoral symbols to distract from the poet’s implicit political intentions. The poem’s emphasis on the ‘human position’ as well as ‘place’ in this ekphrastic work highlights the speaker’s quest to ground his oeuvre in a secured framework. By placing emphasis on the pervasive gaze, towards the artwork, the landscape, and the poem, the poet mirrors Brueghel’s ‘crystalline’ visual ‘poetry’ by illuminating obscured ideas within a clear form. The eye of the poet directs the narrative as the landscape is delineated through a series of topographical landmarks ‘a pond at the edge of the wood’, ‘a corner’, ‘behind (…) a tree’, the ‘water’. These spatial references frame the mind’s eye into a specific restricted space, relying on the common natural ground between the reader and the poet in order to deflect from Auden’s personal obsession with the journey. It is the solace of these immutable ‘world landscapes’ that stabilise and contain the illusory expansive setting. The speaker is distracted by the iconographic framework of the poem, stressing Horace’s vision that ‘what finds entrance through the ear strikes the mind less vividly than what is brought before the eyes of the spectator himself’. In their immobility and apparent reciprocity between the reader and the author, pastoral images pacify the volatility of politics.<p>This sense of stability, implied in the primordial descriptive nature of ekphrastic poetry, acts as a familiar bedrock to the English reader, casting back to traditions of the English language through its evocative narrative. Auden’s reference to the wholesome quotidian routine of ‘eating’ and ‘walking’ suggests a sense of simplicity by emphasising the homeostatic condition of life and its unifying equilibrium of the. Indeed, by listing actions of the ‘dull’ quotidian Auden outlines ‘someone else”s routine, analogous to the reader’s relationship to the everyday banal. Likewise, the colloquialism ‘doggy life’ grants a sense of camaraderie between the reader and the poet, enticing us to participate in his ‘illusory casualness of argument’. The adverb of frequency ‘never’, used twice in the first stanza, highlights Auden’s emphasis on the entrenched endurance of the ‘Old Masters’ as well as the ‘children”s psyche, thus extending the constance of the landscape to its mnemonic specifications. However, the absence of an explicit rhyme scheme and the disruptive enjambments reveal a more complex interpretation of Auden’s fixation on the contained.</p><p>The tranquility of these rural images is fragmentary as the vignettes of the habitual are interrupted by Auden’s limited direct experience of them. Mendelson’s account of Auden’s inspiration from Anthony Collett’s The Changing Face of England for many of the poet’s topographical references strengthens the distance between Auden and this pastoral landscape. Indeed, he argues that ‘the trouble is that the curiosity, sympathy, and love are not Auden’s at all and have little to do with the ‘deep structure’ of his imagination. He copied it all out of a book.’ In the late 1930s Auden had travelled ‘all around the map’ to ‘Iceland, Spain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Macao, China, Brussels’ in the search for his ‘Good Place’, a space in which he can find peace from the world’s hostility and work towards the creation of the latter. His isolation from a stable familiar land and his peripatetic lifestyle made it near impossible for the poet to relate to stability and immutability. As a result, Bruegel’s art supplemented Auden’s unfamiliarity with the pastoral by framing the poet’s moralistic narrative towards landscape as well as his effort to reconcile the ‘other’, both the art and the citizen, with his dispersed views of the world.

Auden’s distance from the pastoral and his resolution to seek inspiration elsewhere is emphasised in the material ‘position’ of the painting in a cultural institution. The French title Musée des Beaux Arts emphasises the disconnect between Auden’s appropriation of the evocative English rhetoric of landscape and his turn towards Eurocentrism, and later to the United States. The poet grips onto external references to supplement the lacunae of his personal experience with the pastoral. The line ‘While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking/dully along’, while strengthening the communal experience of the banal, simultaneously reveals the poet’s anxiety towards the instability of his world view. The phrase disrupts the decasyllabic rhythm of the three precedent lines. The unusually loquacious line highlights Auden’s distress towards the obscurity of social order as he artificially stretches his wording in order to include an exhaustive, and encumbering, account of the prosaic (though the crescendo pace is abruptly eased by the the enjambment of ‘dully along’).</p><p>Similarly, the poet’s account of the extraordinary pursues this fragmentary vision as Icarus’ ‘white legs’ metonymically embody the myth as a ‘half-told story’. In light of his looming awareness that ‘war is untidy, inefficient, obscure,’ Auden looks to external references to subdue and distract from his suppressed disenchantment with the socialist movement, later invoking an individualist philosophy. The transparency of the pastoral is further obscured by Auden’s incomplete iconographic references.

This obscurity is illustrated in Auden’s implicit ekphrastic reference to at least two more of Brueghel’s paintings: The Census at Bethlehem and the Massacre of the Innocents. In an interview, Auden claims he was inspired by Winter and the Massacre of the Innocents, revealing his circuitous relationship with the ekphrastic form. The poem’s progression, from implicit to explicit, folds the quotidian into the first stanza and distances it from its painterly origins, distracting the reader from Auden’s aesthetic and political intentions. In this same vein, the in medias res beginning of the poem provides the reader with an illusory sense of invitation into the narrative. Yet the use of the pronoun ‘they’ shortly after conveys convolution and ambiguity to the first lines.The phrase ‘about suffering’ defers the real meaning of Auden’s political intentions by embedding it in a universal context of human suffering rather than stressing his personal disenchantment with the socialist movement. The teleological presentation of Auden’s political commitment highlights the author’s hesitation to publicly confront his individualist philosophy. </p><p>Outlining his belief that ‘poets should be outside of society’ Auden relies on references to liminal spaces in order to keep his personal investment at bay: The artwork becomes a surface onto which he is able to project ‘aesthetics beliefs (…) and then critique them’.

The dialectical deliberation in Auden’s engagement with ekphrastic mise en abyme emphasises the poet’s private political disenchantment with the socialist movement in 1939. The contradictory and double-face nature of the poem implies Auden’s desperate attempt to at once conceal and reconcile his internal political division. Having privately addressed his disillusionment with socialism, posited as the initial thesis of his dialectical thought, Auden struggles to overcome the rupture of this intuition, the antithesis. Edward Mendelson comments on a thematic pattern in Auden’s work: his divide between ‘the communistic body with its sensual delights and the aristocratic mind with its conscious authority’. This partition in the poet’s political affiliations is epitomised through his inspiration from material art. Auden’s attempt to reconcile two tangible elements of reality outlined both by communism and aristocracy, implied in the duality of ekphrasis, illustrates his reserve to marking a synthesis in his dialectical logic.

This ekphrastic turn elucidates Auden’s struggle as Horace, a Roman poet, argues that ‘only in an adulterated state do we experience arts as alike (…) it may be the condition of our fallen-ness which causes us to unite the arts’. Auden is placed at the center of political debate: his aesthetic decisions render him a product of his time, a product of fallen society. In spite of his wavering political ideologies and his association with or obstruction from politics, Auden is embedded in the instability of the political climate. This textual weaving of poetic mediums, in addition to his anxious emphasis on transparent images, reveals Auden’s attempt to ‘reveal’ or ‘re-veil’ his ambivalence towards politics. Auden’s inspiration from Icarus’ fall mirrors a reciprocity between Auden’s fallen-ness and Icarus, a ‘boy falling out of the sky’.

Mendelson’s account of Auden’s poetry as a ‘roman à clef sans clef’ informs the immanent obscurity of the poet’s explicit narrative on human suffering. Drawing attention to the place adverbs ‘where’ on the penultimate line of the first stanza and ‘somewhere’ on the final line of the poem, Auden obscures a spatial progression within the pastoral fabric, shifting from present to future spatial occupations. Transgressing the inherently immutable nature of Brueghel’s painting as well as its landscape and inhabitants, Auden uses the prescriptive nature of ekphrasis in order to conceal his evolving political motives and progression towards a new temporal order. This approach to aesthetics and their significance reiterates Francis Scarfe’s acknowledgement of the ‘unique marriage of […] statement and image’ in Auden’s poetry, as well as his hesitation to publicly commit to his individualist philosophy.

Despite Auden’s efforts to conceal his progression towards an individualist philosophy through ekphrasis, this progression does indeed come to light. The personification of the ‘expensive delicate ship’ suggests Auden’s personal investment. Written at a formative period of Auden’s life in which the journey is fundamental, the ship mirrors Auden’s own motion towards acceptance and choice. Transgressing the constraints of the ekphrastic form the heterotopic ship is successful in being a place without a place, content in its enmeshment in the liminal. Its calm demeanor as it ‘had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on’ illustrates Auden’s resolution to focus on his own life’s meaning in spite of his despair towards society’s approach to human suffering. The ‘on’-wards movement of the ship suggests a transgression of Auden’s containment as the water becomes a medium of navigation rather than being the borderline it was for Icarus.

This interpretation is relevant to Auden’s commitment to obeying the laws of nature when creating his ‘private sacred world’, although Icarus’ hubris marks his collapse, the ship’s serenity continues its moral ascension toward ‘somewhere’ Extending beyond Robert Roth’s belief that the voice is tinged with irony so as to be comedic, I argue that the ‘arbitrary and casual […]seems simply to happen, so the poet lets it happen and goes on’ falls in line with Auden’s individualist philosophy and his successful achievement in finding the ‘Good Place’, as he decides to leave behind the ‘sinking ship of Europe’. Despite Auden’s strong opposition to pathetic fallacy, ekphrasis mirrors Auden’s contrived political engagement.

In so doing, Auden succumbs to ‘conventional ekphrasis’ as inevitably ‘the image we look at refuses to open and gives us back our own face.’ Auden is faced with his own individualised interpretation of the work of art in relation to his current mental state. This becomes clear as Auden implies the psyche and sonic experience of the figures in the poem: the children ‘never forgot’ and the ploughman ‘may have heard the splash, the forsaken cry’. Indeed, the ‘danger of ekphrasis here is what man will speak for the whole natural world’. This becomes evident through the proverbial wisdom of the phrase ‘About suffering they were never wrong,/ The Old Masters’. In this regard, ekphrasis becomes a way for Auden to pursue stability and assert control over an artistic medium at a time where he is still trying to navigate his own ‘human position’.

Auden’s separation from the ekphrastic constraints of the canvas, steering away from its frame towards the American horizon echoes the poet’s statement that ‘At least I know what I am trying to do, which most American writers don’t, which is to live deliberately without roots’. This individualist approach to life enables Auden to distinguish himself from the rest of human suffering and focus on his own fulfillment. The poet uses ekphrasis to deviate from his political intentions whilst simultaneously confronting his anguish towards material reality. This is a dynamic relevant to both communist and aristocratic thought and epitomises Auden’s internal political mediation in light of his imminent departure towards the United States.

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