Literary Analysis of Devices Used in Funeral Blues

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Everyone has feelings. Whether it be sad feelings or happy feelings. We all express those feelings emotionally or physically. But how do poets express these feelings onto paper? Imagery is a literary term that is used for description and language that appeals to our five senses. A hyperbole is an exaggerated statement, while symbolism is the use of symbols to represent ideas. In the poem “Funeral Blues” by W.H. Auden, the true feelings of the speaker are shown in a magnificent way by figurative language. W.H. Auden established the speaker’s feelings of sorrow and hopelessness using imagery, hyperboles, and symbolism.

“Funeral Blues” is a poem written by W.H. Auden in 1938. This poem is about an unknown speaker and his suffering of a friend’s death. The poem is set with the speaker at his friend’s funeral. The first part of the poem really brings out the speaker’s feelings about his friends death. During the second part of the poem, it shows the speakers personal view. The author really brings out the speaker’s feelings throughout this poem, which makes the readers get pulled into this beautiful poem. Imagery is a huge element in many poems. Poets use imagery in their poems to convey their messages, just like how W.H. Auden did in “Funeral Blues”. The first part of the poem starts off with the author showing the speakers sorrow at his/her friends funeral. The speaker is at the funeral and says, “Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead”’ (Auden 5-6). This quote really shows how the speaker feels. It shows that the speaker is in a phase of acceptance of his friends death. Not only that, but also it shows confirmation of his friends death.

Correspondingly the speaker also says “Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves” (7). Similarly as above, another very unrealistic demand the speaker is asking for. The speaker is trying to show his love for his friend by asking very unreasonable things. These two examples of imagery the author has used has set the start of the poem perfectly. These images have led to recognize that the speaker has lost a very dear friend. As well as letting the readers know that the speaker is in a state of sorrow.

W.H. Auden just didn’t use imagery to show the narrator’s true feelings. He also used symbolism. From the start of the poem to the end, the speaker was very mad and sad that his friend was dead. During the first stanza of the poem, the speaker says “cut off the telephone.” What the speaker is saying is literally to cut off the telephone. But the author used this quote as a symbol, that the communication between the speaker and his friend had been severed.

Even though the speaker feels as if he lost ties with his best friend now, he still remembers how helpful he was. In the time of despair in the funereal, the speaker says “He was my North, my South, my Eastand West.” This quote should not be taken literally. The true meaning of this is that the speaker’s friend gave him everything. He gave him wisdom and guidance and that he could not have asked for anything more from a friend. In the two examples above the author uses great symbolism to describe the speaker. Symbolism was a great add by the author, because it showed the speaker as in despair and hopelessness.

Additionally, W.H. Auden hyperboles as other ways to portray the speaker’s feelings. By the end of the poem W.H. Auden uses hyperboles as a way of telling the reader that the speaker feels hopeless. The speaker says “Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.” Obviously the speaker could never dismantle the sun or pack up the moon. But the speakers grief and hopelessness is so intense that he wishes he could. The speaker’s loss and hopeless can was really shown to the readers in this line. The use of hyperbole in this poem was also shown when speaker said,“Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.” Again none of these statements actually make any literal sense. But these statements have a figurative meaning. Just like the example before, the speaker is trying to convey his loss in things that are physically not possible. What this does is that it tells the readers the extent of his hopelessness. W.H. Auden used hyperboles in a superb way at the end of the poem to really wrap around the fact that the speaker is beyond sadness he/she is hopeless.

As shown above, the W.H. Auden as really demonstrated his use of figurative language. From the title to the last word, he portrayed imagery, symbolism, and hyperboles. The use of imagery and symbolism was key to this poem, as it showed the readers the speakers sorrow. In addition the hyperboles use by the author, gave the readers a moment to understand the hopelessness of the speaker. Overall W.H. Auden did a fantastic job in how he presented the emotion in the poems through figurative language.


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