O What Is That Sound by W.H. Auden
Aug 04, · Auden selected the title as ‘O What Is That Sound’. It is a very casual title, but when taken in the context of the poem it is understandable because most people during wartime were casually living their daily lives. When they were attacked by . O What Is That Sound. Poetic Methods. Narrative Voice (Point of View): Clearly, this poem has two narrators, one who desperately questions out of fear and a sense of urgency, while the other.
Thank you very very much-my poetry exams tomorrow and these notes are exactly what i needed to revise! I'm glad to here. Oh my goodness! I love you. You really helped. I have a essay to do on this due by the end of today for my honors class.
Thank you so much! The only issue I would raise is that your analysis of the colour 'scarlet' in stanza 1 cannot be correct… They are definitely not injured and bleeding as you suggest. This is evident in stanza 5. One of the voices states: 'Why, they are none of them wounded, dear. It's definitely a nice idea though! I yhat perhaps suggest that they are either os in the face as a result of physical exertion, or as you suggest, the uniform.
Other to that, as I say, a very comprehensive and well written analysis. I am particularly impressed by your knowledge of the structure iambs and anapaests! Thanks for the detailed comment. I have to agree with you on how to fold a letter properly basis and have since changed that part of the analysis to what you said.
I'm being a hypocrite saying that they are bleeding because like you said, further on, the voice states why they are not wounded. I'm glad you brought that point up too: some of the best analysis is interpretation which I got, this time, wrong. The soldiers being red in the face from physical exertion is a more believable reason for describing the soldiers as 'scarlet'. After all, the time frame for this poem is deliberately vague: having the soldiers in sohnd uniform dound an interpretation narrows the time period for this poem which is not what Auden wants to achieve.
I always thought about it, every time I read the poem. The man seemed unfazed throughout the whole time the woman was hoping that the soldiers were not here to come to their place. The man was the one who was calm throughout the situation. Maybe the woman was the reason from the beginning itself. The woman kneeling, trying to hide herself, constantly trying to reassure herself that the army of soldiers were in that p for someone else other than her, it could all mean that maybe she was the one in hiding.
That could explain her demanding the man to stay with her and questioning him about his vows. The man leaves in fear realizing what he had gotten himself into, and the woman later killed for the crime she seemed to have committed which could have been running away with this man itself.
Just a thought. That's a great interpretation which is something I love about this poem, it is so vague it can have so many different interpretations. I really do like this analysis. HoweverI was wondering if you do have any other analysis of other poems by other poets!!?
And I really do love your ideas thanks. The analysis of the poem is well done, I must say. I like the way you have given a logical explanation for each line. Though I have a slightly different opinion stanza 4 where you have mentioned that the woman is kneeling.
Obviously the line itself is ambiguous because it is not the woman who is kneeling. It is the man, who is trying to hide himself from the 'scarlet' o what is that sound context who are coming for him. And from there onwards, it the man who questions the woman. Then again, from the line 'O where are you going? It is the woman who is questioning.
And finally in the last stanza, it is the woman who is saying those lines O it's broken…burning. Cheers for the detailed analysis Will. Absolutely flawless, except for your note on timeframe where you mention that it could be the 21st century.
I believe that Auden deliberately shows the soldiers to have "horses", to give the sense that it is either the First World War or Second World War, as this o what is that sound context have been contextually relevant to the poet. However, this could just be my opinion.
There is an abundance of a voice neither the man or women are talking to each other. The only description is of the conntext marching in. To continue my post about the ks being King George's men dragoons : I'm pretty certain of this and I think they are hunting a smuggler which they often were.
All the other characters mentioned are referenced in other poems as being involved in smuggling. The fact that whaat farmer is referred to as "so cunning" suppports this theory. I really do not think that horses signify the 2nd WW.
On the contrary, I feel that the presence of an army on horses eliminates WW2. Personally I favour the idea that they are King George's men who wore scarlet coats and patrolled the British countryside often hunting down individual in lieu of a police force.
Continuing on the idea that these are King George's men chasing smugglers, if you read Kipling's poem Smugglers Song, there are many explicit links. Brilliant, excelled my understanding of all the Auden poems I've looked at on here… Not thinking about does James Honeyman or Musee des Beaux Arts are you?
Unless an English A level student is willing to publish their work on here, I'm afraid not. How is the grammar structure used in the last stanza called? Assuming the first voice as the man, I dont think that he actually betray her, as he may have left her so as to join the coming army for the battle. As suggested by the idealogy, that war knows no men no women it only brings destruction and separation.
It left the innocent how to take down intex pool couple to suffer who has nothing soun do with the conflict between the two nations.
And she is not killed. At least that's what made from the poems ending. If that's not so, please explain her murder, I don't get it.
How to make waxing less painful that was a beautiful description… I've ever read. Thank you, will help in my test. But please do tell her murder.
If you know anything about WH Auden you will understand that more likely than not the two speakers are a gay couple — and in the s that alone wbat be cause for them to be hunted by the forces of what did the epicureans believe state.
Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify cintext of new posts by email. William Green. Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you. OWITS is a poem about the universality of war through the use of war affecting the lives of the couple in the poem causing them to run away. There is a sense of betrayal too depending on who you choose to be the first voice and second voice. The poem adopts the ballad form.
This is a 18thth century form which is part of folk tradition. The imitation of ballad form is used to reflect upon the subject matter of war: there is no time obscure time choice. It is recognisably in ballad form due to what foods are low in potassium and phosphorus consistent four beats in musical terms for every line.
Each stanza is four lines long. The structure explores how the material in the poem has been arranged. It describes the shape of the stanzas, sound patters, any musical references and the rhyming patter too. Musically, the poem has four beats to every line. This helps yhat emulate the sound of drums and the marching of the soldiers developing tension the further on into the poem.
There are four feet to every line. The main point to notice with the structure is the rhythmic devices used above which emphasise whah sound the soldiers are making being marching and drumming. There is a degree of regularity with the syllable count for every stanza. However, there are an erratic number of syllables on every line.
For example, stanza one has 10, 9, 8 and 5. The first two lines of every stanza except the last which is is third person features the women as the voice. The second voice is the man. For language analysis, I will refer to voice one as the women and voice two as the man.
The language in a poem describes the effect of individual words and phrases. This helps to produce a i time period as what time is post for kentucky derby as other linguistic techniques. This is common for the last word of line two for each stanza producing alliteration. The man as voice two is attempting to reassure the women. In the 19th century, soldiers commonly wore bright red scarlet uniforms so that if they were shot and wounded, the enemy would not be able to tell if they were bleeding or not.
The second option is more believable seeing that Auden does not want to pin down a time frame for this poem. The first stanza creates tension and drama for the arrival of the army. Stanza Two. This gives a sense of inevitability of the soldiers arriving and reminds us that the shat are continually marching closer and closer to the couple.
“O What Is That Sound” is a ballad by W. H. Auden, written in October and first published in W.H. Auden's poem "O what is that sound that so thrills the ear" speaks to the Romantic lie as the first seven stanzas avoid the sense that the soldiers the speaker sees are harbingers of death for. O What Is That Sound by W.H. Auden Analysis Here is a complete analysis of the form, language and structure of Auden’s poem, ‘O What Is That Sound’. Like with many of Auden’s poems, the time frame is very vague to help address an universal ideology. Feel free to skip to the parts most relevant to you.
H Auden is a tragic poem reminiscing the trauma that many individuals endure during times of war. This poem also exposes a deeper message, which is the weak nature of humankind through the relationship of the two voices referred to in the poem. Besides, the poem is in the ballad form and expresses the point of view of two voices which are more than likely a husband and wife hiding out in their house at a time of war. The main theme of the poem is that things may not be what they seem.
Auden has managed to write a tragic poem of violence and suffering without mentioning any physical violence. The ballad discusses the conversation of a husband and wife, most likely looking out of their window as they follow the progression of an army marching from far, all the way to their house.
It is a very casual title, but when taken in the context of the poem it is understandable because most people during wartime were casually living their daily lives. When they were attacked by soldiers, they had their lives destroyed forever. As well as this, the title is deliberately archaic , which makes it hard for the reader to distinguish when Auden is referring to this poem about war. By doing this, it provides a universal message towards the war that it is not dependent on time but produces the same devastating effects regardless of when war takes place.
The poem is in ballad form and consists of seven stanzas. Being a ballad, each stanza consists of four rhyming lines. In each quatrain four-line stanza , the poet uses a conventional rhyme scheme. It is not that of a typical ballad stanza. The latter rhyme scheme is used in conventional ballad form. Apart from that, the lines rhyme alternatively and capture two voices. Along with that, the poet uses repetitions and internal rhyming for maintaining the flow and rhythm of the poem.
Besides, the overall poem is composed in iambic pentameter , iambic tetrameter, and iambic dimeter alternatively. There are also some metrical variations in this poem. This beautiful repetition not only creates anxiety but also consistently reminds the reader that the soldiers are marching throughout the poem as the repetition sounds rhythmic just as marching does. Moreover, the poet uses apostrophe at the beginning of each stanza.
The husband and wife spoke to each other endearingly throughout the poem so it seemed like there was much love between the two, however towards the end of the poem the husband leaves her once again reaffirming that things are not necessarily what they appear to be. Towards the end of the poem, the husband deserts his wife out of fear of the soldiers and this exemplifies the second most important theme, apart from the war that Auden is addressing, which is the concept of human nature.
Two individuals can love one another, but when it comes to life or death situations, a person nearly always chooses himself or herself. The fact that the reply is very casual tells readers that these individuals have been in a state of war for quite some time and it is now the norm for them.
This could be a direct reference to their faces, flushed with the task of marching for long periods, or rather it could refer to the uniform that the soldiers carry. The second quartet is another question posed by the first voice, this time it becomes clear that the second voice is trying to calm the first voice by taking the situation very easily.
The second voice says that what it sees are just the weapons of the soldiers reflecting sunlight as they tread lightly. It is clear from the first stanza that the soldiers are not treading lightly, they are marching loudly. This stanza brings to light the fearful state the two individuals are in. Therefore, the first voice is growing desperate, inquiring what the soldiers are doing this morning.
The second voice remains persistently hopeful, stating that perhaps they are just giving them a warning of attack as if to say surely they are not going to launch a real attack. In this way, the second assures his companion that there is no imminent danger approaching them or their house. She can remain calm without thinking much about the external sounds. In the fourth stanza, the first voice realizes that the soldiers are indeed heading towards their area.
She observes their movements. As they have left the road, she asks her partner why they are doing so. Therefore, the first voice kneels as if to protect herself. However, the second voice remains in denial, inquiring why she is kneeling. As if there is no fear of harm at all. From this stanza, it becomes clear that the second voice or the husband is somehow trying to deceive his wife by giving her fake assurances. The following stanzas illustrate this fact clearly.
The following stanzas consist of the first individual going through a storm of panic and rapidly questioning the partner. She can see they have reined their horses. But, she cannot believe her eyes.
Within no time, the soldiers will be there at their place. For this reason, she wants some assurance from her husband regarding the fact. Therefore, the husband replies that none of them are wounded. None of the forces are there.
So she can feel relaxed. She thinks they want him for some reason. Hearing her, the husband negates the fact. They have not visited his house.
Reading this section, it seems that the soldiers have visited his house. They might have taken him with them. The husband has seen those events. But he does not wish to tell anything about it to his wife. Moreover, she thinks as the farmer is a cunning fellow, he might have already left.
Without saying anything further, he says the soldiers are pacing up. He does not make anything clear to his wife. Nothing is clear concerning their destination or the cause of running. The final two stanzas are truly tragic as they reveal that it was indeed a couple that was hiding out in their house.
The second voice inquires as to why the first voice is leaving her and running out of the house. The second voice questions about the vows that the first voice had made to love her forever. These vows are most likely referring to the vows made during wedding ceremonies. The role of the voices is still unclear, which one is the husband and which one is the wife, but looking at how the poem was written in the s, women were not very bold and were known for being timid so we can assume the first voice is the wife and the second voice, the voice that has now left is the voice of the husband.
Throughout the poem, the husband is sincere to his wife. However, when the soldiers start running towards their house he deserts her. So at the end of this poem, readers can find the wife marooned by her husband facing the ultimate. The poet keeps this stanza open-ended, leaving the thread to the readers for further anticipation. At that time, the world was facing the ravages of war. During this tremulous situation, what the commoners thought, how they had reacted, and such other deep questions are present in this poem.
You can also read about the best war poems and best-known poems of W. Home » W. Rehman, Maha. Accessed 18 April Please log in again. The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page. I'm feeling unlucky.
More results Generic filters Hidden label. Hidden label. Auden discusses how two people can be so dedicated to each other but when imminent danger war is near it is every man for themselves. Read more. Discover the Essential Secrets of Poetry. Sign Me Up. Sign up to unveil the best kept secrets in poetry, brought to you by the experts.
Related Reads. She loves writing and genuinely idealizes the idea of science and literary art combining together into a liberating force of intellectual enlightenment. You can check out her YA novel 'Sole Silence'.
Vary well. Discover the Secrets to Poetry. Learn from the experts. Discover the best-kept secrets behind the greatest poetry. Discover the Secrets. Cite This Page. Choose citation style:. Close dialog.