Last Updated 20 Jun 2022

What Techniques Does Auden Employ to Narrate Victorand?

Category Poetry
Words 915 (3 pages)
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In both 'Victor' and 'As I Walked Out One Evening', Auden utilise techniques such as the personfication of time to suggest to the reader that life is a journey and it waits for no one. The use of the first person singular in As Iwalked suggests that it is quite a personal experience, however, in Victor, third person is used to distance the narrator for tge events. W. H. Auden's 'Victor' includes three different voice through out the poem, his dad, the narrator and Victor himself.

Auden uses Victor's dad, who has direct speech during the opening stanzas, to imprint a controlled and biblical lifestyle with no feeling of love. This is further emphasises through the quoatation 'Don't dishonour the family name'. It is then the narrator who tells the reader about Victor's growing up and his life before and after Anna. Auden does this by the use of the third person when refering to Victor, Anna and the other minor characters through out the play. It is then Victor that speaks when asking his father questions such as '....... .... ' The fact that Victor is asking questions to his afther suggests that he is still trying to please him, which further suggest that Victor is seeking for love in his father. The poem 'As I Walked Out One Evening' consists of three separate speakers: the lovers, the clocks and the narrator. Each speaker represents a different measure and attitude towards time. The lover’s song paints time to be conquerable and ignorable – no more than a passing annoyance that they are outside of.

The soliloquy of the clocks demonstrates time as a product of society, there to keep its subjects in line, and ultimately a ruling force. Finally, the narrator speaks of love as being outside of both of these things. Time is a constant flow than brings change and opportunity, and any claim to deny or control it is an illusion. To begin, the months in 'Victor' parallel and dictate the events that shape the poem. The poem begins in 'frosty December', a vivid image symbolizing Victor's father and his lack of heart for his son.

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Victor initially meets Anna, the love of his life, in April, a time of rebirth for him. But because it was the first of April, it is Victor who is the fool as the narrative progresses. Victor eventually marries Anna in August symbolizing the warmth Victor feels for the first time in his life. Unfortunately by September, an indicator of the end of summer and the termination of warmth in Victor's life, he jumps to the conclusion that Anna has cheated on him despite the fact that no evidence exists to support his conclusion.

Poetic devices add to the overall meaning and interpretation of the poem immensely. The "Time" spoken of seems to symbolically relate to death, which may, in turn, be a forewarning of Victor's future destructive streak. That leads to the "Ace of Spades reversed"  the very dagger which Victor slaughters Anna with. The ,coat of fur, Anna wears appears to symbolize her cold, bitter actions, which harm Victor just as Helen of Troy harmed citizens in her time. The simile "She gave him a kiss like a blow on the head" illustrates that Victor doesn't have the capacity to comprehend real affection.

His lack of capacity and lack of warmth is what sparks his jumping to the conclusion that Anna has cheated on him. Meanwhile, Anna is referred to as Victor's Helen of Troy, an ironic allusion to the beautiful wife of Menelaus who began the Trojan War, suggesting that she is beautiful yet dangerous. When Victor persists in asking God questions, he does so at a variety of localities. The vast irony is that from the time he stood in the sunset to the time he came to the river, the locations of his pleas gradually fall from the greatest to the least powerful points.

And by the end of the poem, the only thing poor Victor can relate to is the "woman of clay" ,  personification which represents the only thing Victor can possibly relate to in life. Time is depicted as being something that lurks in the shadows “time watches from the shadows” and something that creeps up on you when you least expect, and even interrupts couples and lovers when they are at their most intimate times “And coughs when they would kiss” this line also again, personifies time. Into many a green valley, Drifts the appalling snow” the first part of this quote represents the beginning of love, before time has interrupted. The word ‘green’ has connotations of summer or spring, the time of year when new things begin to come to life, just like when love begins to blossom. However over time the green valley is taken over by the ‘Appalling snow’ killing all the plants which have blossomed in the summer, time takes its toll on the valley. This is a metaphor for love, love starts of wonderfully, new and fresh.

However as time drifts in and begins to interrupt the love slowly begins to fade and change. The word ‘drifts’ again suggests that time sneaks up on unsuspecting people. In Conclusion, Auden uses techniques such as first person singular, the use of third person and the personification of time. Auden uses these techniques to suggest to the reader that time waits for no one and that it can interrupt at any time. This is further conveys by the quotation 'and coughs when you kiss'

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