Which popular musical form does Auden adopt for this poem?
Rock and Roll
W.H Auden was an American Jewish poet.
Each stanza of the poem uses the a,a,b rhyme scheme of traditional Blues music.
What is meant by an a,a,b rhyme scheme?
The final words in lines 1 and 2 rhyme whilst the final word of the third line is different
The final words of all three lines rhyme with each other
The final words of lines 1 and 2 start with the letter a whilst the final word of the third line always starts with the letter b
Annotate these two stanzas from the poem to show how rhyme is being used to emphasise particular ideas.
The focus of the poem shifts from the individual circumstances of the speaker to that of the world at large. Which of the following lists indicates the development of the poem's focus?
Places of habitation, official bodies, animal world, natural world
Home, work, outside, inside
Domestic, professional, official, natural
Thought I heard thunder rumbling in the sky.
This is an example of pathetic fallacy.
Is this poem written in the first, second or third person?
Why does Auden choose the Blues form for this poem?
It is poem about the injustice of persecution based on race. Living in America he would have been aware of the persecution faced by Black Americans and in using the Blues form here he highlights this by linking it to Hitler's persecution of the Jews which everyone agreed was wrong.
He did it to highlight the hypocrisy of Americans who condemned Hitler for persecuting the Jews whilst at the same time persecuting Black Americans in their own country
He loved the Blues and this was just part of a series pf poems he wrote in which he adopted different musical forms.
Which aspects of the poem are used to convey the speaker's sense of loss and anxiety? Choose all that apply.
The form. The Blues traditional focuses on negative aspects of life, often loss.
The refrain. It creates a wistfulness and feeling of lost possibilities.
The contrasts. These show what life was like and how it is now suggesting loss.
Pathetic fallacy. The thunder represents danger and connotes the speaker's anxiety about what is to come.
The a,a,b rhyme scheme
The references to animals. These would have been pets but aren't now.
This poem was written after the Nazi atrocities at Auschwitz had been discovered.