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    Compare and Contrast the way in which the poets of ‘Funeral Blues’ and ‘First Love’ portray their experiences of love Essay

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    Both poets emphasise and depict the agony and discomfort of love. Auden is utterly distraught due to the loss of his romantic other and because of the immense pain he is suffering he wants everyone else to tolerate the same anguish. Phrases such as ‘Stop the clocks’ and ‘Cut off the telephone’ suggest the narrator is demanding the whole world to stop and listen to him. He wants the world to share his grief. He uses strong negative imperative verbs such as, ‘Stop’ and ‘Cut off’ to portray his vituperate anger.

    Similarly, in ‘First Love,’ Romeo is portrayed as tormentry. This is shown in the line, ‘I ne’er was struck. ‘ The verb ‘struck’ implies ambiguity and that experiencing love is terrible. Moreover in the sentence, ‘With love so sudden and so sweet. ‘ Sibilance is used, which creates a sense that love is ominous, dark and a form of an untreatable illness. In contrast in ‘Funeral Blues’ Auden is in agony because of the loss of his loved one and used aural effects to convey this throughout the poem.

    Silence the pianos and with muffled drum,’ emphasises that he wishes for the world to be the be silent with him and ‘muffled drum’ sounds like it is a heartbeat reflective of his own paired existence. The narrator also demonstrates this by saying, ‘Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead. ‘ The use of the imperative again shows his pain due to its demanding nature and the world ‘moaning’, creates an overall effect to convey crying and pain. He only wants people to hear his moaning and is willing to share his pain.

    Alternatively, Clare does not want anyone to experience the same pain but is in the middle of dying. This is evident in the lines; ‘My face turned pale as deadly pale,’ and ‘my life and all seemed turned to clay. ‘ In the first example where there is the repetition of ‘Pale’ this suggests death as you go ‘pale’ when coming close to death implying that he is also nearing death suggesting he is very sick. The adverb ‘deadly’ is also associated with death and shows that falling in love is a strong pain and shock.

    Furthermore the second example about ‘Clay’ suggests love can be moulded, as it is unnatural. The noun ‘life’ is personified to convey how easily he is overcome. As we can see in both poems the poets explore the painful experience of being fully in love. Both authors focus on their personal experiences and what effect it has on them. In ‘Funeral Blues’ the poem is told from a first person perspective making it more persuasive and focusing on himself. When the narrator uses the description, ‘He was my North, my South, my East and West,’ he implies that his lover is all he can see.

    The repetition of the personal pronoun creates a sense that the loved one is a part of the narrator’s life and suggests his feelings are all consuming. The narrator shows that he would rather die if he were without his loved one. Similarly, ‘First Love’ is also written in the first person, which creates a similarity in perspective between the texts and making it a personal narrative. The conventional simile, ‘Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower. ‘ This clichi?? is commonly used and conveys that the focus is on his emotions and not the woman.

    Furthermore, in ‘Funeral Blues’ the narrator’s world has suddenly come to an end because his loved one has gone. This is depicted in the line, ‘My working week and Sunday rest. ‘ The repetition of the personal pronoun portrays the importance of his loved one. Furthermore the accumulation of detail is there to emphasise the importance shown towards his partner. On the other hand, the speaker in ‘First Love’ focuses on the way he physically changed by his lover and the way it attacks him and not the individual. The lines used to show this are, ‘I could not see a single thing,’ and ‘And took my eyesight quite away.

    These two examples convey the point that love is blind and the speaker has no control over who he adores. The tone used here is therefore melodramatic and obsessive. Both poets seem to be writing intimately and both narratives are written in first person. ‘First Love’ explains the importance of love and the depressing tone it brings with it, whereas ‘Funeral Blues’ is all about the speaker and his obsessive physical response. Moreover, both Auden and Clare portray their intense love and how this takes effect on their feelings, which have such sudden swings between extremes.

    In ‘Funeral Blues,’ Auden opens up by stating his needs in a melodramatic way. In the third stanza he states how much his significant other means to him by repetitively listing all he meant. The last line of the poem however is very negative showing after all that the narrator has been through he is giving up. The narrator’s sudden change in expression he moves from making wild orders then relating a sudden outburst of his emotions in the centre of the poem which creates a break in the poem. This conveys the way the speaker’s emotions fluctuate wildly.

    Similarly, the speaker of ‘First Love’ also depicts the extreme consequences love has on him and this is conveyed as the language used rather than the structure. This point is evident in the line, ‘Seemed midnight at noon day! ‘ This imagery suggests unnaturalness implying his whole world is turned upside down and the only things he visualises is his woman and everything else is strangely blacked out. As with ‘First Love’ the narrator of ‘Funeral Blues’ returns to his melodramatic mood as he is faced with the consequences to his demands and the impossibility of his desires.

    This is shown in the line, ‘pour away the ocean and sweep away the woods. ‘ The negativity conveyed by author depicts his poem to us implying he wants others to share his delicateness. Just as with ‘Funeral Blues’ Clare conveys the effects of love to be more fatal still to him and that they seem to have more of an effect on his body and the way his heart palpitates. As for example in the line, ‘Blood burnt round my heart’ Here plosive alliteration emphasises the strong rhythm, which is reflecting his burning heart.

    Also, the word ‘Burnt’, which is linked to death, conveys the speed at which his heart beats and the agony of this experience. Furthermore, the narrator emphasises as the way in which the physical reactions of the speaker fluctuate, these are depicted when the narrator is at the moment when it is so cold he appears to be like ‘clay’ and then fluctuates to be hot and flushed. When Clare says, ‘My life and all seemed turned to clay. ‘ And, ‘my blood rushed to my face,’ these extremes are evident.

    The author juxtaposes the fact that he is moving from cold to hot in an instant. From saying that his life had been frozen and then saying how the blood rushed to face contrasts with the recent paleness. He is therefore conveying how love is manipulative and unnatural. He is thereby implying how volatile it can be just on ‘Funeral Blues’ explores the excessive lengths love forces us to go to. Furthermore, both poets object to the nature of love and come up with varied conclusion as to the nature.

    In ‘Funeral Blues’ the love portrayed is depicted to be deceitful and is destructing you. When Auden used the phrase, ‘I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong. ‘ He states the fact that he feels ultimately cheated by love. The term, ‘forever’ suggests finality, which is what he, thought love was. There is a great amount of juxtaposition used with the term ‘forever’ and the way in which this is put into comparison with the imagery towards death and constant negative and dull melodramatic language.

    Alternatively in ‘First Love’ Clare is much more positive of the love conveyed. This is shown in the line, ‘Are flowers the winter’s choice? is loves bed always snow? ‘ These two rhetorical questions show how confused he is and this depicts that he is much happier here and he is also seen as speaking in a melodramatic tone. ‘Not love’s appeal to know’ is another statement in which Clare makes which implies that he is positive and that it is arresting him.

    On the other hand the speaker in ‘Funeral Blues’ states that love has taken toll over him and has effected in ways which cannot be put right. This is evident in the line, ‘For nothing now can ever come to any good. ‘ The harsh sounds used suggest about pain and that he wishes everyone around him to suffer with him. The melodramatic tone conveys the negative last tine depicting that there is no hope and that Auden has given up. Also the use of the plosive alliteration makes the harsh sounds depict how nothing is now left for the narrator.

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    Compare and Contrast the way in which the poets of ‘Funeral Blues’ and ‘First Love’ portray their experiences of love Essay. (2017, Oct 25). Retrieved from

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